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10 April 2013 @ 08:43 am
Postliteracy  
In my lifetime, we have reversed the evolution away from pictograms. Now we have to learn that two parallel lines mean "pause," that a kindergarten representation of coitus means "power on/off." I like words. If I last long enough, I will miss them.
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Kalimackalimac on April 10th, 2013 02:16 pm (UTC)
I thought the non-literate writing was on the wall for this one when I first saw those fantastically ugly, stupid, and juvenile pictorial icons for the Macintosh when it was first introduced in 1984.
El Coyote Gordo: Blackaddersupergee on April 10th, 2013 02:20 pm (UTC)
Likewise. A computer for the rest of them.
tx_cronopiotx_cronopio on April 10th, 2013 02:39 pm (UTC)
*nods*

Ikea instructions.
David WilfordDavid Wilford on April 10th, 2013 03:02 pm (UTC)
Everything I learned about how to put Ikea furniture together was from assembling Kinder Egg toys.
Geri Sullivangerisullivan on April 10th, 2013 07:52 pm (UTC)
David, may I quote you on that? It's delightful, and while I've yet to assemble any Ikea furniture, the truth of your comment shines with truth.

(Why, yes, I have put together a Kinder surprise or two....)
David WilfordDavid Wilford on April 11th, 2013 05:51 pm (UTC)
Sure. I like it myself!
Xiphias Gladiusxiphias on April 10th, 2013 02:52 pm (UTC)
Of course, the actual REASON for this is internationalization. Pictograms are equally semi-to-incomprehensible to people all around the world, so they don't privilege any particular culture -- EVERYONE gets to be equally baffled.
David WilfordDavid Wilford on April 10th, 2013 03:08 pm (UTC)
I was putting together a bed frame from Ikea and came across this part that I just couldn't figure out how it fit. My wife didn't have a clue either and the diagram wasn't any help, _until_ I realize it wasn't a part that had to be *attached*, but was there to make sure the bolt heads were uniformly set above the side rail sides. I called it a "spacer", but had no idea what the heck you'd call it in 16 other languages.
Xiphias Gladiusxiphias on April 10th, 2013 03:13 pm (UTC)
It's a remarkably difficult concept to get across in pictures, too.

Except, now, you've learned the Ikea Pictogram Language term for it. Pictograms become a language.

Which, of course, means that, eventually, they'll be just as impenetrable to people who don't speak it as any other language. Languages gain complexity as they have to express more complex thoughts, such as "spacer". The only reason that they have the limited degree of success they currently do is because of the limited universe of concepts they have to deal with. If they someday have to express the concept of "Have your parole officer mail off a notarized form to the central office by next Tuesday," and "Maintain a firm and direct stance in order to teach your dog that you are the alpha in the relationship", they'll have to gain the complexity of a full language.
David WilfordDavid Wilford on April 11th, 2013 05:50 pm (UTC)
Let Up Goer Five speak!

http://xkcd.com/1133/
dd-bdd_b on April 10th, 2013 04:24 pm (UTC)
I thought two parallel lines meant support for gay marriage? I'm so confused!
et in Arcadia egoboo: Sacred Chaoapostle_of_eris on April 11th, 2013 08:32 pm (UTC)
Or maybe just color blind.