Questions tagged [alphabets]

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

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1 vote
0 answers
54 views

Are there any more optimal tactile alphabets than Braille?

Sorry if this is the wrong stackexchange to ask this. Consider how QWERTY was the first keyboard layout, but isn't nearly optimal (e.g. Dvorak is much better and used overwhelmingly by top speed-...
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

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 ...
-1 votes
2 answers
67 views

What is the linguistical terminology for (and if) letters of a given alphabet have(ing) their inherent meaning?

Letters or phonemes. Letters, like runes according to this article: https://sonsofvikings.com/apps/fireamp/blogs/history/viking-runes-guide-runic-alphabet-meanings-nordic-celtic-letters At least that'...
6 votes
3 answers
906 views

What is the origin of letters corresponding to consonant clusters?

The Greek alphabet has ψ (psi) and ξ (ksi) , both letters correspond to a bi-consonantal sequence. Latin has X, Cyrillic alphabet has Щ which in some languages corresponds to ʃt͡ʃ, etc. Normally, an ...
3 votes
1 answer
376 views

Why does lower case "a" look so different from capital "A"?

Despite my best efforts, I can not find the answer specifically for "a" online. For the rest of the letters of the Latin alphabet, I can see the connection between the different forms (...
0 votes
2 answers
210 views

Why do the Hebrew characters look so different from Greek, Latin, even Phoenician?

Why do the Hebrew characters look so different? See, for example: chart of letters If I look at Greek, Phoenician, etc. I can still see similarities (maybe with rotations or flipping of characters) ...
32 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why isn’t the letter “G” immediately after “C” in the alphabet?

I have absolutely no formal linguistics background, but I enjoy learning about it a lot. I’ve seen multiple times before how the alphabet mutated from Roman times to our own: The letter “J” was a ...
1 vote
2 answers
204 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? ...
4 votes
1 answer
540 views

Where did the Greek consonant cluster "ps" come from

Where did the Greek consonant cluster "ps" come from? I tried finding resources to track down this fun-sounding consonant cluster but came with no information. I was thinking about a voicing ...
2 votes
2 answers
131 views

What's the name of the principle that derives the sound of a symbol from the name of the thing that that the symbol depicts?

What do we call it when the Initial sound of a word, eg. beth vel sim. "house", is assigned to a symbol of that word, eg. the floorplan of a house(?), to use the sign as the unique ...
0 votes
0 answers
64 views

Is the Latin alphabet the most widely known in the world?

Note: By "Latin alphabet," I'm referring to the 26 letters (A-Z) that English uses. Sorry if this is the wrong term (I don't want to call it the "English alphabet" since it's used ...
7 votes
3 answers
1k views

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 ...
6 votes
4 answers
818 views

Is there a collective term for the Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek alphabets?

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
158 views

Why are E and É both part of the Hungarian and Icelandic alphabets but the English and French alphabets only have E?

The letters "E" and "É" occur in English, French, Hungarian, Icelandic, and other languages. However, the Hungarian and Icelandic alphabets include both "E" and "É&...
0 votes
1 answer
133 views

Middle English: y or ȝ

Lately I've been looking up the Middle English of many Modern English words via Wiktionary. It was my understanding that by this point in the history of English ȝ was in heavy use. Yet these ...
0 votes
0 answers
115 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 ...
-6 votes
1 answer
182 views

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 ...
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

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 ...
4 votes
4 answers
245 views

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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
283 views

Was there an evolution of the Greek alphabet in the Middle East?

I recently visited Jordan and noticed that many mosaic are commented with included text. The text seems mostly ancient Greek alphabet, but it also contains non Greek characters such as C, obviously ...
-1 votes
7 answers
10k views

Is English the only language (except classical Latin, Cyrillic, symbol languages and auxiliary languages) that has no diacritic symbols/accents?

What I mean by no diacritics. Czech has: ř, ů, á, š ... Spanish has: Ñ, á ... German: ä, ö, ü... Italian: è, ò, ... ... At least in Europe, I am not aware of a language that ...
-3 votes
2 answers
276 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
254 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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
93 views

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 ...
4 votes
3 answers
275 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
153 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
117 views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
60 views

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 ...
4 votes
3 answers
429 views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
65 views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
176 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 ...
6 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
843 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, ...
4 votes
1 answer
230 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 ...
10 votes
6 answers
607 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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
451 views

What sounds do the graphemes ⟨ś⟩ and ⟨ź⟩ represent in Montenegrin?

As of 2009 the Montenegrin alphabet was adopted in Montenegro. It consists of the same alphabet as used in Serbia, with the addition of two graphemes. The graphemes ⟨ś⟩/⟨с́⟩ and ⟨ź⟩/⟨з́⟩ are said ...
1 vote
0 answers
209 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 ...
-1 votes
2 answers
136 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 ...
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
832 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 ...
12 votes
5 answers
3k views

Are there any "simple" languages?

In all the languages I know, at least one of the following aspects is complex/difficult: Alphabet: Complex meaning a large alphabet like in Chinese. Pronunciation: Complex meaning that, for example, ...
0 votes
3 answers
429 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?
1 vote
1 answer
145 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]. ...
1 vote
2 answers
564 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
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 ...
10 votes
1 answer
329 views

What gave rise to the manual alphabet for Latin characters in Japanese Sign Language?

I am aware of the fact that this question is rather specific, but anyway I would like to give it a try. Japanese Sign Language has three manual alphabets: one for representing kana-characters, and ...
3 votes
5 answers
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 ...
3 votes
4 answers
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 ...
5 votes
3 answers
708 views

In which script(s) is the Kazakh language actually written in Kazakhstan?

According to the Wikipedia article on the Kazakh language it can be written in Cyrillic, Latin and Perso-Arabic scripts as it's a language that does not have its own native script like Armenian or ...
1 vote
0 answers
126 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 ...