Questions tagged [alphabets]

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

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71 views

Were there pictographic glyph variants of letters, like multiocular O (ꙮ) for the word 'many-eyed' etc. in Cyrillic, in any other alphabets?

Were there pictographic glyphs of letters that were used in some special words in any other alphabets and languages? Like multiocular O (ꙮ) in word 'many-eyed', double monocular O (Ꙭ) for the plural ...
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Why are J, U, W considered part of the basic Latin Alphabet?

J, U, W are included in ISO basic Latin alphabet which consists of 26 letters. However, The classic Latin has only 23 letters, and J was only used as a variant of I as σ do to ς. J, U were not ...
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1answer
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Evolution of the latin capital and small letters [closed]

So, let us divide the letters into four categories. Ii Kk Ll Vv Ww Xx Zz are all made of straight lines. Cc Oo Ss are all made of curves. Bb Dd Gg Jj Pp Qq Rr Uu are made of both straight lines and ...
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Generic name for Hànzì/Kanji/Hanja/Chữ nôm/Sawndip?

So I was thinking about how to talk about these characters in a culturally-neutral way. Chinese seems to be used, but it implies a particular way of writing characters (not to mention it makes it ...
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1answer
130 views

What part of speech is a letter?

I wanted to know what part of speech a letter might be or I wanted to see if I understand letters. Do people ask this question in this place? Or am I in the place where people would ask this? I asked ...
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Evolution of Greek San from Phoenician Tṣadē

It is generally agreed that the Greek letter San developed from the Phoenician Tṣadē, but I'm not sure I see the graphical similarity. The Phoenician form does bear some resemblance to the Greek form ...
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1answer
129 views

Why did Χ and Ψ have such different sounds in early Eastern and Western Greek?

Why did Χ and Ψ have such different sounds in early Eastern and Western Greek? Which sounds are older? If the Western, why were both Ξ and Χ created to denote [ks] (note that they both appear in the ...
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Is there a reconstruction of the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet that's consistent with meaningful translations of all known Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions?

Including those from Wadi el-Ḥol, Serabit el-Khadim, Lahun, and Bir en-Naṣb. I know that we can't yet prove that any reconstruction is accurate, but is there one that is at least consistent with ...
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1answer
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Will we ever decipher the Wadi el-Ḥol and Serabit el-Khadim inscriptions? [closed]

In his book Letter perfect: the marvelous history of our alphabet from A to Z, David Sacks says that we'll probably never decipher the Wadi el-Ḥol inscriptions (and he was probably implying the same ...
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3answers
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Where does the letter <j> come from to Slavic Cyrillic alphabets?

Most South-West languages of Slavic language family with Cyrillic writing system as primary have the Latin letter in their alphabets, which doesn't origin in what we consider today Cyrillic. Where ...
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239 views

Names of the letters in the Latin script

I have noticed that the Spanish alphabet has the 26 letters + the consonant ñ, which is pronounced like the "ny" in "canyón". But out of the remaining 26 letters, I have noticed ...
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3answers
204 views

Why do we make a distinction between letters and punctuation marks?

In English, for example, the word "don't" is made up of 4 letters ("d", "o", "n" and "t"), and one punctuation mark ("'"). However, there seems to me to be no reason for this distinction. Without any ...
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Extract strings of a certain language from a dataframe in python

I have a pandas DataFrame that contains a column with sentences from different languages (6 languages). The DataFrame also contains a column which states which language the corresponding sentence ...
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1answer
153 views

Why does the NATO Spelling alphabet contain words with more than two syllables

I always wondered why the NATO Spelling Alphabet has words with three syllables in it. I know it was extensively researched, so there must be a reason, but it seems odd to me. One syllable seems ...
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995 views

(Why) did the Thai script convert Sanskrit द /d/ to /th/ and then introduce its own character for /d/?

The first section of the Thai alphabet/abugida seems to follow Sanskrit pretty closely, with just a couple of additions. I believe that Sanskrit had the consonant /d/, which is represented by द in ...
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1answer
524 views

Where do I get a list of all/many alphabets as strings or JSON or CSV data?

I have this manually typed in for "English: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ I'm trying to find a nice, authoritative source for "all" or "many" other alphabets. For example, ...
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214 views

Estimating the number of words in a language before invention of alphabet

Here is my question from the title: Given a (natural) language with its writing system based on an alphabet, are there any theories giving (quantitative) estimates on the number of words the ...
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6answers
447 views

Do multi-dimensional writing systems exist?

I am not sure whether linguistics board is the right place to ask this question, but since I couldn't find any better place here is the question: Most (all?) of the writing systems are using the ...
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0answers
154 views

Does an alphabet with the uniform letter frequency distribution exist?

A language employs some kind of alphabet for writing. One could naïvely expect that each letter bears the same amount of entropy. But in reality that is not the case. For example in English each ...
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2answers
110 views

Is left-to-right scripting better than right-to-left?

I'm Iranian and here, Arabic script is what is used. many litterateurs believe that this script is not good for the Persian language and many of them think that it should be changed. one of the ...
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Why is Greek alphabet left-to-right?

The Greek alphabet and all of its child systems such as Roman, Cyrillic, and Gothic are conventionally left-to-right writting systems. But why is that, considering it comes from the Phoenician ...
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544 views

Density of information/semantic of Chinese and Korean language versus european languages

Some years ago I had read an interesting article about how much information chinese people could put in one tweet of 140 characters. But I cannot find again this article. I'm interested in having ...
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1answer
122 views

Arabic word for door from root d-l-t or d-l-th

I know that the Hebrew letter 'daleth' originates from the word for 'door', indeed the Modern Hebrew word for door is 'dalet'. Is there an Arabic word for door from this same root - d-l-t or d-l-th? ...
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3answers
412 views

Alphabet size affects complexity of written ideas?

Do relatively simple alphabets (Rotokas, Hawaiian) limit the complexity of written ideas? Example: could Rotokas be used to write a technical manual for the space shuttle?
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135 views

How common is it for languages using non-Latin alphabets to borrow English words while keeping both (transliterated) spelling and pronunciation?

To illustrate what I mean, hypothetically, Russian could borrow the word "peak" from English and transliterate it as "пеак", while still pronouncing it according to the English pronunciation [piːk]. ...
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371 views

Phonetic english alphabet using diacritical marks?

Does there exist a phonetic english alphabet constructed from standard english letters plus diacritical marks? For example, fine might be written fínė, such that í = aɪ and a letter with a dot is ...
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4answers
6k views

Are there any scripts which have more than 127 characters?

This is not a question about software or tools. Please don't comment if you think that's what I'm asking about. Parsing Unicode-encoded text is a major pain for a software developer, so I thought ...
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124 views

Why does the English Alphabet sometimes function like a syllabary?

One of the things that I never really noticed growing up until I began learning about other languages and the elegance of writing systems is how, in America for sure, we use letters like syllabic ...
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1answer
135 views

How do languages which prefix proper nouns (by case marking, clitic article, etc) do capitalization in Latin Alphabet?

There are languages which put a prefix or a clitic before a noun to mark definiteness or case. How different languages using Latin alphabet which have this declension or marking deals with ...
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1answer
176 views

Discussions around symbols included/excluded in the IPA

Are there are IPA symbols which are the subject of some controversy? For example, I suppose there are some who would like to have a unitary"tS" t-esh sound as a unitary phoneme... but I bet there ...
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1answer
639 views

What is the function of the *dot* diacritic, when it converts /ba/ to /ra/ (if it can be called so) in Bengali?

The dot diacritic works for [dzo] to [jo] , for [do] to [ro] and for [dho] to [rho]. But /ba/ and /ra/ are completely unrelated sounds, so what is the dot doing to /ba/?
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Is there some relationship between the modern u and μ?

I study Mathematics and Statistics and one of the most common symbols we tend to write is μ which obviously is the lower case 'Mu'. It is one of the easiest symbols to learn when first encountered ...
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1answer
93 views

Transliteration of Cyrillic

I have created a language that uses the Cyrillic alphabet, but I'm unsure as to how I can transliterate these letters for English-speaking readers: Ii - this is pronounced as a hard letter 'i', as in ...
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3answers
3k views

Is there an alphabet containing exactly 25 letters?

I am looking for an alphabet containing exactly 25 letters. As we all know, the standard Latin alphabet contains some more letters than 25. As I would like the alphabet to contain exactly 25 letters, ...
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2answers
301 views

Where to start with deciphering this language? [closed]

I do apologize if this question has been asked before or has a better place on a different part of the StackExchange network, but I've run out of places to ask this. While playing through one of my ...
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2answers
145 views

What is the difference between “می‌گفت” and “میگفت”?

I read in WP's entry on Persian alphabet that the "ye" final form is 'ﯽ', and its medial form is 'ﯿ'. Logically, when typing "می‌گفت", most software automagically write "میگفت". However, the ...
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Why are some scripts' names derived from their first few characters?

The name of the Old English runic alphabet Fuþorc (or transliterated into Furthark or Furthorc) is, just like the word alphabet formed by a portmanteau of its first few letters. The Scandinavian ...
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Why do some alphabets have special final forms for some letters?

Some alphabets, e.g. the Greek, Hebrew and Arabic alphabets, have different forms for some letters when they appear at the end of the word. E.g. in Greek, the letter sigma (σ) appears as a ς when ...
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1answer
413 views

Why is the Arabic alif maksura sometimes read as a ya

Why is the final alif maksura of Habibullaah Kalakaani read as a ya? If so, then why doesn't it have two dots beneath, or is the transcription wrong? Thanks.
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How many Arabic(-derived) alphabets exist?

I would like to know, besides Modern Standard Arabic as spoken in Egypt, how many distinct Arabic alphabets (I assume each Arabic-speaking country will have its own Arabic alphabet, with a lot of ...
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1answer
202 views

Diacritics and Ashanti/Twi alphabet?

Ashanti Proverbs (The Primitive Ethics Of A Savage People), by Robert Sutherland Rattray, 1916, uses the following notation : I read that Ashanti people speak Twi, yet the Twi alphabet does not seem ...
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Can a new alphabet be created and added to the English language? [closed]

Does the English language, or any other language for that matter provide the flexibility to add or remove new alphabets?
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1k views

Thai alphabet romanizations?

Is there any standard system of romanization for the Thai alphabet (including consonants, vowels, tones, numbers, and their combinations), or is any such romanization system quite arbitrary? Can ...
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1answer
71 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 + ...
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1answer
747 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 ...
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1answer
294 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 ...
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2answers
904 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 ...
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5answers
1k 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 letter has the same sound despite the place of use. But there may be many sounds that are not ...
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2answers
902 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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
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147 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 ...