I taught English in Japan for 3 years and and became familiar with the Chinese characters (kanji) used in Japanese. My impression was that they empower thought by providing a graphic mental reference. I was told by a Japanese friend that “kanji wa kanji ga aru”–“kanji have feeling”–which I took to mean that they evoke aesthetic reactions in a way that alphabetically written words do not. I believe this–a combination of images can shine with a special mental light.
Several years ago I was reviewing kanji using the book Kanji ABC by Foerster and Tamura. The simple kanji are fine in themselves, but when they are put together as constituent parts of more complex characters, they often don’t make sense. They are often also over-complicated, using two characters and a jungle of strokes for an idea that could be conveyed with a few simple lines.
What if, I thought, one could make such characters for English, as simple and expressive as possible, using images from every day life? So I began doodling around with it. I liked my results and was unable to stop.
After I’d made a thousand or so I came across Blissymbols on the net. This was a boost to me, since although they are a “successful” enterprise, I feel that mine take a much better approach, with happier solutions to the many problems involved.
I’ve been told that they look like an alien script, which I take as a compliment.
See “basics” for some of the limited number of chinese characters, hieroglyphs, logical symbols, etc., I make use of. I could (or someone else could!) eliminate all such sources so that the characters are more original, but it’s not important to me. Simple Chinese characters and hieroglyphs make up a minor fraction and are a nice spice.