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Home • Created 2022/5/5 • Updated 2023/9/9 • Read Time 8min • Discord

Introduction Semiotics is the study of signs, symbols, codes, and the structural relations between semantic entities. Traditional semiotic studies looked at things like why we associate owls with wisdom or how body language communicates emotions whereas contemporary semiotics looks more at linguistic and symbolic fitness to try to make language more efficient or intuitive.
I believe natural languages are already perfectly efficient. For example, if you take the most complex thing you can think of and assign the full description of that thing as a definition to a term, then you have a single word that describes the most complex thing in the world. This is a compression algorithm with no upper bounds, making natural language highly efficient in a way that obviates information bottlenecks. Many people believe language is a director or limiter of thought, but semiotics often showcases that a shift in representation of objects by some convention is what becomes the common administrator of thoughts instead. Because of this, semiotics is also a focus in epistemological studies related to hermeneutics (study of interpretation). It seems obvious to me that instead of working on efficiency, better time is spent on making communication more intuitive. My KIoCSL project from 2021/4/14 is an example of an attempt at this where I tried to combine a featural numeric system with extensible formatting to allow for more intuitive math. But the project failed. KIoCSL explanation I've worked on other writings systems and fonts as further studies into semiotics. Binesi & Cyberancient Font Examples Binesi & Cyberancient Font Examples
Towards A Perfect Symbolic Framework The projects shown in the introduction section have all been abandoned, as well as the Snarl, SnorkOn the same page as Snarl., and Chromatophore projects. Each of those projects had unique properties and I have learned interesting things from them, but they also lacked important features that make writing useful, so I have abandonded work on all those projects in pursuit of a perfect writing system.
The criteria for the most useful and streamlined writing system seems to be something like the following: 1 - Captures every possible human-pronounceable phone/phoneme (akin to the IPA). 2 - Featural so as to make understanding the meaning of the symbols intuitive. 3 - Not difficult to write by hand. 4 - Formatless, or at least the read-direction can be fully dynamically oriented. 5 - Diacritic capacity for things like tonal phonetics or musical notation. 6 - No inherent color so the symbols can be flatly inscribed with no information loss. 7 - Both human and machine readable with no transposition required. Snerx's Universal Featural Writing System The system I made to test this is an 8x8 pixel area, 64 bits total, a standard chunk size in computing, that allows for both human and machine-readable symbols that mimic the shapes the mouth makes when pronouncing them. This makes the system featural and covers 1, 2, and 7 in the above list. The formatting I use is borrowed from Snork so that the read-direction is dynamically oriented, covering 4 in the list. 5 fits in the side column on the left of the symbols. 6 is covered by the fact that a single color is used for all the pixels/writing, a lesson I learned from the Chromatophore project. I am not certain if this counts as an alphabet, logography, or something else. The system can definitely be improved since criteria 3 is not satisfied. Writing every single sound used in a word is slow, and you must draw an entire mouth for each of those sounds. Despite this, it solves many other problems with writing systems, so I see something like this working as a universal textual bridge as it is a featural version of the IPA.
Miscellaneous Some inspiration for conlang studies - Lojban, Ithkuil, Interlingua, Ygyde, and as an interesting hobbyist project, Hallowspeak (+). Purely aesthetic conlangs can have very interesting results too, like canonical Vulcan (+). Examples of good generative/permutative design can be found in Atticus Bones' work, Mnunu Nimune's work, and .we_interfvce's book. The difficulties of trying to create symbolic systems that work in all use-cases while remaining highly efficient become apparent in projects like Michiel de Boer's work on segmented displays. An example of bad symbolics is Ron Cobb's Semiotic Standard for spacecraft since it doesn't use clear silhouetting, is hard to determine if borders are solid or dotted from a distance, and fails to work for other species that perceive colors differently than humans. An example of good symbolics would be Eve Online's icons, which have none of the prior problems.