This isn't posted to linguistics because I'm concerned about the purpose of language learning. I've found questions asking whether you need to learn written Japanese to learn spoken, for instance, but I haven't found the reverse asked here. In short, i'm looking for a natural language with a written system that gives no advantages to knowledge of a spoken language. Longer spiel below.
I'm fascinated with logographic systems. I study maths at university and so I've got a propensity towards symbolic expression, but I think I categorise all logographic systems I've encountered so far into three groups:
- Very incomplete. This would include emoji, where there isn't really any syntax and a very limited scope of expression.
- Very rigorous, and unnatural. This would include conlangs, and more mathematical languages, like Leibnitz' characteristica universalis.
- Natural languages with an actual logographic language. So something that can be written with symbols that bare no structural relationship to the spoken.
What languages are practically in category 3. For instance, is Chinese/Japanese in there? I don't have much experience with Chinese, but in Japanese there is a structural relationship between spoken and written, since there are kanji radicals with a spoken form, which the composite kanji can inherit to some degree. I think Chinese is the best because it developed in a wide, linguistically diverse empire, but my experience with it is limited. Could I live in china without knowing a single spoken word but being fluent in the written system, and reasonably learn this. I'm ok if I miss out on puns or jokes, because those seem largely spoken.
For hieroglyphics, I believe there is the transliteration of names similar to katana in Japanese, except without a syllabary, instead the symbols are chosen with the same pronunciation as the name. Therefore, there aren't "unspoken symbols", speaking still has a use if I'm correct.
The Mesoamerican writing system is a logosyllabic system. While symbols could be rote memorised, it appears there are symbols which do not show their meanings at face value, but rely on homophones. I'm not sure I could learn this writing system without learning any of the spoken languages.
For cuneiform it would seem pretty good, except I think it has the failings the Mesoamerican writing systems had.
Perhaps there are protolanguages or petraglyphs which are closer to emoji, but not really expressive enough to be deemed a language. It doesn't require for it to have no spoken form, just a written form that is wholly independant of the spoken form.