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The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 23, Issue 1/4, 2007

Semiotics in the Chinese Umwelt

Yun Xia
Pages 353-372

We Are Digitized Long Before We Have Computers
Analog and Digital Communication in the Written Sign System of Human Communication

As two fundamental modes of communication, analog and digital communication are not only ways of information transmission but also two mental habits in our perception and representation of the perception in the creation of communication sign systems. In a broader sense, analog and digital communication are not only for electronic communication or high technology computer networking communication. Language is featured by both analog and digital communication, especially in the development of the writing system. The development of the writing system from images or icons to alphabets is the development of an analog communication to a digital communication. The creation and development of Chinese pictographs illustrate the trend from low digitization to high digitization. From this perspective, we can say that the creation and development of the writing system is a process of digitization.

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