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I was just wondering if such a term exists, since they are very similar to each other, and all of them derive from the Greek alphabet, so I thought perhaps there might be a collective term for the three of them.

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  • 3
    Do you include other Greek-derived alphabets, like Gothic?
    – Anixx
    Oct 8 at 19:39
  • @Anixx , gothic, yes, but not armenian because it differs by so much. Oct 9 at 3:36
  • 1
    Do you include Norse runes? They are also based on Latin and Greek.
    – Anixx
    Oct 9 at 8:26
  • @Anixx no, because it is not confirmed to be derived from Latin and Greek, and may only have been influenced by them. Oct 9 at 12:52
  • 1
    Etruscan, I suppose, yes, as it's intermediate between Greek and Latin?
    – Anixx
    Oct 9 at 12:55
9

Some people in typography and grammatology use terms like Euroscript and acronyms like LCG (akin CJKV for sinograms). The L may be replaced by an R for roman and the order may be different, e.g. GRC since there is no canonical convention.

Bicameral scripts would mostly cover these as well, because the distinction between uppercase and lowercase letters is rare elsewhere.

Note that some other scripts may also belong to this grouping, especially Armenian and Georgian, but also Glagolitic, Coptic, Gothic, Runic and probably more.

Just for the record, ISO 15924 does not contain a collective 4-letter alias code for Latn + Cyrl + Grek.

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  • Isn’t Coptic just Greek with a few minor alterations and a couple of extra letters? I would say it is more of a different version of the Greek alphabet, rather than a distinct alphabet on its own. Oct 10 at 6:01
  • 1
    I would have said so, too, but Unicode decided to encode it separately. Wikipedia
    – Crissov
    Oct 10 at 6:56
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I've heard "Greek-derived alphabet", but this term would also apply to e.g. Gothic and Coptic.

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  • That would work, but I don't want to include Armenian (which is also Greek-derived) because is too different from the others. Oct 9 at 3:38
  • 2
    @QuintusCaesius-RM In what way is it "too different" from the others?
    – CJ Dennis
    Oct 9 at 9:50
  • 1
    @CJDennis it looks very different, also apparently it was mostly taken from the Pahlavi script of Persia and only influenced by Greek. Oct 9 at 12:50
  • @QuintusCaesius-RM "looks very different" is entirely subjective. Are there any objective features that would rule it out?
    – CJ Dennis
    Oct 9 at 22:36
  • @CJDennis I suppose it is very subjective, I am trying to come up with a list of features which the alphabets share, currently I have: bicameral; the fact that all the capital letters are the same height; lowercase characters may either have descenders, ascenders or neither; all ascenders and descenders are roughly the same height; all the alphabets have at least a few shared letters, or at least ones which are very similar; cicrcles, half circles, slants, and vertical and horizontal lines are all common letter “elements”; diacritics may be added to form new letters or indicate vowel length. Oct 10 at 5:53
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In German, there is the term griechischer Schriftenkreis probably coined by Hans Jensen and also used by Harald Haarmann. I am not aware of a canonical English translation of that term.

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  • Google translate says "Greek font circle", very interesting. Oct 9 at 3:48
  • 2
    The translation should probably be Greek font family (Kreis does not translate well into English)
    – Stefan
    Oct 9 at 7:15
  • @Stefan Interesting, but the idea is ultimately the same. Oct 9 at 12:53
  • 3
    “Greek family of alphabets”, I'd say.
    – Yellow Sky
    Oct 9 at 13:05
  • 1
    @QuintusCaesius-RM; "font" is a clear translation error here, Schrift is to be translated as "writing" or "writing system". "alphabet" sounds okay, but it is more specific than German Schrift. Oct 10 at 18:55
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We can trace the development of writing systems in family trees, just as we do for languages. The families of writing systems often don't have names though, so you could just say Greek-derived writing systems, Greek itself being developed from the Phoenician Alphabet.

However as you are excluding many writing systems that also developed from Greek, what you're asking about is really a paraphyletic group. And as your criteria for inclusion or exclusion seem to be based on your personal subjective opinion of how similar they are, I think you can't expect there to be any term for what is essentially your own private and eccentric categorisation.

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  • 2
    I would say that there are perfectly valid typological grounds for grouping the modern Latin, Greek and Cyrillic scripts together, while excluding other writing systems derived from ancient Greek. But many of the features shared by these three alphabets (such as bicamerality, distinct print and cursive letterforms, use of italics for emphasis, optional use of serifs in print, general similarity of letter shapes, composition and alignment) are indeed due to prolonged historical contact and co-evolution rather than shared ancestry. Oct 9 at 21:26
  • @IlmariKaronen exactly, but regardless of whether the common features are inherited or due to contact, I feel like there should be a common term for them, even if there isn’t a commonly used one yet. Oct 10 at 5:59
  • 1
    if we're talking purely typologically, maybe we could go by analogy to other paraphyletic typological groupings e.g. the Standard Average European language area and refer to them as Standard Average European scripts (and like with the SAE language area, the features of it are relatively recent innovations compared to the attested history of the languages
    – Tristan
    Oct 11 at 13:45
  • 1
    @IlmariKaronen: So a term like Schriftbund would be perfectly cromulent for this phenomenon, it is just that we are making it up on the fly here. Oct 11 at 13:49

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