Here’s an interesting hypothetical question: what if the English writing system adopted pictograms rather than our traditional Roman alphabet? Well, for a start, it’d mean pretty much redesigning our written language from the ground up.

But Mark Rosenfelder from has explored this hypothetical question in greater detail, coining “Yingzi” (英子), an English adaptation of Chinese characters, or “Hanzi” (汉字).

He has come up with a system of using basic pictograms for simple words such as man, tree, sun, moon and so on, and then using different additional strokes to change the phonetic classes (for example, changing sing to sting).

As somebody who is currently studying Hanzi, this is a pretty interesting idea. However, it’s impractical, and interesting really only as a study. Due to the complexity of English, with so many words borrowed from other languages and different inflections of the same words, we would end up with an absurdly complex hieroglyphic system that would be very difficult to learn, and very time-consuming to write.

Still though – it’s an interesting idea, and the article is still well worth a read!

Comments on Yingzi: what if English was written like Chinese?