Thence the difficulty of substituting our phonetic alphabet for the ideographic characters of the Chinese, as well as for the ideophonetic writing partly borrowed by the Annamese from the letters of the celestial empire.
But the character being ideographic, the words which express them are dissimilar in the two languages, and official text is read in Chinese by a Chinese, in Annamese by an Annamese.
The main difficulty in the reading of Babylonian and Assyrian proper names arises from the preference given to the " ideographic " method of writing them.
Yet, even in those days, the Babylonian syllabary continued to be a mixture of ideographic and phonetic writing.
Besides the conventional use of certain signs as the indications of names of gods, countries, cities, vessels, birds, trees, &c., which, known as " determinants," are the Sumerian signs of the terms in question and were added as a guide for the reader, proper names more particularly continued to be written to a large extent in purely " ideographic " fashion.
The conservatism which is a feature of proper names everywhere, in consequence of which the archaic traits of a language are frequently preserved in them, just as they are preserved in terms used in the ritual and in poetic diction, is sufficient to account for the interesting fact that the Semitic settlers of the Euphrates valley in handing down their names from one generation to another retained the custom of writing them in " Sumerian " fashion, or, as we might also put it, in "ideographic" form.
At times too a doubt may exist in regard to a name whose bearer was a Semite, whether the signs composing his name represent a phonetic reading or an ideographic compound.
When inscriptions of a Semitic ruler of Kish, whose name was written Uru-mu-ush, were first deciphered, there was a disposition to regard this as an ideographic form and to read phonetically Alu-usharshid (" he founded a city," with the omission of the name of the deity), but scholarly opinion finally accepted Urumu-ush (Urumush) as the correct designation.
Iwleanwhile an inquirer is confronted by the strange fact that of three neighboring countries between which frequent communication existed, one (China) never deviated from an ideographic script; another (Korea) invented an alphabet, and the third (Japan) devised a syllabary.
Potent, however, as such a vehicle is for expressing thought, its ideographic script constitutes a great obstacle to general acquisition, and the Japanese soon applied themselves to minimizing the difficulty by substituting a phonetic system.
The Kojiki is written in the archaic form: that is to say, the language is the language of old Japan, the script, although ideographic, is used phonetically only, and the case-indicators are represented by Chinese characters having the samesounds.
H~ retained a knowledge of spoken Japanese, but the ideographic script was a sealed book to him, and his editorial part was limited to ora translations from American journals which the editor committee to writing.
Incidentally they are hastening the assimilation of the written and the spoken languages (genbun itchi) which may possibly prelude a still greater reform, abolition of the ideographic script.
In the opinion of the Japanese expert, these styles Methods of hold the same respective rank as that occupied by the Chiseilin three kinds of ideographic script in caligraphy.
On the other hand the cult of a specific storm-god in ancient Babylonia is vouched for by the occurrence of the sign Im - the "Sumerian" or ideographic writing for Adad-Ramman - as an element in proper names of the old Babylonian period.
NINIB, the ideographic designation of a solar deity of Babylonia.
In the 'non-Semitic ideographic documents the equivalent for Shumer is Kengi, which seems to be a combination of ken, " land " -}- gi, " reed," i.e.
Previous to Professor Friedrich Delitzsch's masterly work on the origin of the most ancient Babylonian system of writing,' no one had correctly understood the facts regarding the beginnings of the cuneiform system, which is now generally recognized as having been originally a pure picture writing which later developed into a conventionalized ideographic and syllabic sign-list.
Some few signs ideographic of a group of ideas are made to express particular words belonging to that group by the aid of phonograms which point out the special meaning.