Tagged Questions

Orthography is that part of Grammar that is made of all the rules that govern the correct way of writing according to a certain language's system.

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Is there a language without words which correspond to the concepts 'I', 'They', 'We'

I was wondering if a language exists without the ability to express the notions of 'I', 'We', 'they' etc. Would it be possible to communicate without these concepts being expressible as a ...
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3answers
97 views

Are capital and lowercase letters considered allographs?

I got into a debate the other day with somebody over whether the capitalized and decapitalized forms of certain written words (say, Polish and polish, or China and china) could be considered ...
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175 views

dear, ear, fear, gear, hear, near … why are bear/pear pronounced differently?

Some of you have helped me and my mum, so thank you for that. In class last week we were looking at pronunciation ... and something caught me out. Why are some words spelt very similar to multiple ...
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4answers
148 views

Are there writing systems with more than upper case and lower case?

The English alphabet has two "cases", UPPER CASE and lower case. Japanese hiragana has one case. Are there any writing systems, with, say, 3, 4 or more cases?
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86 views

Does any language using the Latin alphabet have a unique name for “w”?

In English, we call w "double-u", referring to the original representation of [w], which looked like uu, or two us. Then, in French, they pronounce it "double-veh", presumably because the modern form ...
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101 views

How is it that such varied sounds (in major European Languages) came to be represented by the same letter “j”?

The letter "j" is pronounced differently in the following major European languages: English: just (just) Spanish: justo (husto) German: junge (yunguh) French: juste (zoost) How is the ...
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62 views

Lao orthography: ວ as part of consonant cluster or part of diphtong and placement of tone marks

Lao is a little underdocumented compared to other languages, both in terms of actual linguistics and in terms of prescriptive norms. There is a semivowel letter, ວ, which has a few roles: Consonant ...
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1answer
78 views

Have the spelling systems of lingua francas historically been less phonetic than those of native languages?

Lingua francas exist because they allow people with different native languages to communicate, with an emphasis on flexibility to the detriment of rigor. Were a lingua franca's spelling made strictly ...
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88 views

In alphabetic languages written right-to-left, are the characters within a word written in the same direction?

In alphabetic languages (broadly speaking - anything other than a logographic script) which are written right-to-left, are the characters within a word written in the same direction as the words, or ...
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167 views

Can the Anglo-Saxon words 'sind, sinder, sindon' have origins from older languages?

Examples I have found are: Sindh from India; zindiq(a heretic) from Arabic; and zeen + deen or zin+din (compare to sindon) which is from Hebrew meaning 'leaped the law'; and Sin/Shin is the 21st ...
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0answers
56 views

Punctuation and spaces in other common languages?

For example, in Chinese, a full stop is 。 (U+3002) and a space is   (U+3000). I need to break paragraphs into sentences and I want to make it compatible with as many languages as possible. What other ...
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74 views

Spelling Correction on Romanized Devanagari texts

Has anything been done in this regard? I am looking for research that has been conducted for spell checking of Romanized Devanagari text. I suppose well researched English spell checking algorithms ...
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102 views

How do homonyms impact English Language Learners comprehension?

I understand that homonyms are words that sound alike but have different meanings. They may or may not be spelled the same. For example, the word fair is spelled and pronounced the same for three ...
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1answer
77 views

What was the most usual and most recent system of writing Korean without any hangul at all?

It's proving quite difficult to learn some of the facts about written Korean before hangul was given official status by the government. We know that metal movable type printing was inventing in ...
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82 views

Common misspellings: Loosing losing [closed]

Anecdotally, it seems like one of the more common misspellings on the net (besides then/than, your/you're, etc.), particularly in documents where everything else is spelled correctly, is to use ...
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strange Latin spelling : karissime

I read in Ovid, Metamorphoses, 1.486 (in a recent French edition) : "Da mihi perpetua, genitor karissime" (O dearest father, allow me to enjoy perpetual maidenhood !) "karissime" isn't an error : ...
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156 views

What languages use the serial comma?

There's a well-known split in English between those who use the so-called serial or Oxford comma, a comma before the last item in a list like Able, Baker, and Charlie, and those who don't. That leads ...
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Is there any etymological motivation for “I-slam”, “I-srael”, “Mu-slim” and “I-smael”?

Background Looking at old German orthographies, the long-s (ſ) spelling of the following five words (and I have not found any others so far) contradicts the spelling systematics of all other words: ...
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102 views

Are Hebrew numeric ranges written right-to-left or left-to-right?

There seems to be a difference between Hebrew and Arabic, for example. Here's a test you can do in Notepad: Switch the text direction to right-to-left (it's one of the context menu options) Paste ...
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2answers
126 views

To what extent is a language's morphology tied to orthography, and why do we not consider orthography when doing morphological analysis?

Linguistics classes seem to be mostly concerned with analyzing language in its spoken form. Written language is seen as almost "parasitic" to spoken language. A language's orthography generally gives ...
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146 views

Are Mongolian “хан” and “хаан” the same word despite the usually important difference in vowel length?

I've just noticed that if you look in several English and Mongolian dictionaries that the Cyrillic Mongolian word "khan" is given as either "хан" with a short vowel, or "хаан" with a long vowel. (So ...
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377 views

Is there a long list of languages whose writing systems don't use spaces?

Some languages like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Khmer use writing systems that don't use spaces. What are other such languages? Is there a list of these languages?
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151 views

The double ⟨l⟩ in Spanish

In Spanish, some words start with the double consonant graphemes ⟨ll⟩ - that have indeed the value of /ʎ/. Is there any language that have a similar pattern (starting with double consonants)? What is ...
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3answers
174 views

Ideally phonemic writing systems? [duplicate]

I am looking for languages with writing systems that are almost completely ideally phonemic (i.e. no silent letters and an unambiguous one-to-one correspondence between the letters and the phonemes). ...
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What's the difference between the Lao vowel letters “ໄ” and “ໃ”?

Lao is said to now be a language with phonetic spelling since the reform/standardization of the 1970s. During this process some consonants were made obsolete (they're still not in Unicode) because ...
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1answer
55 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 ...
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2answers
88 views

Hang Sơn Đoòng — the syllable Đoòng in Vietnamese orthography

There's a cave in Vietnam which has been newly opened to tourism called Hang Sơn Đoòng (English Wikipedia article here). My question is about the syllable in the name of the cave which is represented ...
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2answers
732 views

Why is English spelling so inconsistent?

English spelling is in many respects not phonetic and there is often no one-to-one mapping between spelling and pronunication. E.g. 'a' is /ej/ or /ey/ instead of /a/ as in Albert 'c' is /s/ not ...
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1answer
69 views

What is the difference between a relaxed orthography and a na(t)Ïve orthography?

I recently stumbled upon these two concepts relaxed and na(t)ïve orthography, but I don't really known how to used them properly, any advise would be welcomed, thanks.
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368 views

Why do the sounds [ks] have their own single letter 'X' in European languages?

It seems that the original intent of the letter 'X' was to pronounce the phoneme [k^h] in Classical Greek but evolved over time to be [ks]. My question is: How come there are so many European ...
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Recent material (papers, books, etc) about Developmental Orthography

I have made a quick search on the internet about Developmental Orthography, but the papers and research projects I found are not very recent, some almost 20 years old. Apart from that almost all of ...
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154 views

Mostly Arabic text with some English

I was asked to help proofread an Arabic language (right-to-left) flyer with some English (left-to-right) text: Right now it reads: بطاقة المساعدة الغذائية مقبولة من Local Farm Market اسواق المزارعين ...
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3answers
4k views

diphthong vs. digraph (English)

I want to check my understanding of these 2 terms: diphthong (concerned with sound; 1 sound; represented 2 letters; not long or short) digraph (concerned with graphemes; 2 letters; can be long or ...
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3answers
188 views

What prevents people from pronouncing 'nowhere' as 'now + here' instead of 'no + where'?

I'm an English student (English is not my native language) and I once encountered this word nowhere, but I first recognized it in that moment as now + here and I literally pronounced it so. Maybe my ...
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392 views

Should emoticons be considered punctuation?

Folowing on from my previous question Are "txt-speak" and "emoticons" examples of normal language evolution? I would like to propose that emoticons are simply now symbols of punctuation, rather than ...
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3answers
188 views

Do central language regulation bodies accelerate or inhibit orthography changes?

In some discussions about the latest reform of the German orthography, it was claimed that a central language regulation body prevents people from writing as they like and thus prevents »natural« ...
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192 views

How are line breaks handled in bidirectional messages containing both English and Hebrew?

I have some Hebrew (right-to-left) text within an English (left-to-right) text as such: The Hebrew text (right-to-left) by itself looks like this: When the paper does not have enough width, the ...
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1answer
172 views

State-of-the-art spelling correction algorithms

According to Wikipedia The most successful algorithm to date is Andrew Golding and Dan Roth's "Winnow-based spelling correction algorithm", published in 1999, which is able to recognize about 96% ...
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1answer
483 views

Are there sentence boundary disambiguation algorithms which can handle punctuation errors with decent accuracy?

Most algorithms for splitting text into sentences which I've found rely on punctuation being correct. However, in many real world applications, there will be substantial numbers of punctuation errors ...
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1answer
810 views

Capitalization of month, weekday and season names

Why in English name of months are capitalized but name of seasons do not? Is there any languages that in its orthography seasons names are capitalized? Is it related to the calender type used by its ...
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1answer
141 views

Where can orthographic Korean words be split at the end of a line?

Unlike Chinese and Japanese, Korean does employ spaces between words. What constitutes a lexical word differs from what constitutes an orthographic word. For instance, particles which can is some ...
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2answers
669 views

Korean syllable-final ㅅ in Hangul transcription of loanwords

Why are English loanwords ending in /d/ or /t/ systematically transcribed into Hangul syllables ending in ㅅ rather than ㄷ? This seems strange, since when ㅅ is followed by a vowel, the coda is realised ...
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1answer
233 views

Criteria for separating Korean words

The rules for when whitespace is required/permitted in Korean are not obvious, but are not explicitly discussed in any grammars or textbooks I have access to. I can infer this much: Between ...
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2answers
488 views

Are “txt-speak” and “emoticons” examples of normal language evolution?

"txt-speak" appeared because of the need to fit a communication into 160 characters. "Emoticons" appeared due to the need to convey an emotional context with your message so that it is read correctly ...
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1k views

Why don't the French pronounce consonants at the ends of words?

I am curious what could have caused the shift in pronunciation. I presume it must have occurred after the spelling of words was standardized. According to the History of French wikipedia article, this ...
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4answers
398 views

Are Written and Spoken English distinct languages?

First of all, I am not a linguist, but I was thinking the other night that being literate was almost the same as being bilingual. My reasoning is that sign language is distinct from written and ...
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1answer
69 views

Is there a term for reading a homonym that means one thing but interpreting it as another?

For example, a friend of mine posted a picture of a book series on Facebook and the start of his caption was "Read all 13!" I initially interpretted this as an imperative sentence ([ɹid] all 13), but ...
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1answer
233 views

Rules of Yale Romanization of Korean

This is kind of a specific question, though it appears there is no StackExchange forum for the Korean language... What are the specific rules in Yale Romanization of Korean with regard to where to ...
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9answers
1k views

Is there a language whose writing is 100% phonemic?

I was wondering is there a language that has a complete one-to-one correspondence between the graphemes (letters) and the phonemes of the language? Or rather, is there a language that is 100% ideally ...
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7answers
715 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 ...