Iconic - The Universal Icon Language ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ”จ๐Ÿ’ฌ

Symbol: Emoji Globe


Note: I am currently working on a new tutorial, stay tuned! ๐Ÿ˜‰

For a short motivation see Home, where you can also browse through the language cards. For a language summary see Rules. The introduction starts at Word Creation.

1. Word Creation

The standard vocabulary is contained in the Online Converter on Lingojam as well as in the AutoHotkey Script on Windows. You can follow this introduction by typing words in typewriter font in the examples. Letters in parentheses can be omitted for convenience, but numbers need to be typed for disambiguation. Please feel free to experiment with Iconic and have fun!

In Iconic, every icon represents a concept, which can be expanded with other icons and markers for different purposes. The ๐Ÿ’ƒ dancer icon, for example, represents the concept of dancing and can be expanded to ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿง’ dancer person, meaning dancer, or ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐ŸŽฌ dancer do, meaning to dance.

There are four methods of word creation in Iconic. Rebus Writing - substituting a difficult to depict word with an easier word that sounds similar - is deliberately avoided as it is neither international nor purely visual.

1.1 By Symbol

The most fundamental method of word creation is by symbol. A symbol is an abstract depiction of either the concept in question or an object associated with it. Some symbols like โค๏ธ love are widely used, others like ๐Ÿธ frog are intuitive. The fixed symbols of Iconic are chosen to be evocative of the concept in question.


โ˜€๏ธ sun ๐ŸŒ™ moon
๐Ÿ•’ time โš“ place
โค๏ธ love โžก๏ธ right1, then
๐Ÿ”Š sound ๐Ÿ’ƒ dancer
๐Ÿธ frog ๐Ÿ’ง water
โœ”๏ธ yes ๐Ÿ™… no
๐Ÿ‘ good1 ๐Ÿ‘Ž bad
โบ๏ธ inside ๐Ÿ”€ different

Sometimes it is unclear whether an icon is to be understood literally or figuratively. This can be distinguished using the ๐Ÿ‘Œ lit(eral) and โญ fig(urative) = * markers. Some of the above icons change their meaning with the ๐Ÿ‘Œ lit(eral) marker as follows:


โœ”๏ธ yes โœ”๏ธ๐Ÿ‘Œ checkmark
โžก๏ธ right1 โžก๏ธ๐Ÿ‘Œ arrow
๐Ÿ”Š sound ๐Ÿ”Š๐Ÿ‘Œ loudspeaker
๐Ÿ’ง water ๐Ÿ’ง๐Ÿ‘Œ drop
โบ๏ธ inside โบ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘Œ point1
๐Ÿ•’ time ๐Ÿ•’๐Ÿ‘Œ clock
โš“ place โš“๐Ÿ‘Œ anchor

By contrast, the โญ fig(urative) = * marker indicates abstract concepts like โš–๏ธโญ justice or abstract categories like ๐Ÿฝ๏ธโญ food.


๐Ÿฝ๏ธโญ set1 * = food ๐Ÿนโญ tropicaldrink * = drink
๐Ÿ”ฎโญ crystalball * = fortune ๐Ÿง™โ€โญ mage * = magic
โš–๏ธโญ scales * = justice ๐Ÿ•Š๏ธโญ dove * = peace
๐Ÿ”จโญ hammer * = method ๐Ÿ›ก๏ธโญ shield * = defense
๐Ÿ’€โญ skull * = death ๐Ÿคโญ handshake * = agreement
๐Ÿงฑโญ bricks * = material ๐ŸŽจโญ palette * = color1

1.2 By Example

Categories of concrete objects are often indicated by example. ๐ŸŽใ€ฐ๏ธ apple ~, for instance, reads โ€œsomething like an appleโ€ and means โ€œfruitโ€. Compare ๐Ÿ”จโญ method to ๐Ÿ”จใ€ฐ๏ธ tool.


๐ŸŽใ€ฐ๏ธ apple ~ = fruit ๐Ÿฅ•ใ€ฐ๏ธ carrot ~ = vegetable
๐Ÿง’ใ€ฐ๏ธ person ~ = human ๐Ÿ’ใ€ฐ๏ธ monkey ~ = animal
๐ŸŒผใ€ฐ๏ธ flower ~ = plant โš”๏ธใ€ฐ๏ธ swords ~ = weapon
๐Ÿšงใ€ฐ๏ธ barrier ~ = wall ๐Ÿ’ปใ€ฐ๏ธ laptop ~ = computer
๐Ÿ ใ€ฐ๏ธ house ~ = building ๐Ÿ”จใ€ฐ๏ธ hammer ~ = tool

1.3 By Comparison

Adjectives are most often represented by comparison. The group ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคฒ elephant like = big, for example, reads โ€œlike an elephantโ€. The opposite of an attribute can be indicated with the contrast marker โšก๏ธ but.


๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคฒ elephant => big ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿคฒ mouse => small
โ™จ๏ธ๐Ÿคฒ hotbath => hot โ„๏ธ๐Ÿคฒ snowflake => cold
โœ”๏ธ๐Ÿคฒ yes => correct ๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿคฒ no => wrong
๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿคฒ fullscore => perfect ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ’จ๐Ÿคฒ run air => fast
๐Ÿฆฅ๐Ÿคฒ sloth => lazy ๐Ÿงต๐Ÿคฒ thread => long
๐Ÿ—ผ๐Ÿคฒ tower => tall ๐Ÿ—ผโšก๏ธ๐Ÿคฒ tower but => short
๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿคฒ lion => brave ๐Ÿฆโšก๏ธ๐Ÿคฒ lion but => cowardly

To talk about abstract properties, we add โญ fig(urative) = * such as in ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคฒโญ big * = size.

Some verbs like ๐Ÿฆ˜๐ŸŽฌ tojump, ๐Ÿฆ๐ŸŽฌ tofly, or ๐Ÿถ๐ŸŽฌ toserve also use comparison without the explicit ๐Ÿคฒ like marker.

1.4 By Description

When there is no suitable symbol, example, or comparison for the concept in question, it needs to be described or defined. For simple concepts a group of icons suffices where the last icon represents the base meaning, modified by preceding icons.


๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿง’ dancer person = dancer โš”๏ธ๐Ÿง’ swords person = fighter
โ˜๏ธโš“ cloud place = sky ๐Ÿ‘ฟโš“ devil place = hell
๐Ÿ‘ช๐Ÿ‘จ family man = father ๐Ÿ‘ช๐Ÿ‘ฉ family woman = mother
โœจ๐Ÿ‘จ luxury man = lord โœจ๐Ÿ‘ฉ luxury woman = lady
โš–๏ธโญ๐Ÿ“– justice book = law ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿฅ› cow milkglass = milk
โ˜€๏ธ๐Ÿ•’ sun time = day ๐ŸŒ™๐Ÿ•’ moon time = night

More complex descriptions require additional structures, which are introduced in the following sections.

2. Syntax

2.1 Sentence Structure

To understand the syntax of Iconic, it is time for our first sentence:

quick ; brown fox , lazy dog above , tojump .
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Let us break down this famous pangram. The most fundamental part of a sentence are its icons:

๐Ÿƒ, ๐Ÿ’จ, โ˜•, ๐ŸŽจ, ๐ŸฆŠ
run, air, coffee, palette, fox

๐Ÿฆฅ, ๐Ÿถ, โฌ†๏ธ, ๐Ÿฆ˜
sloth, dog, up, kangaroo

As in the last section, adjacent icons form groups:

๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ’จ, โ˜•๐ŸŽจ
quick, brown

Let us call an icon or a group a concept. To connect concepts we use relation markers:

๐ŸŽฌ, ๐Ÿคฒ
do, like

Relation markers, relations for short, are the bread and butter of Iconic and serve multiple similar purposes. Let us focus on the first part of the sentence:

quick ; brown fox

The ๐ŸฆŠ fox concept is augmented by the two preceding attributes ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ’จ quick and โ˜•๐ŸŽจ brown. A big interbox โ—ป๏ธ ";" may be used after attributes for clarity, here it separates the two attributes.

Let us call a concept with or without attributes a phrase. Our sentence contains the following phrases. Phrases are always separated by small interboxes โ–ซ๏ธ ",".

quick brown fox
above the lazy dog

To connect phrases into a clause we may also use relation markers, here the ๐ŸŽฌ do relation, which indicates the verb of a clause. An optional black interpoint โ–ช๏ธ "." marks the end of a sentence.

quick ; brown fox , lazy dog above , tojump .

All fixed symbols may also be used as standalone icons. The ๐Ÿ‘Œ lit(eral) or โญ fig(urative) * suffix make it clear that a fixed symbol is used as a normal icon, but they are not always necessary.

Instead of ending the sentence, we can also expand it with another clause:

quick ; brown fox , lazy dog above , tojump
and , pond to , tofall .
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog and falls into a pond.

New relation markers are the addition marker โž• "+, with, and", as well as the destination marker ๐Ÿ“ฌ to. The addition marker โž• + connects the two clauses. The verb marks the end of a clause and comes last. Other than that word order is free.

As we have seen, relation markers connect attributes, phrases, and clauses, as well as indicating word types like nouns, adjectives, or verbs. Arenโ€™t they amazing? A complete list of all relations and other fixed symbols can be found on the Cheat Sheet. In the Language Tour the fixed symbols are introduced gradually.

If you want to practice your understanding of Iconic so far, here is another well-known pangram without solution:

tobox 5 wizard wizard , quick , jump .

New structures include duplication ๐Ÿง™๐Ÿป๐Ÿง™๐Ÿป of an icon ๐Ÿง™๐Ÿป as an optional way to indicate plurality, the number 5 acting as an attribute, and the similarity marker ๐Ÿคฒ like used after a phrase, creating an adverb.

2.2 Word Modification

You may have noticed that translations into Iconic do not include articles, i.e.ย โ€œtheโ€ and โ€œaโ€. This is because article use differs wildly between languages, making articles neither international, intuitive, nor simple. If needed, articles can be expressed via the prefixes ๐Ÿ‘‡ this, ๐Ÿ‘† that, and โ— !, a, some. Prefixes always come directly before a concept, suffixes directly after it. Examples of suffixes are ๐Ÿ‘Œ lit(erally), โญ fig(urative) = *, and ใ€ฐ๏ธ example = ~ from the Word Creation section before. Prefixes and suffixes may be stacked.

The last element in the syntax of Iconic are verb modifiers, modifiers for short, which appear in front of the action marker ๐ŸŽฌ do or ๐ŸŽฌ๐Ÿคฒ done. The following examples use the ๐Ÿ’ช can1 modifier, the ๐Ÿ’– want modifier, and the ๐Ÿ‘€โญ try modifier. (In the Online Converter use โ€œ-โ€ for modifiers after verbs, e.g.ย ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ’ช๐ŸŽฌ tofly -can1).


๐Ÿฆ๐ŸŽฌ fly
๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ’ช๐ŸŽฌ can fly
๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ’–๐ŸŽฌ want to fly
๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’–๐ŸŽฌ want to be able to fly
๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ‘€โญ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’–๐ŸŽฌ want to be able to try to fly
๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐ŸŽฌ fly ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

As you can see, modifiers may be combined, with the more base meaning coming later - as always. The last example shows how to inject emotions into sentences by using emotions as verb modifiers - a feature unique to Iconic! A non-exhaustive list of Emotions can be found on the Cheat Sheet.

Verb modifiers may also be used as standalone verbs, like ๐Ÿ’–๐ŸŽฌ want, ๐Ÿ’ช๐ŸŽฌ can, ๐Ÿ‘€โญ๐ŸŽฌ try and ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐ŸŽฌ be happy. Some relation markers like โ›ฒ from double as a verb modifier, in this case โ›ฒ start. In the rare case that both interpretations are possible, the symbol is a verb modifier.

This concludes the basic syntax of Iconic! You can find a Syntax Summary with a few minor additions on the Cheat Sheet. In the next section we will discuss a series of examples covering all fixed symbols.

3. Language Tour

This is a collection of sayings, proverbs, and general silliness of my own making to showcase the features of Iconic. Take it with a pinch of salt! ๐Ÿ˜‰

3.1 Conversation

hello , world1 ! .
Hello World!

The exclamation ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿ’ฌ hello requires no relation marker. The โ— ! suffix is used to address someone or something.

you , how2 , be ? .
How are you?

The subject of this sentence is the pronoun ๐Ÿ‘‰, which may followed by the โ˜๏ธ sub subject marker for emphasis or clarity. The ๐Ÿคฒ like relation indicates a description. The category relation ๐Ÿ“ฆ be is an alternative for the action relation ๐ŸŽฌ do. โ“ what = ? is a pronoun in the combination โ“๐Ÿคฒ what like = how2. Pronouns work like regular icons.

i , fine2 be .
Iโ€™m fine.

๐Ÿ‘ˆ i is a pronoun and โšช about2 a suffix weakening ๐Ÿ‘ good1 to โšช๐Ÿ‘ fine2, โ€œabout goodโ€.

your name1 , what be .
What is your name?

Here the ๐Ÿ‘‰ you pronoun means โ€œyourโ€ in front of ๐Ÿง’๐Ÿท๏ธ person label = name1, indicating an association.

you ob ; tomeet , good1 be ! ! .
Nice to meet you!

The ๐Ÿ‘ฅ group pronoun is used in combination with the modifier โœจ become and the action marker ๐ŸŽฌ do to create ๐Ÿ‘ฅโœจ๐ŸŽฌ group become do = tomeet, โ€œto become a groupโ€. Together with the ๐Ÿ” ob(ject) relation this creates the subject of the sentence, โ€œto meet youโ€. An exclamation requires double exclamation marks โ—โ— ! ! since a single exclamation mark at the end of a clause indicates a command.

Languages differ in their use of relations. Japanese, for instance, uses the word โ€œmeetโ€ (ไผšใ†) not with the ๐Ÿ” ob(ject) (ใ‚’) relation, but with the addition relation โž• "+, with, and" (ใจ). Both versions are equally correct - such translation artifacts are different flavours of the same meaning, enriching the language. Anything goes, as long as one can communicate.

i for , tohelp ! .
Help me!

This sentence contains the ๐ŸŽ for relation in ๐Ÿ‘ˆ๐ŸŽ, โ€œfor meโ€, which doubles as the ๐ŸŽ help modifier in ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽฌ tohelp. An exclamation mark โ— ! at the end of a clause indicates a command.

sorry1 ! ! , butter ob , i for , togive -please ?
Excuse me, could you give me the butter, please?

Here ๐Ÿ™‡ sorry1 is used as a standalone to call someoneโ€™s attention. The verb โœ‹๏ธ๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽฌ togive uses the ๐ŸŽ help modifier. The ๐Ÿ™ please modifier, along with a question mark at the end of the clause, turns this sentence into a polite request.

thanks ! ! .
Thank you!

Doubling ๐Ÿ™ please yields ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™ thanks.

who , toknow ? !
Who knows?

As a prefix โ“ means โ€œwhatโ€ or โ€œwhichโ€, yielding โ“๐Ÿง’ which person = who. The โ“โ— ? ! combination indicates a rhetorical question where the speaker thinks that no answer exists or that it is obviously โ€œnoโ€. This is optional, a simple โ“ ? is also sufficient. This sentence also features the ๐Ÿ’ก because relation as a standalone in ๐Ÿ’ก๐ŸŽฌ toknow.

this , easy toknow ! ? .
Isnโ€™t it obvious?

For another kind of rhetorical question the speaker expects no answer because it is implied to be obvious or โ€œyesโ€. This is indicated by the combination โ—โ“ ! ?, but again a simple โ“ also suffices. Besides ๐Ÿ‘‡ this as a new pronoun, this sentence features the group ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿคฒ easy in ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿคฒ๐Ÿ’ก๐ŸŽฌ easy toknow, โ€œeasy to knowโ€, meaning โ€œobviousโ€.

3.2 Thinking & Learning

i , tothink because , i (sub) be .
I think, therefore I am.

This sentence contains the ๐Ÿ’ญ topic relation as a standalone, meaning ๐Ÿ’ญ๐ŸŽฌ think. The ๐Ÿ’ก because relation indicates a causal relationship. This makes the first clause a dependent clause - โ€œBecause I think, I am.โ€

you , self like , tothink may .
You are allowed to think for yourself.

The ๐Ÿ‘ may modifier indicates permission.

nothing about1 ; lot sound .
Much ado about nothing.

โ€œNothingโ€ is rendered as โ›”๐Ÿ”ถ not something, using the prefix โ›” not and the pronoun ๐Ÿ”ถ (some)thing. This is turned into the topic of the sentence with the ๐Ÿ’ญ topic, about1 relation. The โ—โ— much prefix is the duplication plural of the โ— a, some prefix. The big interbox โ—ป๏ธ ";" is used instead of the small โ–ซ๏ธ "," interbox since the phrase โ›”๐Ÿ”ถ๐Ÿ’ญ, โ€œabout nothingโ€, is an attribute to โ—โ—๐Ÿ”Š, โ€œmuch adoโ€.

not tosee , not tothink .
Not seeing, not thinking

The โ›” not prefix also negates verbs.

i , not something ob , toknow ob , i , toknow .
I know that I know nothing.

This sentence contains two clauses, the first of which is a dependent clause as indicated by the ๐Ÿ” ob(ject) relation. Indirect speech is expressed in the same manner.

toteach person , tolearn .
Who teaches learns.

The ๐Ÿ”ฅ let modifier means as much as โ€œlet/make someone do somethingโ€, in this case ๐Ÿ’ก๐Ÿ”ฅ๐ŸŽฌ toknow -let = toteach, โ€œletting someone knowโ€. Similarly, the โœจ become modifier is used in ๐Ÿ’กโœจ๐ŸŽฌ toknow -become = tolearn, โ€œcoming to know somethingโ€.

toseek person , tofind .
Who seeks finds.

This sentence uses the ๐Ÿ” ob(ject) relation as a standalone meaning โ€œto search, seekโ€. ๐Ÿ‘€๐ŸŽฌ see is expanded with the โœจ become modifier to โ€œfindโ€, โ€œcoming to seeโ€.

๐Ÿ’ก๐Ÿ’–๐ŸŽฌโ–ซ๏ธ๐Ÿˆ๐Ÿ”โ–ซ๏ธโฌ…๏ธ๐Ÿ•’โ–ซ๏ธโ˜ ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐ŸŽฌโ–ช๏ธ
curiosity , cat ob , ago , tokill .
Curiosity killed the cat.

The ๐Ÿ’– want modifier is used in ๐Ÿ’ก๐Ÿ’–๐ŸŽฌ toknow -want = curiosity, โ€œwanting to knowโ€. The past tense is expressed via โฌ…๏ธ๐Ÿ•’ before time = ago, using the ๐Ÿ•’ time relation. โ˜ ๏ธ๐ŸŽฌ todie is expanded with ๐Ÿ”ฅ let to โ˜ ๏ธ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐ŸŽฌ tokill, โ€œlet/make dieโ€.

practice , perfect tocause .
Practice makes perfect.

The ๐Ÿ‘ฃ continue modifier is used in ๐Ÿ’กโœจ๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐ŸŽฌ toknow -become -continue = topractice, โ€œcontinuing to come to knowโ€.

also monkey , tree from , tofall .
Even monkeys fall from trees.

New markers are the โž• "also, +" prefix and the โ›ฒ from relation, indicating an origin.

๐Ÿค๐Ÿ’กโœจ๐ŸŽฌโ–ซ๏ธโš ๏ธ๐Ÿคฒ๐Ÿ”ถ๐Ÿ“ฆโ–ช๏ธ
little tolearn , dangerous thing be .
A little learning is a dangerous thing.

The ๐Ÿค little prefix is a new marker. โš ๏ธ๐Ÿคฒ danger like = dangerous.

silent do person , toagree -seem .
Who is silent seems to agree.

The ๐ŸŒŸ seem modifier is new.

easy tosay but , hard do .
Easy to say, hard to do

The opposite of ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿคฒ easy is ๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿคฒ hard. The โšก๏ธ but relation indicates a contradiction or the opposite of something.

1. like , tothink -should1 and , this then time , do -should1 .
One should think first and act second!

This sentence contains the โ˜๏ธ should1 modifier as well as the โž• and, with relation. Ordinal numbers are represented using arabic numerals.

tolove , wise be and , tohate , wise but be .
To love is wise, to hate is foolish.

This sentence features the โค๏ธ love and the ๐Ÿ’ข hate modifiers as standalones. The โšก๏ธ but relation is used to indicate the opposite of a concept.

important thing , toquestion -not -stop be .
The important thing is to not stop questioning.

โ€œImportantโ€ is expressed as ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคฒ๐Ÿ”ถ big thing. The ๐Ÿ›‘ stop modifier is selectively negated by โ›” not.

3.3 Life

all we , = boat place , be .
We are all in the same boat.

Duplication of the pronoun ๐Ÿ‘ˆ i yields ๐Ÿ‘ˆ๐Ÿ‘ˆ we, emphasized with the โ™พ๏ธ all prefix in โ™พ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ˆ๐Ÿ‘ˆ all we, โ€œwe allโ€. The โš“ place relation is used to indicate a location. The prefix ๐Ÿค little weakens ๐Ÿšข ship to ๐Ÿค๐Ÿšข boat.

bug , it hole part king be .
A bug is the king of its hole.

โ€œItโ€ is rendered as ๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿ”ถ that thing using the ๐Ÿ‘† that pronoun. The ๐Ÿ’ฆ part relation indicates a part of a whole.

We can build more specific pronouns by expansion, e.g.ย  ๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿง’ that person = they (Sg.), ๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿ‘จ that man = he, ๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿ‘ฉ that woman = she or ๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿ‘ฅ that group = they (Pl.).

i , my all ob , i with , tohave .
All that is mine I carry with me.

Both the โ™พ๏ธ all prefix and the ๐Ÿ‘œ have1 relation are used as standalones.

flower than dango .
Dangos over flowers.

The โš–๏ธ than relation serves for comparison, here we compare dangos, a Japanese food, to flowers. Without an adjective, this means โ€œrather thanโ€ or โ€œoverโ€.

In this case the plural feels more natural in English. In Iconic there are different ways to indicate plurality, which is necessary when talking about specific objects or persons, but not when talking about things in general.

1 picture , 1000 word than , = good be .
A picture is worth a thousand words.

Here the ๐Ÿ’ฆ part relation is a standalone in ๐Ÿ’ฌ๐Ÿ’ฆ say part = word, โ€œpart of speechโ€. To indicate that a picture is worth even more than a thousand words, simply change =๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ“ฆ "= good1 be" to ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ“ฆ good1 be, which means โ€œbetterโ€ in the context of a comparison with โš–๏ธ than.

heaven , toserve than , hell , torule .
Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven.

We can even compare entire clauses to one another! The โ€œbetterโ€ is implicit.

attack , best defense be .
Attack is the best defense.

The most of something is expressed with the prefix โ™พ๏ธโš–๏ธ most1, โ€œcompared to allโ€, used in โ™พ๏ธโš–๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ most1 good1 = best. The modifier โ›ฒ start appears in โš”๏ธโ›ฒ๐ŸŽฌ attack, โ€œstart to fightโ€.

2 evil part ; less thing .
The lesser of two evils

We can also use โš–๏ธ more1 as a prefix, changing ๐Ÿค little to โš–๏ธ๐Ÿค more1 little = less.

least resistance be ; way1 .
The way of least resistance

Here the โœŠ๏ธ against relation is used as a standalone in โœŠ๏ธโญ resistance.

all way1 , Roma city to , tolead .
All roads lead to Rome.

The ๐Ÿ“ฌ to relation indicates a destination, in this case the eternal city written in its original language Latin/Italian. ๐Ÿšถ๐ŸŽฌ go is expanded with the ๐Ÿ”ฅ let modifier to ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐ŸŽฌ tolead, โ€œlet/make goโ€.

Proper names may use any writing system. The first occurrence of a name in a text or conversation should include an explanation in Iconic or a transcription in the Latin alphabet in parentheses. Alternatively, or additionally, unknown names may also be followed by a category such as ๐Ÿ˜๏ธ city or ๐Ÿง’ person, e.g.ย โ€œRoma๐Ÿ˜๏ธโ€, โ€œthe city of Romeโ€.

also Roma city , 1 day deg , not
tobuild -finish like .
Rome was not built in a day either.

The passive voice is expressed with the ๐ŸŽฌ๐Ÿคฒ done relation, which is an alternative for ๐ŸŽฌ do. The ๐Ÿ“ deg(ree) relation indicates a measurement or restriction in 1โ˜€๏ธ๐Ÿ•’๐Ÿ“, โ€œwithin a dayโ€. The ๐Ÿงฑ made relation indicates a material and means โ€œmake, buildโ€ as a standalone. The ๐Ÿ fin(ish) modifier indicates completion.

you , i for , do ? like , i , you for , do .
As you do to me, I do to you.

To disambiguate the passive ๐ŸŽฌ๐Ÿคฒ done from showing a similarity of action, we express the latter using ๐ŸŽฌโ“๐Ÿคฒ do what like. In isolation and without modifier, ๐ŸŽฌ do means โ€œto doโ€.

work1 , horse be should1 do and ,
rider be not should1 do .
Work should be your horse, not your rider!

Here โ€œworkโ€ is translated as ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ”ถ๐ŸŽฌ money for do, โ€œdoing something for moneyโ€.

๐Ÿง’โŒ›๐Ÿ’ญโ–ซ๏ธ๐Ÿง’โ–ซ๏ธ๐ŸŒด2๐Ÿ”ถ๐Ÿ”โ–ซ๏ธโ˜๏ธ๐ŸŽฌ:โ–ซ๏ธโš ๏ธ๐ŸŽฌโž•๐Ÿ’–๐ŸŽฌโ–ช๏ธ
life1 topic , person , only 2 thing ob , should1 do: , must do and want do .
In life you should do only two things: what you have to do
and what you want to do.

Here the ๐Ÿ’ญ topic relation introduces the sentence topic, โ€œlifeโ€. Apart from the new ๐ŸŒด only prefix, this sentence features three contrasting modifiers: โ˜๏ธ should1, โš ๏ธ must, and ๐Ÿ’– want. Also, two concepts may be combined using the โž• +, with, and relation. Alternatives include the strict โœ–๏ธ or alternative relation, indicating that only one option is possible, and the โž•โœ–๏ธ andor option relation, indicating that only one or both options are possible.

๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ”โ–ซ๏ธโš ๏ธ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ‘€๐ŸŽฌโ—โ–ซ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘œโœจ๐Ÿค”๐ŸŽฌโ—โ—โ–ช๏ธ
towant ob , beware ! , get might ! ! .
Be careful what you wish for, you might get it!

โ€œBe carefulโ€ is translated as โš ๏ธ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ‘€๐ŸŽฌ danger ob see = beware. The ๐Ÿค” might modifier indicates speculation in ๐Ÿ‘œโœจ๐Ÿค”๐ŸŽฌ tohave -become -might, โ€œmight getโ€.

3.4 People

you , you against do -notwant thing ob , also other person against , not do ! .
Do not do to others what you do not want done to you!

This sentence features the ๐Ÿ’” notwant modifier as the opposite of ๐Ÿ’– want. It also contains the ๐Ÿ”€ another1 prefix and the โœŠ๏ธ against relation.

you , peace ob , towant if , tofight
-can1 -become ! .
If you want peace, prepare for war!

Conditionals of all kinds are expressed with the โžก๏ธโญ if relation. The ๐Ÿ’ช can1 modifier occurs in โš”๏ธ๐Ÿ’ชโœจ๐ŸŽฌ tofight -can -become, โ€œbecome able to fightโ€.

you , give sothat , i , give .
I give such that you may give.

The ๐Ÿ”ฅ let modifier doubles as the ๐Ÿ”ฅ sothat relation, indicating an intended or unintended consequence. By contrast, the ๐ŸŽ for relation only indicates intended consequences.

eye per eye , tooth per tooth .
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth

The โž— per relation indicates a correlation.

"eye per eye" , whole world1 ob , blind -let .
โ€œAn eye for an eyeโ€ makes the whole world blind.

Putting anything into quotation marks โ€œโ€ creates a an icon acting as a quote or direct speech. โ€œWholeโ€ is translated as โ™พ๏ธ๐Ÿคฒ all like to differentiate it from โ™พ๏ธ all. โ€œBlindโ€ is ๐Ÿ‘€โ›”๐Ÿ’ช๐ŸŽฌ tosee -not -can, โ€œcannot seeโ€.

๐Ÿง’โ–ซ๏ธโฌ…๏ธ๐Ÿ•’๐Ÿคฒโž—โ–ซ๏ธโ˜ ๏ธ๐ŸŽฌโ–ซ๏ธ๐Ÿงต๐Ÿคฒโž—๐Ÿ•’โ–ซ๏ธโ˜ ๏ธ๐Ÿคฒ๐Ÿ“ฆโ–ช๏ธ
person , early per , todie , long per time , dead1 be .
The earlier one does, the longer one is dead.

The โž— per relation also correlates attributes and clauses, in this case โฌ…๏ธ๐Ÿ•’๐Ÿคฒ left1 time like = early with ๐Ÿงต๐Ÿคฒ thread like = long.

neither death ob , nor pain ob , i , tofear .
I fear neither death nor pain.

When using the โž– "neither, -" prefix, negation of the verb is not necessary. โค๏ธโญ feeling is used as a compound in ๐Ÿค•โค๏ธโญ pain.

โš”๏ธ๐Ÿ”จโ—ป๏ธ๐Ÿง’โŒ›๐ŸŽฌ๐Ÿง’โ–ซ๏ธโš”๏ธ๐Ÿ”จโ–ซ๏ธโžก๏ธ๐Ÿ•’โ–ซ๏ธโ˜ ๏ธ๐ŸŽฌโ–ช๏ธ
swords by ; tolive2 person , swords by , future , todie.
Who lives by the sword will die by the sword.

The ๐Ÿ”จ by relation indicates a method.

๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿง’โ–ซ๏ธโš ๏ธ๐ŸŽฌ๐Ÿ”โ–ซ๏ธโ›”โœ–๏ธ๐ŸŽฌโ–ช๏ธ
hero , duty ob , not tochoose .
The hero doesnโ€™t choose the duty.

The โœ–๏ธ or relation as a standalone means โœ–๏ธ๐ŸŽฌ choose.

more big fish , more small fish ob , toeat .
The bigger fish eats the smaller fish.

As before, the โš–๏ธ than relation doubles as the โš–๏ธ more1 prefix.

i , cat ob , tocook -oops ! ! .
Oops, I cooked the cat!

The ๐Ÿ™ƒ oops modifier indicates doing something unintentionally.

flour instead , talk ob , not togive ! .
Donโ€™t give words instead of flour!

This sentence features the ๐Ÿ”€ inst(ead) relation. ๐ŸŒพ๐Ÿง‚โญ grain1 powder means โ€œflourโ€.

toom tocook people , watery food ob , tospoil .
Too many cooks spoil the broth.

The ๐Ÿคฏ toom(uch) modifier doubles as a prefix with the same meaning. This also applies to the ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ“ easy and ๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿ“ hard1 modifiers, which mean ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ“ enough and ๐Ÿ˜ง๐Ÿ“ notenough as a prefix respectively.

flower sub , earth1 without , not togrow .
A flower doesnโ€™t grow without earth.

This sentence contains the ๐Ÿงฑ made material relation in ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿงฑโญ earth2 material = earth1, as well as the separation relation โž– "-, without".

some people , world ; toburn ob , tosee
-only -want .
Some people just want to see the world burn.

This sentence contains the โ— some prefix as well as the ๐ŸŒด only prefix applied to the ๐Ÿ’– want modifier.

few time , small bird ob ; tocatch1 for ,
tree , tofell like .
Sometimes to catch a sparrow a tree is felled.

The duplication plural of the ๐ŸŒด only prefix is the ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒด few prefix. The ๐ŸŽ for relation indicates a purpose in ๐Ÿ•ธ๏ธ๐ŸŽฌ๐ŸŽ catch for, โ€œin order to catchโ€.

finger lit ob , tooffer and , they people ,
whole hand ob , totake .
Offer them a finger and they take the entire hand!

The ๐Ÿ‘‹โญ invite modifier is used as a standalone meaning โ€œto offerโ€. โ€œTheyโ€ is translated using ๐Ÿ‘† that, pro(noun) combined with the ๐Ÿ‘ฅ group pronoun, which is the plural of ๐Ÿง’ person.

anything , can1 do .
Anything goes.

The โ™พ๏ธโ— any prefix is used as a standalone.

this ob , toignore -noteven ! .
Donโ€™t even ignore it!

This sentence features the โž– "-nor, -noteven" modifier with ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ’”๐ŸŽฌ toignore, โ€œnot wanting to seeโ€.

you , toleave -may but , back2 , togo -maynot .
You may leave, but you may not return!

The opposite of the ๐Ÿ‘ may modifier indicating permision is the ๐Ÿ‘Ž maynot modifier indicating prohibition. These two modifiers double as ๐Ÿ‘ good1 and ๐Ÿ‘Ž bad.

fly ob , elephant become , not tochange ! .
Donโ€™t turn a fly into an elephant!

The โœจ bec(ome) modifier doubles as the โœจ bec(ome) relation, indicating the end state of a transformation.

i topic , you , toleave -notwant ! ! .
I donโ€™t want you to leave!

Here the ๐Ÿ’ญ topic relation indicates whose emotions or impressions we are talking about when using the ๐Ÿ’” notwant modifier or any other emotional modifier. By default, this emphatic subject is the normal subject.

3.5 Conventions

This concludes the overview over the fixed symbols of Iconic! To top things off here are a few pragmatic suggestions:

4. Encoding & Fonts

Almost all typable characters, including emojis, are standardized under Unicode, meaning an Iconic text should look similar on all platforms. I currently use the Windows 10 version of the font Segoe UI Emoji, which is why this version of Iconic uses only symbols contained in Unicode 12. The idea is to update the standard vocabulary with newer emojis as they become more widely adopted.

Iconic works best with an Emoji font providing outlines, adequate spacing, and distinctive shapes. Outlines and adequate spacing can easily be accomplished with any font - this website uses additional spacing and a drop shadows for sentences in Iconic.

For the sake of compatibility, Iconic should be perfectly readable in black and white and not rely on Zero Width Joiner or other combined or animated emojis. Use Emojipedia as a reference.

5. AutoHotkey Script


The AutoHotkey script contains the standard library.

After installing AutoHotkey on Windows, double click on the provided โ€˜Iconic.ahkโ€™ file. A green icon with the letter H (as in Hotkey) should appear in the taskbar, meaning the script is active. Open any text editor, type a common English word and press space or enter. The word should be transformed into one or more emoji characters. If a word is ambiguous, a number followed by a question mark will appear instead. In this case, delete the number and question mark and type the word again directly followed by a positive number not greater than the number displayed before. If nothing happens, the word is not contained in the dictionary.

To pause or unpause the script, press Ctrl + Alt + A, with the paused script indicated by an S in the icon instead of the previous H. If the script is not paused, press Esc to close it or Ctrl + Alt + R to reload it after changes. Please edit the script for your personal use as you see fit!

6. How to contribute

Try it out and share your experiments on Reddit or Discord! Feedback is also always welcome! ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you for your interest and enjoy the extra Material! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ