A number of picture-based communication systems are in use by nonspeaking people. They are not widely used in Japan. This may be because the systems, although pictorial in nature, tend to be based on English sentence formation. This study was conducted to provide a basis for a discussion about the use by people in non-English-speaking cultures of graphic-based communication aids developed in English-speaking countries. Subjects (80 Japanese and 43 English speakers) were asked to compose picture-based sentences using a computer-based system. The order of graphic symbols on the screen and the effects of syntax markers were investigated as independent variables. The results show that syntax markers and the symbol order had an important effect on the sentences produced by Japanese-speaking subjects. In addition, both the Japanese and the English speakers omitted words when using the picture-based communication system as compared to using speech.