In fact the visual phenomena – in fact all sensory phenomena – is very similar to language. Think about it. Is the sensation of feeling the thing that is being felt?
Of course here I am playing a certain game. Let us for a bit forget about the uncertainity regarding external reality and pretend that there is an external reality that causes our sensory experience. Given this assumption it follows that all sensory experience is is a language the meaning of which is that which is causing the experience.
Just as the word “tree” is nothing like the collection of sense data it represents so the 2 dimensional image is nothing like the 3-dimensional image we think it represents. It may seem to be similar but I think this is nothing but a trick of familarity.
In fact the process of language acquisition must be similar to the process of image interpretation. Though I believe that it is harder to learn a language for a child than it is to come up with a concept that makes sense of sensory input. This is partly because it takes so long for the child to become competent at language compared to how long it takes the child to make sense of sensory input and partly due to the nature of the two tasks.
In the case of language a concept has to be generated or learnt for each word whereas in order to make sense of the 2 dimensional visual input there only needs to be one concept: 3 dimensional space.