Discourse on the Types of Alphabets [Logical vs. Artistic]

In cuneiform writing the unit of writing is an indent(or a positioned vector). A true cuneiform writing system encodes words as opposed to letters. Otherwise, Braille code would be a cuneiform writing system where the unit of writing is a dot. Unlike cuneiform, Braille encodes letters using dots. As an additional note, Braille dots only have position and vector-like info which could further imply that more dots would be needed to encode a word which would require less indents than the one in its cuneiform counterpart.

In true cuneiform, there is no need for a letter concept as a word is composed of a group of vectors with position and orientation info. One might call that the only letter is the indent itself. A true cuneiform language then is a vector-driven language. If a true cuneiform language could be driven from Braille then perhaps it would be called point-driven. This derivation will be a fully constructive one as there is only one source or one unit that the language will depend on, vector, dot, anything maybe even a circle with variable radius. The common feature in such a construction is abstraction. It does not involve any depiction of observation, but instead it constructs observations by building up on one abstract element. In this context, a cuneiform writing system as explained above, is the one that is most closest to the current machine language, which consists of 1s and 0s; bits. In that sense, we can call cuneiform an algorithmic or a logical one. It does not depend on any external observations, but in contrast the language is constructed by pure abstractions.

As an opposite example, Hieroglyphs are based on external observations and depictions of already known forms directly. There is a level of abstraction, but it sure is not very logical as a whole. It might rather be called an artistic language, where visual elements are dominant. The symbols themselves are not constructed from scratch and are simply borrowed from nature or other external observations.

Perhaps, the writing systems that exist now are a combination of these two perspectives as a result of interactions during history. However, cuneiform type is a superior form, if the main goal is to form an information based system, where information here refers to modern information theory.


Yigit Oktar, IEU, 2016

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