from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The science dealing with vocal sounds; phonetics.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The science which treats of vocal sounds.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Sound; pronunciation.
- n. Phonetic status; the use of symbols with a definite phonetic value.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
That the language contained a very large number of monosyllabic words is, however, certain; and as phonetism is necessarily syllabic, we may assume that the earliest Egyptian scribes had a rich mine of syllabic forms to draw upon.
From picture-writing to pictorial phonetism was an enormous stride; but as we know nothing of the condition of the Egyptian vocabulary at that remote time, we cannot possibly estimate to what extent pictorial phonetism supplied a means of coherent communication between man and man.
Just as pictorial phonetism was evolved from ideography, or picture-writing, so was alphabetism evolved from pictorial phonetism.
A long course of umbrellas, so to speak, and the confusion to which it must have led, paved the way for another kind of picture-writing, in which sounds were expressed instead of things – namely, pictorial phonetism; and pictorial phonetism registers the second stage in the art of writing.
This is pictorial phonetism; and pictorial phonetism is, in fact, pictorial punning, of the sort commonly known as the rebus, or charade.
Now, in pictorial phonetism each figure stands for the sound of the word denoting the object represented, that word being generally, though not necessarily, used in a far-fetched sense.
Other ancient writings passed through the same three stages of development – picture-writing, pictorial phonetism, and alphabetic writing; but the oldest alphabets of other nations are modern when compared with that of the Egyptians.