I had a new thought the other day regarding how language is conveyed and perceived. When a language is conveyed visually in English, it is conveyed in symbols (such as text or sign language). However when it is perceived aurally, it is perceived as a raw stream of acoustic frequencies.
Is there any linguistic distinction between conveying ideas/language via discrete chunks (such as symbols/text) and conveying via a stream of data that must be intellectually parsed (such as a stream of acoustic frequencies)?
I'm very new to the field of linguistics, so if anyone can think of any more appropriate tags, please feel free to edit them in.
In fact, I'm having trouble understanding exactly what I'm trying to distinguish in my mind. Is there an existing language or set of categories I could put this in? It seems like what I'm describing is a level of familiarity with neural input.
Text or symbols are always coming in visually as a stream of raw frequencies of data which must be parsed by the mind to be understood to be chunks of recognized data.
So, a visual language where conversation is visual only, but presented as animated waveform graphs of sound is not an already understood convention for my mind at least, so it is data that has no existing mental framework to fit in.
I don't know, I'm confused about it. It's like there are high level computer programming languages that use human words as code (like "print" or "if x= 10 then print") and then lower level programming languages, like machine code that use commands in hexadecimal (like "8B542408 83FA0077 06B80000 0000C383"). High level languages are convenient for human conscious awareness to be involved with (we are familiar with the word "print"), but lower level languages like binary or machine code, using commands like "8B542408", are something our waking state consciousness is not readily familiar with.
Similarly, letters of an alphabet are easy for our conscious minds to interact with, but the raw neural data stream of visual perception presented to the nervous system by the retina is something our conscious self is not easily involved with.
So, are there levels of language data like this for human languages? High level formats and lower level formats? If so, is that what I'm asking about when describing symbol-based communication and frequency-based communication?