Others have already posted definitions and examples of various kinds of text, so I’ll come at it from a different perspective.
I see text as a construct that has shifted and changed human communication in many ways. After beginning to read Ong’s Orality and Literacy, I was stuck by the notion of pristine oral cultures. It makes me wonder how my ability to remember things has been impacted by text.
The idea that a society has no written language is so foreign that I have a hard time imagining it. If I think of text as logograms, letters, or symbols – the impact on communication is profound. In the digital age we live in, text (and the text-dominated MET environment is a prime example), text in many forms is increasingly taking the place of oral communication. It reminds me in many ways of cartoons where the text is doing the talking and we read, not hear what is being said.
I found the photo here on the Flicker commons and love the way it expresses the ideas I’ve been writing about – the shift to text from speech. I guess the license is a little different for it and I can’t grab the HTML, but click here to see.