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

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13
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2answers
334 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
446 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
361 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
1k 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 ...
6
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, ...
6
votes
2answers
319 views

How did it happen that K was introduced to Latin alphabet in place of C and C started to mark /t͡s/ or /s/ in many languages?

I know that K has been derived from Greek kappa and C from gamma. But how did it happen that people started to use K in place of C? From what I know there were already C and G in the Latin alphabet ...
5
votes
2answers
687 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
251 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
91 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
134 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
189 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?
4
votes
1answer
98 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
600 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
1answer
137 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
145 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
2answers
270 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
6answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
194 views

Why is the letter “Q” visually simillar to “O”?

G was created out of C by adding an additional line, for an obvious reason as they represented similar sounds in Latin. But why is Q pretty much O with an additional line? These two letter do not ...
2
votes
2answers
173 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
174 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
108 views

Do any other languages have an equivalent to the hiragana and katakana alphabets?

Hiragana and katakana contain the same sounds (morae I think), but are typically used in different words. In particular, most European loan words use katakana (a few don't), and a large proportion of ...
1
vote
2answers
777 views

Which official document defines the English alphabet?

This page says that standardization took place in year ~1700 So, where is it stated that English language has 26 letters and where are all letters defined? This link ...
1
vote
1answer
110 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
147 views

Do Azeri people actually use Ə instead of A in names?

I have two spellings of an Azeri name: Alakbar and Ələkbər. In official contexts (ID or passport), do both forms of the name appear or just the latter? Why do Azeris still transcribe their names if ...
1
vote
3answers
161 views

Which writing script can represent all human sounds?

Being a Nepali language speaker, I can easily produce most sounds in Devanagari script as every letters have same sound despite the place of use. But there may be many sounds that are not ...
1
vote
1answer
281 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
58 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
1answer
69 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

Is there a word for variety of letters used in a language?

To suggest either/both readability or efficiency in typing? English is less [is there a term to fill in here?] than Japanese: compared to English alphabets, the number of letters in hiragana + ...
-1
votes
0answers
26 views

Consonant pairs [closed]

I want to create a list of 10 pairs of consonants based on linguistics, logic, and intuition, regarding the sound of the letters, the shape, or other criteria. The logic need not apply to all letter ...
-2
votes
2answers
1k 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. ...