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Questions tagged [orthography]

Orthography is a set of rules that determine the correct way of writing in a certain language, including norms about spelling, punctuation and word breaks. Orthography is usually not considered part of natural language or grammar itself and therefore not strictly a subject of linguistics, but sometimes of interest in investigating individual languages' pronunciation and writing systems.

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4 votes
1 answer
284 views

What was the original pronunciation of the Thai consonant symbols?

The Thai writing system was devised to serve two main purposes: to write Thai words and to write Sanskrit (or Pali) words. For this reason, the Thai alphabet has one consonant symbol for each Sanskrit ...
0 votes
0 answers
70 views

Does conservative orthography promote "phonetic denial"?

Are there speech-communities that assert that the gemination (still) present in their orthography (still) exists in their pronunciation, but audio analysis does not support this assertion? I guess ...
8 votes
1 answer
114 views

Was the "a" glyph ever used for ajV in Hittite?

As fdb mentioned in a comment: The sequence a-a is a scribal convention for ajV [in Akkadian]. Some Assyriologists treat it as a single sign with the “Lautwert” aju, aji, aja In Hittite, ...
19 votes
2 answers
7k views

Ncuti Gatwa is, according to Wikipedia, pronounced /ˈʃuːti ˈɡætwɑː/ - where is the NC orthography derived from?

On trying to find the pronunciation of the name of Mizero Ncuti Gatwa, a Rwandan-Scottish actor who will be playing the Fourteenth Doctor, I noticed the NC pairing and its pronunciation is listed on ...
0 votes
0 answers
23 views

Is plain orthographic transciption of speech recordings adequate for corpus creation?

NOTE: I am not a linguist, but my interest is in the Natural Language Processing (NLP) field. I am doing a research which is focused only on gathering new or distinct words on a recently described ...
1 vote
1 answer
60 views

Were يانيه and یانیه interchangeable in Ottoman Turkish?

Copy/pasting from this official pdf from the Turkish government produces يانيه. Czech Wiki uses the same spelling. English Wikipedia and Wiktionary, however, both use the spelling یانیه. Those look ...
3 votes
2 answers
496 views

Do any modern orthographies use capital esh?

The letter "esh" (ʃ) is well-known from the IPA, and is also used in some languages' orthographies. Because of this second use case, Unicode includes a capital esh at U+01A9 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER ESH (...
6 votes
5 answers
2k views

Does the Telugu script have near perfect phonemic orthography?

I was trying to find the proper term for when a language's alphabet has one to one correspondence between the letters written and the pronunciation for those letters. Turns out its called phonemic ...
-2 votes
3 answers
854 views

Why are there spelling inconsistencies in Spanish and Italian? What is the historical origin of this spelling pattern?

I noticed that in the Spanish and Italian languages, words change spelling to reserve the pronunciation. For example, in Spanish verbs have -ar, -er, and -ir conjugation classes. First person ...
25 votes
17 answers
29k views

Is there a language whose writing is 100% phonemic?

Is there a language that has a complete one-to-one correspondence between the graphemes (letters) and the phonemes of the language? In other words, is there a language that is 100% ideally phonemic?
5 votes
1 answer
692 views

How unpredictable must vowels be for a writing system to classify as an abjad?

I've been pondering a conlang with a rather unusual orthography. I'm only stating this because no natural language has this sort of writing system. Essentially, its a system that only writes ...
5 votes
1 answer
407 views

What is the origin of ⟨c⟩ for /ts/?

In several languages' romanizations or orthographies, the letter C is used to represent the /ts/ sound. Where does this come from? Wikipedia notes that ⟨c⟩ is used for Cyrillic ⟨ц⟩ in the ...
9 votes
3 answers
10k views

Why does Polish use "w" instead of "v"?

Polish spells /v/ as "w", and the "v" letter does not exist in the language. The other slavic languages using the latin alphabet are in a reverse situation, "v" is used exclusively and "w" does not ...
1 vote
1 answer
154 views

Why is anekdota written with a "k" in Czech but a "g" in Polish (anegdota)?

So I decided to compare the languages Czech and Polish. The devolving of voiced consonants to voiceless consonants are pretty much the same. However, one of the differences were, words with [g] ...
12 votes
7 answers
5k views

Why doesn’t a language modernization initiative adopt pure phonetic spelling?

Given that there are language associations that work to standardize languages’ orthography, vocabulary, grammar, etc., why is it not more common to use phonetically accurate spelling?
4 votes
1 answer
187 views

Orthography changes in Italian

How has the orthography of Italian changed in the 19th century? I’m trying to find an in-depth guide but I haven’t found any resources. Maybe it just hasn’t changed except for a few technical words?
-2 votes
1 answer
211 views

Why is the day of the week capitalized only in Germanic languages and not in Romance languages?

In English, it is written as Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday and January February March April May June July August September November December. On the other hand, in Romance ...
17 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why isn't there a letter for /b/ sound in Greek alphabet while they have the sound?

In Greek the letter B sounds /v/; for example we have Vanadium which is Βανάδιο in Greek which in turn is transliterated as Vanάdio in English. But what about when we have a /b/ sound? For example, we ...
1 vote
0 answers
91 views

Are there any diacritics derived from superscripted "i" (and other letters)?

I know that umlaut (e.g. ä) derives from superscripted "e", ring (e.g. å) derives from superscripted "a", and tilde (e.g. ñ) derives from superscripted "n". Is there a ...
14 votes
19 answers
10k 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?
1 vote
1 answer
155 views

Closeness between written words and spoken words over different languages

In my understanding, the different languages exist in spoken form and (mostly) in written forms (what about sign languages?). Some languages have developed a close relationship between the written ...
4 votes
0 answers
118 views

How did "y" come to represent the semi-vowel yod /j/ in French orthography?

I went down a bit of a rabbit hole trying to work out where the different sounds of the "y" in English came from. I quickly established that the semi-vowel was originally written with a yogh,...
2 votes
1 answer
385 views

What sound or letter does this Ogham letter represent? [closed]

The above images are of a modern metal pillar in Portlaoise, County Laois, Ireland (they both depict the same pillar, but from different angles), with an Ogham inscription. I deciphered it to the best ...
0 votes
0 answers
80 views

Could the Old Cyrillic Djerv and Coptic Janja be related?

I was browsing wikipedia when I encountered the lovely letter Djerv as part of Old Cyrillic: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Djerv Its shape is like that of an <h> with a horizontal stroke. ...
0 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the difference between traditional and modern IPA?

I have recently come across this while researching the phonetic spelling for "love", and I have come across a website (the website) that had both traditional and modern IPA spellings (with ...
4 votes
3 answers
151 views

How do I draw the Vietnamese ơ and ư characters?

How do I draw the Vietnamese ơ and ư characters? (Surprisingly, I can’t find this information via Google like I can for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters.) Specifically, how do I draw the horn ...
1 vote
1 answer
53 views

Orthographies that use diacritics to mark grammatical tone

Are there any orthographies that use diacritics to mark grammatical tone instead of lexical tone? Or a combination of both?
4 votes
0 answers
145 views

Letter “o” with Ogonek in Early Middle English Orthography?

Edit: looking at this again, I wonder if the editors of the Wikipedia article mentioned below (from which the transcription comes) just transcribed the manuscript incorrectly, and the “ogonek” I am ...
1 vote
0 answers
62 views

Impact of spell checkers on prescriptive language reform

I had a story about prescriptive language reform, specifically about the Real Academia Española and its decision to change the spelling of puzzle (pronounced /ˈpuθle/ in Spain) in the 21st edition (...
0 votes
1 answer
120 views

Why do some Vietnamese words have the tone marking on the last letter?

In my Vietnamese class at uni we learned that Vietnamese words have their tone marking on the second to last sound. However I've repeatedly run across cases where it appears on the last letter even if ...
1 vote
3 answers
381 views

Why was 'u' invented?

In the history of the letter 'v', Wikipedia mentions the origin of 'u' but unfortunately doesn't describe why it was created in the first place: During the Late Middle Ages, two minuscule glyphs ...
-1 votes
1 answer
299 views

Does deep orthography decrease the collision entropy of a written language?

EDIT: For those of you who think this question is off-topic, I asked it on a forum about linguistics because I expected the answer to come from historical linguistics. I expected the answer to be ...
1 vote
3 answers
429 views

In english, what's the origin of pronouncing the `e` as /i/ or /e/?

As instance, the sentence let it be is pronounced /lɛt it bi:/ . And in general, the e seems to me pronounced just arbitrarily. Does it come from Germanic languages? During language evolution, did ...
3 votes
1 answer
221 views

How did so many Arabic letters converge to hold the same shape?

Here one can see that the letter groups خ ح ج and several others are identical if not for the dots. In this pair, two are vaguely H-sounding, the other was formerly some form of palatalised G, which I ...
1 vote
1 answer
165 views

What is the nature of punctuation marks, are they paralinguistc features; where are they studied?

I am not sure I understand the distinction between paralinguistic and extralinguistic. Let's eat, grandma. Here, grandma is the adressee of the message, the actor (invited). Grandma is the one to eat. ...
3 votes
1 answer
337 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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
231 views

does modern Hebrew have spelling pronunciations?

A spelling pronunciation is the pronunciation of a word according to its spelling when this differs from a longstanding standard or traditional pronunciation. Words that are spelled with letters that ...
7 votes
4 answers
757 views

Should emoticons be considered punctuation?

Following on from my previous question Are "txt-speak" and "emoticons" examples of normal language evolution? I would like to propose that emoticons are simply now symbols of ...
8 votes
3 answers
3k views

So many Romanian words seem to end in "u"

I have just learned that the suffix "escu" in a Romanian name means "son of." But it seems that the "u" is a common ending in all Romanian words. Does that one letter have a meaning?
41 votes
4 answers
3k views

Is there really a difference between agglutinative and non-agglutinative languages when spoken?

What's the difference between agglutinative and non-agglutinative languages when spoken? According to my understanding, agglutinative languages typically join prefixes and suffixes extensively. For ...
-6 votes
1 answer
385 views

Why was the letter K removed from the Welsh alphabet?

Honestly, why did they remove letter K from the alphabet?
2 votes
1 answer
415 views

How did Chomsky conceive orthography and spelling?

I am curious to whether Chomsky has ever addressed anything about orthography, spelling or the impact of writing systems. The way I see it, orthography lies outside of Grammar in his theory. I couldn'...
11 votes
2 answers
601 views

How can I distinguish modern Scandinavian languages at a glance?

I don't know Danish, Nynorsk, or Bokmål, but will sometimes, on coming across a writing sample of one of them, wish to know which it is. How do I distinguish them in their written forms? (I'd include ...
4 votes
1 answer
140 views

Ways of classifying writing systems by appearance?

Are there any common groupings of writing systems by grapheme appearance? I'm currently writing about language identification and one specific goal I have as part of the work is to include steps for ...
18 votes
9 answers
8k views

Are there modern languages without standardized spelling? If not, why?

Historically, English did not have standardized spelling; see e.g. this paragraph from the Washington Post: At one point, English speakers lived in a world without standardized spelling. According to ...
14 votes
5 answers
4k views

Are there languages where a change of character casing can lead to a different meaning of a word?

I'm no expert on linguistics. In fact I'm no even a proper amateur but please, bear with me on this: Are there any languages where a word would change its meaning depending on the casing of one or ...
0 votes
2 answers
211 views

With the use of diacritics, is the Arabic abjad a shallow orthography?

The Arabic script is an abjad. Without diacritics, short vowels are inferred and so pronunciation may be different to what is expected. But if diacritics are used, they signify exactly how each word ...
1 vote
2 answers
180 views

Does English have any words that are only unambiguous when spoken?

In Latin there are many words that are ambiguous when written, but unambiguous when spoken. For example, palus with a long A and short U means a stake. But palus with a short A and long U means a ...
1 vote
1 answer
147 views

How is Urkesh spelled in cuneiform?

I can only find two cuneiform inscriptions mentioning "Urkesh", here. It seems to be spelled differently in the two tablets. Is it 𒌨𒄊? Is the second grapheme of "Urkesh" in ...
2 votes
4 answers
4k 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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