I must have missed the class in school where they taught us about word types (Nouns and Pronouns, Verbs, Adjectives, Adverbs, Prepositions, Articles and Conjunctions) because, apart from Nouns and Verbs, I have no clear idea of the meaning of all this stuff. But here’s the thing – it never stopped me from writing these articles!
That aside, I decided to read around a bit, and it seems that these word types thingies are all aspects of the Alphabetic System, which is about units of speech being represented by letterforms. This is probably way more than any of us needs to know about it – right?
It’s not as if there isn’t an alternative because there is: Pictograms!
Now, you might be thinking to yourself ‘sheesh, surely no-one uses those anymore!’ But you’d be wrong. Drive down any road and you will see Pictograms literally at every turn. Boot up your PC or Smartphone and they are omnipresent! And you might get some very funny looks if you don’t understand the language of pictograms when it comes to a visit to your local public convenience (yeah – that means the toilet).
It seems that your humble pictogram can be divided up into types too, but only Nouns and Verbs (yay!). If you want to get clever (i.e. abstract), then you’ll have to start combining pictograms into Ideograms. But that’s about as far as my interest took me – sorry and all that.
Back in the familiar camp of Alphabetics, I found this gorgeous piece of writing that seems to wrap it all up very nicely:”
“If writing were architecture, then books would be buildings, pages floors, paragraphs rooms, sentences walls, words furniture, letterforms bricks, phonemes clay and grammar mortar.” (Type and Typography by Phil Baines & Andrew Haslam)
Now ain’t that grand!