Blissymbolics is Linear and Nonlinear

Sutton Glyphs

Linear and Nonlinear Bliss
Military Chat?
Some Military Glyphs
Air Traffic Control Glyphs
Bunker and Targeting Glyphs
Where no Pen has gone, Before
Hybrid Visual Language System
Proposed Bliss Software

Blissymbolics may be the only language in the world which is able to fully express concepts either linearly or nonlinearly. While Bliss has historically been written in a linear fashion like western alphabetic languages, there are many elements of nonlinear expression in its glyphs. Because of the pictographic nature of most of its glyphs, it could easily develop a fully nonlinear form of linguistic expression, thus integrating the artistic and rational aspects of consciousness, perhaps transcending them both, establishing an integral form of consciousness devoid of the schisms of thought so characteristic of the modern age.


By simply arranging the linguistic elements of the Bliss language onto a natural scene, we can create a glyph array, or "knowledge glyph" as expressive as entire paragraphs of alphabetic text. And the natural looking image behind the glyphs provides all the grammar and syntax information which is usually provided by clumsy connecting words, verbs and modifiers.

Nonlinear: a woman puts on suntan lotion, the bottle of lotion is to her right. She is sitting in a beach chair relaxing with her purse to her left. There are waves on the ocean and she is looking left while applying the lotion.

Linear: (A) woman relaxes on (a) beach chair on (a) beach under (the) sun.

In english linear writing, the words 'a' and 'the' are unnecessary but the sentence sounds funny without them. In the standard bliss linear sentence, 'a' and 'the' can be left out as meaningless connecting words (glyphs). But the glyphs for 'on' and 'under' are needed in the linear bliss sentence because without them the reader would not know the spacial relationships of the objects of the sentence.

Ironically, even with the extra words, the linear form gives less information about the scene, such as the purse, the waves on the water, the bottle of lotion, the direction the woman is sitting facing the water and the direction she is looking as she applies the lotion.

Also, the linear sentence cannot be reduced significantly in size without becoming unrecognizable. But the nonlinear glyph can be:

Nonlinear as small Icon: Readable

Linear as small Icon: unintelligible

Readable but too large for an Icon
  Now, there is no rule which says all the information in the natural image augmentation must be represented in the glyph. The glyph may sometimes just summarize. So in this case the glyphs can be enlarged because they only summarize the natural information, Relaxing on a Beach.

Now let's continue trying to go nonlinear wherever possible and appropriate.

Notice that the tip of the heart resting on ground is near the water glyph just like the person who is relaxing on the beach is near the actual ocean. Plus, the ocean appears blue to us, so why not color the glyph for better recognizability.

Now, an advantage of a more concise glyph is that each glyph element has room to be enlarged. And enlarging the glyph elements relative to the natural image augmentation means now the entire glyph is reducable to smaller useable sizes for use as an icon:

    This last one is only 30 pixels in height!

Another advantage of a concise glyph is that the eye and the mind have less work to do before effectively comprehending messages.