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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3
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0answers
239 views

Does an abugida without inherent vowels qualify as an alphabet or an alphasyllabary?

Alphabets and alphasyllabaries seem functionally equivalent, but I am confused about the terminology. The coining of "abugida" including inherent vowels as part of the definition, but some ...
4
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1answer
183 views

When transliterating into the Latin alphabet, what does an apostrophe mean? [closed]

As an example, the Hebrew word for if can be written in the English alphabet as ’im. What does the apostrophe represent here?
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2answers
316 views

Historical development of English pronunciation(s) of “hygiene”

I have a two-part question about the pronunciation of hygiene in English. The usual pronunciation, as shown by a variety of online dictionaries accessible from OneLook Dictionary Search, is /...
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92 views

History of Danish “nd” and “ld”

Danish orthography often has "nd" and "ld" instead of "nn" and "ll", often in cases where it is not etymologically justified. Does anybody know more about this, like when this kind of spelling started ...
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1answer
20k views

What are “hard” and “soft” consonants?

Many writing systems make a distinction between "hard" and "soft" phonemes represented by the same grapheme or an accented version thereof. What writing systems make this distinction and what are the ...
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1answer
259 views

Does capitalizing nouns improve readability?

In German, one capitalizes the nouns in a sentence. In the video Life in Germany - Ep. 42: English vs. German, an American claims that capitalizing the nouns makes it easier to understand a sentence. ...
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3answers
584 views

Why does German require extra commas that may be considered useless by speakers of other languages?

Let us consider the following English sentence: I set the table if you take out the trash. One doesn't have to set a comma between "table" and "if" – in contrast to the German rules for comma ...
2
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2answers
134 views

Name of rule for whether compounds should be written with a space or not

What is the name of the rule that describes why some words are written together (e.g. "strawberry") and others apart (e.g. "street name")?
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440 views

Thai pronunciation symbols and rules on IPA

Where can I find a set of IPA symbols for Thai language pronunciation and its rules? I know IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) was mainly created to represent the differences in sounds of words ...
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2answers
323 views

Why did the 'ie' survive through the many German orthography reforms?

German orthography is now much simpler than ever and there are now far less redundancies than there ever was. One thing that has drawn my attention lately is the fact that never after an 'ie' in a ...
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Are there any publicly available spell checking corpora?

I need some corpora that contain sentences with misspelled word(s) in order to evaluate the performance of my own spell checking approach. So, the corpora should define the right word alongside the ...
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1answer
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Why do some German words have 'th' instead of 't' in their older spelling?

My guess is that it was used to distinguish aspiration (as opposed to 't' in words of Latin/ Old French origin, which was not aspirated?). I'm pretty sure German lost its dental fricative to d pretty ...
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1answer
410 views

What is the origin of the Icelandic Ð, ð, eth?

Icelandic's other unique letter, the thorn, is obviously Runic (and near the front of the Futhark). Eth was not defined in the "First Grammatical Treatise" of 1140-1180. It seems like both the Runic ...
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1answer
73 views

Looking for a list of English words that are morphologically similar, semantically different? [closed]

I need a list of English words that are morphologically similar, but when it comes to meaning, they should be completely different.
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5answers
567 views

Do any other languages have an equivalent to the hiragana and katakana alphabets?

Hiragana and katakana contain the same sounds (morae I think), but are typically used in different words. In particular, most European loan words use katakana (a few don't), and a large proportion of ...
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2answers
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Where does the spelling <ea> and <ee> in English come from?

I am referring to <ea> as in "meat" and <ee> as in "meet". Apparently, <ea> comes from Middle English [ɛ] and <ee> comes from Middle English [e], which come from Old English ...
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1answer
177 views

Does this name's pronunciation match the spelling? [closed]

I want to use a unique name as my personal, yet it's spelling is very unclear to me. The pronunciation is "E m ai l" As in- E-end, M-me, AI-lie, L-live. Emphasized as word "agile". Is it correct to ...
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4answers
287 views

How do languages other than English form lists of words? [closed]

(Apologies if this is off-topic for Linguistics.) I'm trying to properly internationalize a web site. I have a sentence like, "You've earned badges A and B." Because the number of badges can vary, ...
4
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2answers
193 views

Languages with capitalization inside or at the end of certain words

I recently asked myself this seemingly simple question, but could not find any answers on my own. Are there any natural (or constructed) languages that capitalize (depending on their alphabet of ...
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2answers
228 views

Is it rare for a language to contain both heterographs and heteronyms?

English has many heterographs: words that are spelled differently but pronounced the same. Examples include there/their/they're, hear/here, red/read, led/lead, etc. English also has heteronyms: words ...
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0answers
108 views

How did 'arithmetic' come to current pronunciation (or spelling)?

I am talking about 'th' that represents /θ/ sound. Wiktionary states, that the word 'arithmetic' is borrowed at some stage from French 'arsmetike'. I can imagine that at some moment the word came to ...
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2answers
115 views

Are these spellings the same? [closed]

I have virtually zero knowledge on arabic. Different sites have the following sequence of letters of verse 2:201 Quran.com Quranx.com Tanzil.net Are these highlighted words same or different ?
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1answer
355 views

Order of components within measurement units in RTL languages

This question is about measurement units in languages written in right-to-left (RTL) scripts such as Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu, Malay, Farsi, etc. and their country-specific variants (for example, Arabic ...
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3answers
443 views

Is this letter ق pronounced almost same in Arabic and Persian?

In Persian langauge there are two letters which have same pronounciation when spelled with vowels, they are غ andق, in Arabic there is aslo a 'ق', i want to know do the two 'ق' have the same or ...
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1answer
525 views

How did the letter “v” come to represent the voiced labio dental fricative?

When I learned Latin we were taught classical pronunciation. When it came to the letter "v" we were taught to pronounce it as /w/. It was also explained that many people (my parents, for example) had ...
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2answers
136 views

Any script or character set that has upper vs. lower distinction on characters other than letters?

Scripts or character sets that have lower and upper case versions on letters are called bicameral (Roman, Greek and Cyrillic) and other scripts where there is no such casing are called unicameral. ...
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2answers
508 views

Where did the “ch” (tsh) shound come from in Old French

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Latin letter "c" was adopted in Gaul to represent both the Latin sound "k" and the Gallic dialectical sound "tsh", but later "ch" was used to represent "...
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1answer
203 views

To which extent are people’s perceptions of their own pronunciation influenced by the language’s orthography?

In my experience, literate native speakers of a language tend to assume that the language’s orthography is significantly more phonetic than it actually is or, with other words, tend to think that ...
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1answer
71 views

Where to find old article on frequency of letters, pairs of letters, triplets and quadruplets in 4 or 5 languages?

It was probably in the 1980s (not sure) and probably in Scientific American (not sure) that I read an article reporting on research that had analyzed the frequency of letters, pairs of letters and ...
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3answers
474 views

Mapping graphemes to phonemes in CMUDict

I'm trying to make a fun little "Halloweenify" feature where a user types in his or her name and gets a scary version. (Julie becomes "Ghoulie", Robert becomes "Macabert"). I have a huge list of ...
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2answers
819 views

Irregular penultimate stress in English words from classical sources

Wikipedia says about stress in Latinate English words: In words of three or more syllables, stress falls either on the penult or the antepenult (third from the end), according to these criteria: If ...
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3answers
612 views

If two phonemes are merged in pronunciation across a morpheme boundary, are the corresponding letters a digraph?

I want a third, preferrably referenced opinion on a terminological dispute here. The problem is the following (though I am avoiding the actual example to avoid unnecessary complication): In German ...
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2answers
421 views

How are English spellings determined for words from eastern languages

How are English spellings determined for words from languages with logographic writing systems. Since these don't have an alphabetic script the words in the original language don't have a "spelling." ...
4
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2answers
256 views

Calculating writing system efficiency with respect to reading ambiguity?

I have been thinking of developing a software tool that would make it possible to calculate the efficiency of a particular writing system (attested rather than hypothetical) for a particular language (...
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3answers
231 views

What are good linguistic arguments for keeping heterographic homophones?

While having a discussion with a friend who oft malapropriates their/there/they're, and to/too/two, he maintains the position that he has a: "disbelief that the current system is the best one" He ...
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4answers
570 views

Recognize this script? [closed]

I've wondered about this script since I saw it years ago. I imagine it's an English cipher. Can anyone tell me?
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0answers
218 views

Early Modern English spelling variations dictionary

I am building a web application that allows users to transcribe, word by word, Early Modern English manuscripts. I want to tell users when a word they transcribed may be a new spelling variant of ...
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3answers
1k views

Does changing the writing system for a language change the language?

Some languages change what writing system they use. For example, Old English used to use Anglo-Saxon runes but eventually used the Latin alphabet, and Mongolian in Mongolia uses the Mongolian Cyrillic ...
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3answers
304 views

Are there any words that have merged in pronunciation and spelling and then separated again?

Are there any words that started off different, merged in pronunciation and spelling at some point and then separated again? E.g. Two hypothetical words in Old English OX and OY are neither ...
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1answer
334 views

Where do the spelling rules for French imperatives come from?

French verbs are, for historical reasons, typically grouped into three classes. The loss of final consonants in French has resulted in a serious divergence, wherein the verb conjugation system of the ...
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1answer
95 views

Can a word have zero characters in it? [closed]

Is it possible for a word, especially a person's name, to have zero characters in it? No letters, no numbers, no punctuation, just totally empty? I'm aware of some people not having a surname, or not ...
4
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1answer
170 views

“h” in French words of Germanic / onomatopoeic origin

As I understand it, the [h]-sound in Latin words (habere, prehendere, etc.) was lost before French became a distinct language. But French also has many words of Germanic or onomatopoeic origin that ...
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2answers
832 views

Why is “och” (and) not spelled “og” in Swedish?

For example, here is the word for "I" in the Old Norse dialects. Old East Norse = Jak Old West Norse = Ek These words became, with a natural evolution, the following: Icelandic = Ég Faroese = Eg ...
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2answers
253 views

On use and mention in “His name is Joseph but you can call him Joe”

In a sentence like His name is Joseph, but you can call him Joe the names Joseph and Joe are not used 'referentially' (to name a certain male individual) but just 'mentioned', i.e., they are used '...
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4answers
334 views

What is the orthography for each of these Khmer vowels?

I'm in Cambodia and trying to learn what I can of the Khmer language without a teacher. I've noticed some inconsistencies in the Wikipedia articles as I try to get better at both the writing system ...
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3answers
136 views

pronouns with uppercase and lowercase variants

In Russian, there are two forms of the formal 2nd person singular pronoun: lowercase вы (vy) and uppercase Вы (Vy). If I understand correctly, the latter is used in situations where the speaker and ...
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7answers
233 views

Any world languages having multiple-letter-based or single-ideogram-based syllables where three or more consecutive syllables of any word repeat?

My question is related to this interesting question, but instead of looking for letters within words which happen to appear repeated three or more times in a row, I'm looking for consecutive identical ...
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2answers
3k 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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3answers
413 views

What is the longest sequence of vowels in one word that you know of? [closed]

What are the longest sequence of vowels in a natural language that you know of? Be aware that this is an orthographic question, not a phonetical. Please state word, language and translation.
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1answer
155 views

What are the different ways used to ortographically show the length of vowels?

Norwegian is using vowel length contrastively. This is normally shown in ortography by double consonant after the vowel. tak(tɑːk) vs. takk(tɑk). What other ways are used to ortographically show ...