We think of ourselves as literate...
... and as we've discussed before, "literacy" means many things to different people.
But a common aspect of literacy is understanding the meaning of the different signs that we see in our everyday life. A big part of this is just seeing the symbols that proliferate in our visual world.
For instance, you've seen the symbols for PLAY and PAUSE on countless music and video applications (or maybe even on CD players and tape recorders, but not on record players). Those symbols are just:
Sometimes those symbols get combined into a single symbol that merges the two functions together:
You "read" symbols in the obvious way--seeing Play and Pause together gives you a good idea about what that button will do when you press it.
Our world is full of symbols that we see, yet might not really understand. Here are a few such symbols... what are they? What do they mean? (And most importantly, HOW DID YOU LEARN what they are?)
1. What's this symbol? What does it mean? Where might you see this?
2. What's this symbol? What does it mean? Where might you see this?
3. What are these symbols? What do they mean? Where might you see these? What's the difference between the two symbols?
5. What's this symbol? What does it mean? Where might you see this?
Naturally, I'd mostly like to know HOW you found out what these symbols mean! Let us know how you did the search.
Symbols are everywhere--we often don't even realize that they're part of the visually literate world that we inhabit. We see, but do not observe.
For example, did you notice the odd, cone-shaped things on the heads of the Egyptians in the opening image? Are they symbols, or are they depicting cones that people actually wore??
Notice also that the hieroglyphs in that image are fairly cursive in style--they're handwritten hieroglyphs, and very different than the more formal glyphs you'd find on tombs and obelisks.