- Mar 2022
Harvard’s Gary Urton, with his Khipu Database (KDB), seems to have pinpointed the name of a village, Puruchuco, represented by a sequence of three numbers, like a kind of zip code. We can’t rule out the possibility that this is a richly phonetic system, but we’re still a long way from proving it.
Quipu may potentially be a phonetic system, but the state of the art of research indicates we're far from a proof. Several digital catalogues have been created including Gary Urton's Khipu Database (KDB).
Semasiography is a system of conventional symbols— iconic, abstract—that carry information, though not in any specific language. The bond between sign and sound is variable, loose, unbound by precise rules. It’s a nonphonetic system (in the most technical, glottographic sense). Think about mathematical formulas, or music notes, or the buttons on your washing machine: these are all semasiographic systems. We understand them thanks to the conventions that regulate the way we interpret their meaning, but we can read them in any language. They are metalinguistic systems, in sum, not phonetic systems.
Semasiography are iconic and abstract symbols and languages not based on spoken words, but which carry information.
Mathematical formulas, musical notation, computer icons, emoji, buttons on washing machines, and quipu are considered semasiographic systems which communicate information without speech as an intermediary.
semasiography from - Greek: σημασία (semasia) "signification, meaning" - Greek: γραφία (graphia) "writing") is "writing with signs"