A set of letters that represent phonemes, used to write one or more languages.

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12
votes
5answers
391 views

Is there any point in the current ordering of the letters in the alphabet?

I know we inherit our alphabets (including its ordering) from the Romans, and if we trace it further we will end up with the Phoenicians or some other civilizations in the ancient Middle East. Do (or ...
12
votes
2answers
300 views

Do all non-syllabic, non-logographic scripts have pronounceable names for their letters for spelling?

If you ask an English speaker to spell a word, there are specific, widely-known names for all the letters to fill this need. The same appears to be true for all Phoenician-derived alphabets that I can ...
10
votes
2answers
320 views

Is there an active alphabetic writing system not based on the Phoenician or the Brahmic lineage?

The vast majority of alphabetic writing systems are part of the Phoenician lineage (e.g. Latin, Cyrillic and friends) or Brahmic (Devanagari and friends). Is there an active alphabetic system outside ...
8
votes
8answers
882 views

Which language was regularly written in the most alphabets?

There are a number of languages which have historically been written in more than one alphabet (Hindi/Urdu, Serbo-Croatian, Uzbek and so on). I am wondering which single language has been regularly ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Are there any “simple” languages?

In all the languages I know, at least one of the following aspects is complex/difficult: Alphabet: Complex meaning a large alphabet like in Chinese. Pronunciation: Complex meaning that, for example, ...
5
votes
2answers
651 views

What is the origin of letters corresponding to consonant clusters?

The Greek alphabet has ψ (psi) and ξ (ksi) , both letters correspond to a bi-consonantal sequence. Latin has X, Cyrillic alphabet has Щ which in some languages corresponds to ʃt͡ʃ, etc. Normally, an ...
5
votes
2answers
200 views

Two questions about Sappho's name

The Greek poeter Ψάπφω/Ψάπφα beared an interesting name, probably not Greek. I have two questions, about the first and the last letter of her name : (1) what was the value of the initial Ψ ? This ...
5
votes
0answers
80 views

What gave rise to the manual alphabet for Latin characters in Japanese Sign Language?

I am aware of the fact that this question is rather specific, but anyway I would like to give it a try. Japanese Sign Language has three manual alphabets: one for representing kana-characters, and ...
5
votes
0answers
108 views

What sounds do the graphemes ⟨ś⟩ and ⟨ź⟩ represent in Montenegrin?

As of 2009 the Montenegrin alphabet was adopted in Montenegro. It consists of the same alphabet as used in Serbia, with the addition of two graphemes. The graphemes ⟨ś⟩/⟨с́⟩ and ⟨ź⟩/⟨з́⟩ are said ...
4
votes
2answers
421 views

If the Arabic script is suited to Arabic grammar, how do speakers of non-Semitic languages cope with it?

The Arabic script is an Abjad writing system or consonantal alphabet. Most letters stand for a consonant, and short vowels are usually not indicated (but can exceptionally be indicated with diacritic ...
3
votes
2answers
148 views

Are there any latin-alphabet languages written right-to-left?

Are there any languages using the Latin alphabet characters which are written right-to-left?
3
votes
1answer
100 views

Is the Ampersands a Letter in the Latin Alphabet?

My understanding is that, until fairly recently, recitation of the English alphabet was often suffixed by saying "and per se and", roughly translating to "and, by itself, '&'". This suggests that ...
3
votes
3answers
130 views

Origin of Alphabetic/Phonemic Scripts

Dixon (the Australianist) has claimed that the Phoenician/Canaanite script is the ultimate source of all known alphabetic (purely essentially-phonemic) scripts on Earth; all other scripts are not ...
3
votes
1answer
70 views

Seeking details of Lao orthographic reforms

The Lao script was originally used as an abugida (consonants have implied vowels) for the Lao language, just as most of the writing systems related to it. The Lao script is now used as an alphabet ...
3
votes
2answers
241 views

In which script(s) is the Kazakh language actually written in Kazakhstan?

According to the Wikipedia article on the Kazakh language it can be written in Cyrillic, Latin and Perso-Arabic scripts as it's a language that does not have its own native script like Armenian or ...
2
votes
2answers
155 views

Is music a language?

I am a musician. I read an article in the NY Times that suggested both words and musical melodies follow Zipf's Law. I had never really thought about it before, but I started wondering do linguists ...
2
votes
4answers
132 views

Are the orthographies of the Slavic languages generally consistent?

I need to learn two Slavic languages, any two initially, and eventually at least one each from the East, West, and South Slav groups. I understand that each language has its own version of the ...
1
vote
1answer
88 views

Was there an evolution of the greek alphabet in the middle-east?

I recently visited Jordan and noticed that many mosaic are commented with included text. The text seems mostly ancien greek alphabet, but it also contains non greek characters such as C, obviously ...
1
vote
1answer
227 views

Correlation between vowel sounds and compact alphabet used in English and its acceptance

English is the preferred language in many fields of study and in international communications, it has more vowel sounds than many languages, but a compact alphabet, which in my opinion is why English ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

Is there any method of assigning a numeral score to the extent to which a given alphabet is phonemic?

Is there any method of assigning a numerical score to the extent to which a given alphabet is phonemic? If so, then obviously, the score for a given alphabet would vary across the languages that it ...
0
votes
6answers
689 views

Is English the only language (except classical Latin, Cyrillic, symbol languages and auxiliary languages) that has no diacritic symbols/accents?

What I mean by no diacritics. Czech has: ř, ů, á, š ... Spanish has: Ñ, á ... German: ä, ö, ü... Italian: è, ò, ... ... At least in Europe, I am not aware of a language that ...
0
votes
0answers
40 views

Why does *h* have two different names in Welsh?

Why does h have two different names in Welsh, namely âets and hâ (variants: ha, he, hi, hy)? And what other examples are there of letters known in a language under two or more names for the same ...
-2
votes
2answers
431 views

Why don't some Arabic letters appear in the alphabet list?

I've got a printout of the Arabic alphabet, reproduced below. The trouble is when I look at certain words, I can't make out what letters are in there. For example, the Arabic word for camel is جمل. ...