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    What's Your Sign?

    December 11, 1998

    When you think about it, written English is becoming more and more like Chinese or Japanese – a set of thousands of specialized characters used to identify particular items or actions. Need proof? It's written in the washing-instruction hieroglyphics on the label of your shirt. offers a way out of this linguistic maze. If you know the general concept behind an icon, you can browse a keyword index. If you're completely stumped, a less elegant "graphic index" invites you to pick which vague descriptions ("Is the sign open or closed?") best capture the symbol in question.

    Rob Pegoraro

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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