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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Recognize this script?

I've wondered about this script since I saw it years ago. I imagine it's an English cipher. Can anyone tell me?
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Early Modern English spelling variations dictionary

I am building a web application that allows users to transcribe, word by word, Early Modern English manuscripts. I want to tell users when a word they transcribed may be a new spelling variant of ...
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81 views

Does changing the writing system for a language change the language?

Some languages change what writing system they use. For example, Old English used to use Anglo-Saxon runes but eventually used the Latin alphabet, and Mongolian in Mongolia uses the Mongolian Cyrillic ...
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109 views

Are there any words that have merged in pronunciation and spelling and then separated again?

Are there any words that started off different, merged in pronunciation and spelling at some point and then separated again? E.g. Two hypothetical words in Old English OX and OY are neither ...
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66 views

Where do the spelling rules for French imperatives come from?

French verbs are, for historical reasons, typically grouped into three classes. The loss of final consonants in French has resulted in a serious divergence, wherein the verb conjugation system of the ...
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1answer
76 views

Can a word have zero characters in it? [closed]

Is it possible for a word, especially a person's name, to have zero characters in it? No letters, no numbers, no punctuation, just totally empty? I'm aware of some people not having a surname, or not ...
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66 views

“h” in French words of Germanic / onomatopoeic origin

As I understand it, the [h]-sound in Latin words (habere, prehendere, etc.) was lost before French became a distinct language. But French also has many words of Germanic or onomatopoeic origin that ...
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2answers
60 views

On use and mention in “His name is Joseph but you can call him Joe”

In a sentence like His name is Joseph, but you can call him Joe the names Joseph and Joe are not used 'referentially' (to name a certain male individual) but just 'mentioned', i.e., they are used ...
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73 views

What is the orthography for each of these Khmer vowels?

I'm in Cambodia and trying to learn what I can of the Khmer language without a teacher. I've noticed some inconsistencies in the Wikipedia articles as I try to get better at both the writing system ...
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58 views

pronouns with uppercase and lowercase variants

In Russian, there are two forms of the formal 2nd person singular pronoun: lowercase вы (vy) and uppercase Вы (Vy). If I understand correctly, the latter is used in situations where the speaker and ...
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Any world languages having multiple-letter-based or single-ideogram-based syllables where three or more consecutive syllables of any word repeat?

My question is related to this interesting question, but instead of looking for letters within words which happen to appear repeated three or more times in a row, I'm looking for consecutive identical ...
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263 views

What are the disadvantages of Abugida writing systems?

Indian here, but it only suddenly struck me now that the abugida systems seem to have no disadvantages at all (except one). I'm only considering what seem like standard measures of "good" : (small) ...
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119 views

What is the longest sequence of vowels in one word that you know of? [closed]

What are the longest sequence of vowels in a natural language that you know of? Be aware that this is an orthographic question, not a phonetical. Please state word, language and translation.
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61 views

What are the different ways used to ortographically show the length of vowels?

Norwegian is using vowel length contrastively. This is normally shown in ortography by double consonant after the vowel. tak(tɑːk) vs. takk(tɑk). What other ways are used to ortographically show ...
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438 views

Which languages have words containing the same letter three times in a row?

I was just reading a french text with the word créées (created). Are there any other languages where triple letters, especially vowels, can be found occasionally?
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65 views

Can Malay or Indonesian ever have an /n/ followed by a /g/?

Malay and Indonesian are considered to be very phonetically spelled with the usually cited exception being that orthographic "e" can represent either /e/ or /ə/. In both orthographies the sound /ŋ/ ...
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1answer
200 views

Spelling of laryngeals in Proto-Indo-European

Proto-Indo-European has been reconstructed with so-called "laryngeal" consonants, spelled *h1, *h2, and *h3. These were lost in branches other than Hittite but left traces on adjacent short *e as well ...
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81 views

Size of phonemic inventory of individual speakers across different accents and dialects of English

This started out as a trivially simple question: How many phonemes are there in the different dialects and accents of English? I just needed a simple reference for a point about the teaching of ...
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172 views

Are the rules for comma placements universal?

When i write, i put a comma according to my gut feeling. therefore i left a lot of marks on my way to the end of the sentence that sum up to a bubble of insecurity. Anyway, i am not even sure it comma ...
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1answer
118 views

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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152 views

Which other languages pronounce <j> as [dʒ]

On a related question, the OP points out that the grapheme j has a variety of pronunciations throughout various languages: as [ʒ] in French, [j] in German, and [x] in Spanish. Does any other language ...
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3answers
120 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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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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274 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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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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124 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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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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91 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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119 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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197 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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74 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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102 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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172 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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100 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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87 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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278 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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244 views

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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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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150 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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176 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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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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175 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
238 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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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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132 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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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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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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492 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 ...