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Well, up until recently people didn't read silently but always read out loud even by themselves. Saint Augustine remarked how taken aback he was by someone who read 'silently.' The propensity seems to have been that all reading didn't just involve subvocalization it was actually vocalized. I'm not sure that this proves much in terms of whether subvocalization is always involved. This simply may be a result of people learning to read much later (if at all)before the modern age and have decode the words into a vocalized step to aid comprehension.

I'm not sure I follow your claim that "all writing systems...are systems for writing out speech." I agree that "most written characters are based on the SOUND of spoken morphemes" but this isn't by itself proof of how written language is processed by the brain. Certainly ideographic cuneiform counts as writing just as much as modern english. As writing grew more complex we can see a shift in every culture that started out with ideographic representation to move to a system much more dependent on morphemes. But in every case, the shift is gradual and subsumes elements of the purely ideographic writing, proving that the early ideographic writing was seen as just as much a language as the newer script that includes phonetic elements. We do after all, use a language defined by phonetic features.

All the writing systems I'm familiar with (e.g. hieroglyphics, Sumerian cuneiform, Chinese) have very limited ideographic content. Instead, a limited vocabulary of ideograms (up to a few hundred) are used to make rebuses of the words that don't have ideograms of their own, turning the ideograms into phonetics. As far as I know, this rebus principle is present as far back as we have records of people writing actual language (as opposed to, say, calendars or general ledgers).

Do you have pointers to discussion of purely-ideographic language writing with no phonetic component?

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