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Talk:Visual language

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Definition Discussion

Hi all. A newbie seeking a clarification on the intention for this wiki.

Most of the current items are the wiki are related to visual language as a professional field and its commercial applications. Is that the scope of visual language as discussed here?

Or, is there interest in using the term 'visual language' in scope of linguistics (both theoretical and applied)? Contrast this with scope of, say, a visual vocabulary or grammar class (where our purpose would be documenting the universal syntax and signs of visual communication).

This field draws on such a massive and diverse body of knowledge, I can see many subjects that are covered in a discussion of it's theory. Perhaps there are better names to be found:

  • Visual rhetoric: How does the use of visual language influence thinking or communication?
  • Visual linguistcs: What syntax and signs are common in visual language? Do universal patterns of visual communication exist across cultures, or is visual language subject to the 'babel' dispersion of verbal language?
  • Visual etymology: How have signs and patterns evolved to their modern usage?

Appreciate your patience if I'm way off base and we're just sticking to modern professional applications of visual communication. Cheers, aarongerdes 19:53, 2 December 2006 (EST)


Aaron, all of the above are enthusiastically welcomed. --dgray_xplane 19:58, 2 December 2006 (EST)


Glad to hear it. I'm compiling research those questions for information that goes beyond my own speculation.

I have expanded the main page somewhat to include your ideas. Put some thoughts there as a starter. --dgray_xplane 21:12, 2 December 2006 (EST)

For the purpose of the definition, I think visual language as a profession is certainly emerging. But is visual language as a mode of communication new? Its certainly evolving. Perhaps we're trying to define two things here, the field and the profession.

"Visual communication integrates words, both spoken and written, with visual language, to enhance and expand the meaning of both. Visual communication is emerging as a professional practice which focuses on improving thinking, learning, and communication by intentionally adding and improving visual language." Thoughts? aarongerdes 20:29, 2 December 2006 (EST)

I think there's a difference between visual communication and visual language. Visual communication is pretty established as a field which includes advertising, graphic design, etc. But I think visual language is different. I would say that, while visual language isn't necessarily new, it is a new field; newer than visual communications anyway.

In fact visual language probably precedes written language, and probably even precedes spoken language. Is an ad for dishwasher detergent visual language? Probably. But that's not what I'm interested in exploring here on the wiki as much as the emerging practices which enable people to more clearly and explicitly think about and describe complex, abstract or potentially confusing ideas.--dgray_xplane 20:42, 2 December 2006 (EST)

You might want to take a look at Why we need a visual language wiki for more context. --dgray_xplane 21:29, 2 December 2006 (EST)

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