I need to have two tables as showing both grapheme-phoneme and phoneme-grapheme relationships in a couple of languages to be compared mathematically. In fact, I want to know how many phonemes stand for each grapheme and how many graphemes stand for each phoneme in different languages. I need such data to compare with Persian language phonology.

Does any of you know of appropriate references in this respect?


Since it is often controversial what the phonemes of a language are, and since languages are generally not monolithic, this is not a common sort of standard reference item. It's also complicated by the fact that it's not completely obvious what a grapheme is. For example the letters ب ت ث are three different letters, likewise س ش and غ ع but are arguably not as many separate graphemes (they decompose into a base plus 1-3 dots). And while English s, h, t are distinct graphemes and [s t h ʃ θ] are distinct phonemes, you can't say that the grapheme s represent two phonemes ([s,ʃ]) and h represents a half dozen or so ([h,ʃ,θ,f,r,k,tʃ]). You could perhaps say that the letter h is orthographically involved in the representation of a number of phonemes. In other words, the core concepts need to be defined a bit more precisely.

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  • Yup. And then there's the fact that even alphabetic systems like English or Russian don't really represent phonemes well, while abjads and abugidas are much more complex. To say nothing of quasi-phonetic systems like Chinese. – jlawler May 19 at 18:23

Here's something I made for a tutorial I gave on Old English (note 'phone', not 'phoneme'). As it's not a reference per se, not sure if it's any help.

enter image description here

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  • some of your correspondences don't line up with what I'm used to. Do you have a source for g-dot being pronounced the same as cg-dot? Likewise I've not heard velarisation being suggested as the significance of wR clusters before. It also seems odd to list x as being pronounced as either k or s, rather than as the cluster /ks/. Lastly, what's the logic of having rr listed on the grapheme side without any corresponding phone? – Tristan May 20 at 11:05

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