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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79 views

Is there a name for the idea of having grammatical rules for the purpose of easy pronunciation?

For instance, in German you'll have Der Mann singular, Die Männer plural, instead of, say, Die Männen. It seems this is because you don't want to over-expose the speaker to the "n" sound. ...
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How many sibilants did Old Akkadian cuneiform distinguish?

According to fdb's answer to another question: It is believed that Old Akkadian (at least) still retained the Semitic distinction of s₁, s₂ and s₃ and used different signs for syllables containing ...
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56 views

Why does shallow orthographic depth clearly not signify allophonic?

I'm asking merely about the first reason below that I colored in grey. How's "allophonic" "clearly not meant here", in the context of shallow orthographic depth? 9.7 Orthographic ...
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How do you tell a spelling mistake from a grammar mistake?

How do you tell a spelling mistake from a grammar mistake? For example: Your the best. This iz the end. I likes music. She preatend to be asleep. One method is to read the erroneous sentence aloud (...
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What linguistics degree(s) would best equip someone to develop written languages from oral ones?

If one wants to work with people-groups that have an oral language but no written language and develop a written language for those people-groups, what linguistics degree(s) would best equip that ...
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What is the best romanization of ח?

I have seen ח represented as ch, gh, kh, H (capitalized), x, h with diacritics, etc. Personally, I like using x, because it is a single letter and does not require special diacritic markings, etc ... ...
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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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Non-standard English spelling and other things in 18th century writing — how much due to quill pens?

I was just thinking how even in books and newspapers prior to the computer age, like in the 1950s and before, there were a lot of errors that are glaring now but I am sure were accepted then. So I ...
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70 views

How can one fill out the quadrat when a word consists of a single uniliteral?

In Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, glyphs are commonly arranged into quadrats (blocks) to minimize empty space. And I was taught that it's good style not to have a word boundary within a single quadrat....
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What was the original pronounciation of the Thai consonant symbols?

The Thai language 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 sound ...
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What is the percentage of words that are phonemically regular in english?

I know that English has a deep orthography. I am wondering whether someone could tell me what the percentage of English words are governed by regular letter-sound rules? Thank you
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What is the official/correct orthography for Alsatian / Elsässisch German?

As per the Wikipedia article on the Alsatian language (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alsatian_dialect#Orthography) the orthography includes the latin letters A,B,C ... X,Y,Z and the following vowels ...
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Is there any other known use of the Graphemes 'ϑ' & 'δ' outside of Avestan?

I think Avestan is really fascinating, but this confuses me. Old Persian uses 'θ' which I think is a better way to write /θ/.
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In Armenian, which parts of each letter are intrinsic and must be demarcated from joining up strokes in joined-up handwriting?

My question [1] is about handwritten Armenian [2], but to illustrate what I am asking I will first say something about English and Russian, languages which are likely to be known by larger proportions ...
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Are there any languages that don't “fit” on a keyboard?

The standard QWERTY keyboard has keys for all the letters in English, and also numbers, symbols and a few punctuation marks. Other languages, such as French, might have diacritics in their spelling. ...
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Is there a consensus on plene spellings in Anatolian?

"Plene" spellings (with extra vowel glyphs, like ma-a-an instead of ma-an or e-es-zi instead of es-zi) are common in Anatolian cuneiform. Sometimes they disambiguate between signs with ...
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List of major languages that can and cannot have their pronunciation generated programmatically from the spelling [closed]

Which languages can you directly convert the spelling of the word into a "standard" pronunciation? From my understanding so far: Chinese (through pinyin) Hebrew (seem to have a rigid ...
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Is there a standardized graphical encoding for cuneiform?

If I want to describe the Hittite version of the DIŊIR cuneiform glyph, I could say "a double-headed horizontal, crossing a vertical". In other words: This one's fairly straightforward, and ...
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term for gibberish intended to resemble specific language

Is any term identified, among linguists, for an effect by which some speech or text has no meaning, and yet superficially resembles, by following certain patterns, speech or text from a particular ...
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435 views

Why are there spelling inconsistencies in Southern European languages? What is the historical origin of this redundancy?

I noticed that in the Southern European languages, words change spelling to reserve the pronunciation. For example, in Spanish verbs have -ar, -er, and -ir conjugation classes. First person singular ...
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446 views

Was it ever common to pronounce “wife's” as “wives”?

Spelling, in principle, should reflect pronunciation, but I've also read that the opposite can happen, and that the pronunciation of a word already in circulation can be changed by altering/...
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If zh represents a /ʒ/ sound, then could gh represent a /dʒ/ or <j> sound? [closed]

The sound zh represents a voiced sh sound in Pinyin. The sound ch represents an unvoiced j. So, I was thinking that, because g is a voiced c (unless it is before an e or an i, and it should be a k, ...
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Ellipsis of noun phrase head when modifiers have different parts of speech

These sentences occur in the Mozilla UI strings: EN The sentence has a grammatical or spelling error. DE Der Satz beinhaltet einen grammatikalischen oder Rechtschreibfehler. The ...
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Can all scripts be used to write all different languages?

I am thinking about making an introductory book to some different "languages", for self learning. But I realize I'm blending the writing system with the pronunciation system, and am starting to get ...
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Do any languages use distinct graphemes for vowels with different tones?

As far as I know, most writing systems for tonal languages fall into one of four groups: The writing system is not phonetic (e.g. Han logograms) Tone is not generally indicated in writing (e.g. many ...
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Are there formal linguistic understandings of misspelled words?

For example, I will assume that people make mistakes in spelling because, often, the misspelled words look similar enough to the intended words, so the communication can be made smoothly, but I wonder ...
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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 ...
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Looking for references about the orthographic transparency

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 ...
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How do we know that Sumerian determinatives were not pronounced?

I've read the following in Edzard's "Sumerian Grammar" from 2003: Determinatives: these are signs which precede or follow words or names in order to specify them as belonging to semantic groups. ...
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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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How should the Sumerian ergative marker be read?

In Foxvog's Sumerian grammar, he assumes that the ergative marker -e was pronounced as -e, even after the possessives -(a)ni and -bi. For example, he transcribes "her king" in the ergative as lugal-(a)...
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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, ...
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What percentage of words or queries are misspelled in search queries?

What percentage of words or queries are misspelled in search queries? I couldn't find any decently recent study. {3} states: Dalianis measured that 10% of web search engine queries were misspelled ...
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A possible diacritic for a silent و in Persian? [closed]

In modern Persian the و of "خوا" in many words is silent. خواب xāb ‘sleep, asleep; dream; the nap (of a cloth)’ خوابیدن xābidan infinitive: ‘to sleep, lie down’ Examples from the link ...
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Why are the orthographies of Ancient/Proto Languages so Impractical?

For example: In the Romanization of Sumerian, /ŋ/ is written as ⟨g̃⟩ or ⟨ĝ⟩ instead of ⟨ng⟩ or even ⟨ŋ⟩. Also in Sumerian /t͡sʰ/ is written ⟨ř⟩ or ⟨dr⟩. The list goes on with Sumerian. In Proto-Indo-...
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How were glottal stops indicated in Akkadian cuneiform?

According to Huehnergard, Akkadian had a phonemic glottal stop. This makes sense, given the language's heritage. However, he doesn't seem to mention it anywhere in the chapters on orthography, and I ...
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What is the use or quality of the orthography-to-IPA mapping charts?

In relation to How to build a robust transliteration scheme across languages? I am now confused about orthography-to-IPA mappings, such as for Turkish. When you see the orthograph like the letter a ...
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How to build a robust transliteration scheme across languages?

So I am trying to imagine building a transliterator across languages that takes any language and converts it into IPA or some less-detailed equivalent (like a Romanization). I am thinking about ...
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How to convert Old Irish Latin script to Ogham?

If you look on at an online Ogham Translator, it converts words like "crann" to ᚉᚏᚐᚅᚅ, which seems to be a letter-for-letter translation. The only guide I've seen to Old Irish pronunciation is this. ...
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154 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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How consistent are the Egyptian Hieroglyph carvings orthographically?

We design the snake to look like this, and the bird to look like that, and the human figure to look like this other. Does it have to be exactly like that, or can we have some freedom when designing a ...
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How can we trace the source of orthographic inconsistency?

It is known that orthography has both positive and negative effects on second language acquisition. However, I can't really figure out when the effect is due to the L1, the L2 or both. For example, ...
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What is a “Phonetic Language”?

Once I've spoke with a friend of mine and I've asked him why in the french language there are so many discrepancies (or incongruities, inconformities...) between the written and the spoken words and ...
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How are cuneiform glyphs numbered?

In Sumerian (and thus Akkadian, Hittite, etc) cuneiform, there are often several glyphs which have the same pronunciation (as far as we can tell). So the glyphs pronounced /u/ will be transliterated ...
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Is there good evidence for five vowel phonemes in Hittite?

The Hittite writing system generally distinguishes three, sometimes four vowels: /a i u/ and sometimes /e/. However, I've seen it suggested that the language actually had five vowel phonemes, ...
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Why is almost every word misspelled? [closed]

Why is almost every word misspelled? Considering, the fact that a sound should be represented by a single symbol or letter. So, I do not get confused spelling and its easy for a person to become ...
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“Romanticism” in different languages

I noticed that "Romanticism" in French is "romantisme," contrary to my guess of "romanticisme." I was curious how other the word was spelled in other European languages. Similar to English ("icism") ...
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How do you break words across lines in Arabic?

I have been searching for this for a few hours today and haven't found anything but this really, well maybe this is as close as it gets. Just found this, too, which is nice. I've asked this on the ...
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Were long vowels distinguished in cuneiform?

Hittite cuneiform occasionally shows "plene" spellings, with extra vowel signs that might indicate vowel length, or show the height of back vowels, or distinguish homophones (like the French grave ...
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How is French written in telegraphy and other settings in which diacritics are not possible?

The French alphabet has 5 diacritics and 2 orthographic ligatures, to make 16 extra letters. In Latin scripts, letters with diacritics like ä, å or à, ñ, ö, and ü can be transcribed as ae, aa, gn, oe, ...

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