For an example, we'll use Japanese:
- The Japanese word for 'one' is ichi.
- The Japanese word for 'moon' is tsuki.
- The Japanese word for 'January' is ichigatsu.
When writing in kanji, 'ichi' looks like this:
When writing in kanji, 'tsuki' looks like this:
When writing in kanji, 'ichigatsu' looks like this:
Notice how 'ichigatsu' is spelt with the same kanji letter as 'moon'? That's because months are based on the cycle of the Moon (moonths). You do not pronounce 'ichigatsu' as ichi-tsuki, but you spell it with the same letter because of the meaning of the word.
Note: Japanese writing actually consists of four writing systems:
- Kanji - A logographic writing system with letters taken from Chinese, but mostly have different meanings.
- Hiragana - An alphabetic system to write Japanese words.
- Katakana - An alphabetic system to write words derived from other languages. (Ex. 'Anime' is from English animation and 'kissu' is from English kiss.)
- Rōmaji - Japanese words written with the Roman alphabet.
Do you think English could be written as a fully logographic language? Why or why not?
Make your own writing system for English based on the logographic or partially logographic writing system.