What shape is the alphabet?

I am a very visual person. I think in pictures and metaphors and I don’t really grasp complex concepts until I have a picture of them in my head, even if it’s a picture I made up myself. When I was growing up, I thought this was just the way the world was, just like I thought that everyone knew that “C” was female and yellow. Honestly, I’m not sure how common this is, but here is how I visualize various number and cyclical systems:

The Alphabet

Visualization - AlphabetThis is how I picture the alphabet and I’m not sure why. It doesn’t make much sense why it would necessary bend at around “I” and “V” but it does and it always has ever since I was small. Whenever I picture the alphabet, this is what I see in my head.

Numbers

Visualization - NumbersThis is generally how I picture most numbers. There is a bend at ten and a big one at twenty and then at 100. The problem with this one is that it is also 3-dimensional, but you get the idea.

It gets more complicated with age, since there are more bends in the line (90-100, for instance, is almost at right angles with the ones before it) but that is more 3-dimensional and I notice it tends to change as I get older (not surprisingly, I guess.)

Months of the YearVisualization - MonthsThis is probably the most intuitive, since it’s a circle, although the exact placement of things is a bit odd. For instance, New Year’s is in the upper left. July, August, and December take up much more space than some others, although I think this is because those were times of holidays (summer holidays and the Christmas season) so they seemed to take up more time in my mind. Or maybe just because they had to connect a big area between the spring and fall semesters. In any case, this is what I see in my mind when I think of the calendar or the months of the year.

Hangul

Visualization - HangulThis is the Korean alphabet and won’t have much significance to most people, but I thought I’d put it in as a point of interest. This is much simpler, maybe because there are 14 letters (these are only the consonants) and maybe because I only learned them 10 years ago. In any case, there is a definite bend in the line, possibly because the later ones are the aspirated versions of earlier consonants. Who knows.

History

Visualization - HistoryThis is pretty much how I visualize the timeline of history. Some of these are obvious, like a bend at the divide between BC and AD. Also, there is more room for the 20th century, since we learned a lot more about that time and it has more significance for me. I’m not sure about some of the other dips and bends, but this is just how I see things. This one is also quite 3-dimensional, but that was hard to draw.

Does this seem normal to you? Totally weird? Let me know in the comments. I’m curious how other people view the world.

 

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About David Stewart

I am a writer of anything quirky and weird. I love most genres of fiction and in each there are stories that I would consider "my kind of story". View all posts by David Stewart

9 responses to “What shape is the alphabet?

  • Mom

    I’ll have to draw how I see things sometime. I visualize all of the things you’ve shown (except the Korean alphabet) spatially, but quite different than your array. I think this is fascinating.

  • Anna Symons

    I find this fascinating too. I want to be able to draw for you how I see things, but I can’t on here. Your year circle is the most similar to mine, but mine has more of a curve in January and February. You didn’t draw how you visualize a week…it’s one I’ve tried and tried to draw but it never makes as much sense on paper, because it’s kind of like a football shape, but one half of it is Monday-Friday, while the other half is the weekend. It never seems right on paper that two days should fill up the same amount of space as five, but that’s just the way it is in my head.

  • The Bumble Files

    I think this is quite fascinating, and an indication of your creative mind. I can’t say I see anything quite like this. I kind of wish I could see it this way. Visually, it actually makes a lot of sense. I think if I were to present things visually, it may be more about how I feel about things, but this doesn’t make any sense. How do I feel number nine?! Haha. Anyway, my point is I don’t think I view things spatially this way. It’s pretty cool!

  • misskzebra

    I don’t know if you ever saw the “visualisations” windows media player used to put on while playing music, but when I was younger, I remember some numbers were like that. 69 would be almost groovy figure of eight, and as I sounded the words out in my head, the colours would move across the image. Numbers like 54 were more 3D and blocky. And 54 strikes me as yellow. I probably lost this when I was 9 or 10. Numbers and letters definately had genders. Sometimes the capital would have a different gender to its lower case counterpart, though. A is female, but a is male

  • Christopher De Voss

    This actually makes a lot of sense!

  • Luddy's Lens

    I’m sort of with Bumble Files on this one, in that I have a kind of “gut reaction” to these things — 6 has always been pretty open and groovy, 5 has some sort of ulterior motive (maybe because it’s so bendy?), 7 isn’t very bright…

    History for me is not at all a timeline, but a feeling of comfort. The months are of differing sizes — April is gigantic but January is very small.

Let me know what you think. I appreciate all comments and criticisms.

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