I once participated in a contest. People grouped in pairs. The two members of each pair sit back-to-back. They can neither see each other nor what the other is doing. I was the one who opens an envelope, and takes-out a lego-built structure. My peer has the same parts, but the structure was disassembled. I had to give her instructions on how to build the same structure. The only challenge (and a big one!) was to give oral instructions. It was the same as communicating through the telephone, without being able to see or be seen. We could only hear each other.
I attempted to be as clear as possible. I got quite near the solution, but something went wrong along the way. That made me think, if human language can ever evolve to refine the way we convey visual information via words only.
There are few terms to take into account:
- The language must be visually clearer than the common languages.
- A richer vocabulary may be needed for better accuracy. Obviously, it is for describing basic visual images. Sentences may base upon those basics to describe more complex images. It is not practical to invent a word for each image.
- Not using pictures, videos, sign language, hand gestures, etc...
- The language may be ancient, i.e. may have developed in an era when it was the most needed: when humanity was unable to convey video and audio instructions, printing books and articles were still in their infancy, or when drawing skills were rudimentary.
- You may assume that the more complex aspects of such a language may be taught at later childhood, early adolescence.
- Be able to either describe or instruct how to build a simple object, machine or device.
- May be used to describe people's faces more accurately. As an example, you witnessed a crime and you want to tell the police how the person looks like because you could not take a picture on time.
Obviously, we can convey some visual information via words only, but can we refine our ability to convey such information through language? Is such a language being used by some tribe, society, community?