Are languages going to trend more logographic in the future?

At one point, a lot of languages were (partially) logographic, that is they were pictures that roughly looked like what they meant (or had some relation, for abstract concepts). As time went on, these languages tended to simplify in various ways. Elimination of certain characters, simplification of characters, and most eventually either discarded the old writing system, or it evolved into things like semantic-phonetic systems (e.g. Chinese).

There are a lot of reasons for this, but a big one seemed to be that it was simply a pain in the ass to draw a lot of the more complex pictures, or remember exactly how they worked. However, with computers, this concern is less prominent. Even languages with large numbers of characters like Japanese are becoming easier to write with things like predicative IMEs, you no longer have to remember every stroke of complex characters*.

It seems we’re trending more towards picture-oriented languages. I’ve seen entire conversations happen mostly or entirely in terms of various smilies, emoji, and stickers, and they’re perfectly understandable! In addition, there’s a trend of using memes to communicate common ideas, which are usually pictures.

I’m not arguing languages are going to be entirely logographic. Indeed, part of the draw is that many smilies can be entered with text macros. Things like [noparse]:rolleyes:[/noparse] to get the correct smiley. But this isn’t necessarily a barrier to the idea, after all, many mathematicians use Latex, where you write \integral to get the integral sign, and the compiled notation is much more readable than the plaintext version. I think languages may develop in the future to implicitly include emoji and pictures as part of the standard set of characters. That is, pictures representing morphemes in addition to, or instead of words, because of their ability to disambiguate and the ease of entering these characters on computers and phones.

What is a barrier is that these things are not, currently, taught or accepted in academic or formal contexts, but in 100-200 years, could that change? Could we start seeing more embedded pictures in even things like English essays or legislation when it makes the intent or meaning of a passage more clear?

Unless you’re handwriting, obviously.

I would have to see examples of this. Right now, I don’t believe it. Examples I’ve seen in the past when people have said this have turned out not to be examples of the use of symbols in linguistic communication–they were communicating, but not via language.

I don’t think so. It’s not language that is changing, it is communication, which will contain much more imagery. But you need something like plaintext underneath to be unambiguous. It wouldn’t helpful or practical to fix the images that can be used in the way that we fix the spelling of words and their definitions. But I do expect to see the written word used less often.

I’m not sure why the OP is using “language” instead of “writing”. It’s kind of confusing because he clearly means the latter. At any rate, I can’t wait to see The Bible translated into emojis. :slight_smile:

English is, I think, are simplifying (“whom” might as well be dead, for example). And written language is becoming more informal, which might mean the incorporation of more symbols in addition to script. Symbols have the value of potentially conveying the same meaning no matter which language they represent (something anyone who knows Japanese or Chinese can appreciate when visiting the other country), but it’s hard to beat script for learning how to read.

Yes and no

The Software that we wrote used icons to represent various function in addition to text in English so that is a change from the text based writing

Also, the texting that has taken place has really changed how the millenials communicate.

can U under stan wat I am saing:)

Since memes are a picture with a (hopefully) universally shared backstory, they seem more like the “Darmak et Tanagra” episode of Star Trek to me rather than logographic.

But, I’m not a linguist, so I might be completely off here.