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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14
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19answers
7k 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?
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0answers
126 views

Can Malay or Indonesian ever have an /n/ followed by a /g/?

Malay and Indonesian are considered to be very phonetically spelled with the usually cited exception being that orthographic "e" can represent either /e/ or /ə/. In both orthographies the sound /ŋ/ ...
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2answers
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Spelling of laryngeals in Proto-Indo-European

Who introduced the notation e̯ a̯ o̯ (vowels with inverted breve below) for Proto-Indo-European laryngeals and when? Proto-Indo-European has been reconstructed with so-called "laryngeal" consonants, ...
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1answer
203 views

Size of phonemic inventory of individual speakers across different accents and dialects of English

This started out as a trivially simple question: How many phonemes are there in the different dialects and accents of English? I just needed a simple reference for a point about the teaching of ...
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3answers
574 views

Are the rules for comma placements universal?

When i write, i put a comma according to my gut feeling. therefore i left a lot of marks on my way to the end of the sentence that sum up to a bubble of insecurity. Anyway, i am not even sure it comma ...
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2answers
380 views

Which other languages pronounce <j> as [dʒ]

On a related question, the OP points out that the grapheme j has a variety of pronunciations throughout various languages: as [ʒ] in French, [j] in German, and [x] in Spanish. Does any other language ...
4
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3answers
355 views

Are capital and lowercase letters considered allographs?

I got into a debate the other day with somebody over whether the capitalized and decapitalized forms of certain written words (say, Polish and polish, or China and china) could be considered ...
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2answers
14k views

dear, ear, fear, gear, hear, near … why are bear/pear pronounced differently?

In class last week we were looking at pronunciation ... and something caught me out. Why are some words spelt very similar to multiple others, yet pronounced so differently? Is it because of their ...
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6answers
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Are there writing systems with more than upper case and lower case?

The English alphabet has two "cases", UPPER CASE and lower case. Japanese hiragana has one case. Are there any writing systems, with, say, 3, 4 or more cases?
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2answers
324 views

Does any language using the Latin alphabet have a unique name for “w”?

In English, we call w "double-u", referring to the original representation of [w], which looked like uu, or two us. Then, in French, they pronounce it "double-veh", presumably because the modern form ...
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2answers
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How is it that such varied sounds (in major European Languages) came to be represented by the same letter “j”?

The letter "j" is pronounced differently in the following major European languages: English:  just  /d͡ʒʌst/ Spanish: justo /ˈxus.to/ German: junge /ˈjʊŋə/ French:  juste  /ʒyst/ How is ...
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1answer
209 views

Lao orthography: ວ as part of consonant cluster or part of diphtong and placement of tone marks

Lao is a little underdocumented compared to other languages, both in terms of actual linguistics and in terms of prescriptive norms. There is a semivowel letter, ວ, which has a few roles: Consonant /...
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1answer
127 views

Have the spelling systems of lingua francas historically been less phonetic than those of native languages?

Lingua francas exist because they allow people with different native languages to communicate, with an emphasis on flexibility to the detriment of rigor. Were a lingua franca's spelling made strictly ...
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1answer
597 views

In alphabetic languages written right-to-left, are the characters within a word written in the same direction?

In alphabetic languages (broadly speaking - anything other than a logographic script) which are written right-to-left, are the characters within a word written in the same direction as the words, or ...
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5answers
434 views

Can the Anglo-Saxon words 'sind, sinder, sindon' have origins from older languages?

Examples I have found are: Sindh from India; zindiq(a heretic) from Arabic; and zeen + deen or zin+din (compare to sindon) which is from Hebrew meaning 'leaped the law'; and Sin/Shin is the 21st ...
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0answers
177 views

Punctuation and spaces in other common languages?

For example, in Chinese, a full stop is 。 (U+3002) and a space is   (U+3000). I need to break paragraphs into sentences and I want to make it compatible with as many languages as possible. What other ...
2
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1answer
181 views

Spelling Correction on Romanized Devanagari texts

Has anything been done in this regard? I am looking for research that has been conducted for spell checking of Romanized Devanagari text. I suppose well researched English spell checking algorithms ...
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0answers
748 views

How do homonyms impact English Language Learners' comprehension?

I understand that homonyms are words that sound alike but have different meanings. They may or may not be spelled the same. For example, the word 'fair' is spelled and pronounced the same for three ...
2
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1answer
221 views

What was the most usual and most recent system of writing Korean without any hangul at all?

It's proving quite difficult to learn some of the facts about written Korean before hangul was given official status by the government. We know that metal movable type printing was inventing in Korea ...
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0answers
163 views

Common misspellings: Loosing losing [closed]

Anecdotally, it seems like one of the more common misspellings on the net (besides then/than, your/you're, etc.), particularly in documents where everything else is spelled correctly, is to use "...
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3answers
342 views

strange Latin spelling : karissime

I read in Ovid, Metamorphoses, 1.486 (in a recent French edition) : "Da mihi perpetua, genitor karissime" (O dearest father, allow me to enjoy perpetual maidenhood !) "karissime" isn't an error : ...
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4answers
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What languages use the serial comma?

There's a well-known split in English between those who use the so-called serial or Oxford comma, a comma before the last item in a list like Able, Baker, and Charlie, and those who don't. That leads ...
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2answers
419 views

Is there any etymological motivation for “I-slam”, “I-srael”, “Mu-slim” and “I-smael”?

Background Looking at old German orthographies, the long-s (ſ) spelling of the following five words (and I have not found any others so far) contradicts the spelling systematics of all other words: ...
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4answers
2k views

Are Hebrew numeric ranges written right-to-left or left-to-right?

There seems to be a difference between Hebrew and Arabic, for example. Here's a test you can do in Notepad: Switch the text direction to right-to-left (it's one of the context menu options) Paste (...
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2answers
303 views

To what extent is a language's morphology tied to orthography, and why do we not consider orthography when doing morphological analysis?

Linguistics classes seem to be mostly concerned with analyzing language in its spoken form. Written language is seen as almost "parasitic" to spoken language. A language's orthography generally gives ...
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3answers
374 views

Are Mongolian “хан” and “хаан” the same word despite the usually important difference in vowel length?

I've just noticed that if you look in several English and Mongolian dictionaries that the Cyrillic Mongolian word "khan" is given as either "хан" with a short vowel, or "хаан" with a long vowel. (So ...
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4answers
6k views

Is there a long list of languages whose writing systems don't use spaces?

Some languages like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Khmer use writing systems that don't use spaces. What are other such languages? Is there a list of these languages?
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2answers
824 views

The double ⟨l⟩ in Spanish

In Spanish, some words start with the double consonant graphemes ⟨ll⟩ - that have indeed the value of /ʎ/. Is there any language that have a similar pattern (starting with double consonants)? What is ...
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3answers
524 views

Ideally phonemic writing systems? [duplicate]

I am looking for languages with writing systems that are almost completely ideally phonemic (i.e. no silent letters and an unambiguous one-to-one correspondence between the letters and the phonemes). ...
2
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1answer
332 views

What's the difference between the Lao vowel letters “ໄ” and “ໃ”?

Lao is said to now be a language with phonetic spelling since the reform/standardization of the 1970s. During this process some consonants were made obsolete (they're still not in Unicode) because ...
4
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1answer
308 views

Seeking details of Lao orthographic reforms

The Lao script was originally used as an abugida (consonants have implied vowels) for the Lao language, just as most of the writing systems related to it. The Lao script is now used as an alphabet ...
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3answers
272 views

Hang Sơn Đoòng — the syllable Đoòng in Vietnamese orthography

There's a cave in Vietnam which has been newly opened to tourism called Hang Sơn Đoòng (English Wikipedia article here). My question is about the syllable in the name of the cave which is represented ...
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2answers
5k views

Why is English spelling so inconsistent?

English spelling is in many respects not phonetic and there is often no one-to-one mapping between spelling and pronunication. E.g. 'a' is /ej/ or /ey/ instead of /a/ as in Albert 'c' is /s/ not /c,...
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1answer
148 views

What is the difference between a relaxed orthography and a na(t)Ïve orthography?

I recently stumbled upon these two concepts relaxed and na(t)ïve orthography, but I don't really known how to used them properly, any advise would be welcomed, thanks.
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1answer
2k views

Why do the sounds [ks] have their own single letter 'X' in European languages?

It seems that the original intent of the letter 'X' was to pronounce the phoneme [k^h] in Classical Greek but evolved over time to be [ks]. My question is: How come there are so many European ...
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0answers
38 views

Recent material (papers, books, etc) about Developmental Orthography

I have made a quick search on the internet about Developmental Orthography, but the papers and research projects I found are not very recent, some almost 20 years old. Apart from that almost all of ...
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1answer
366 views

Mostly Arabic text with some English

I was asked to help proofread an Arabic language (right-to-left) flyer with some English (left-to-right) text: Right now it reads: بطاقة المساعدة الغذائية مقبولة من Local Farm Market اسواق المزارعين ...
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3answers
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diphthong vs. digraph (English)

I want to check my understanding of these 2 terms: diphthong (concerned with sound; 1 sound; represented 2 letters; not long or short) digraph (concerned with graphemes; 2 letters; can be long or ...
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3answers
734 views

What prevents people from pronouncing 'nowhere' as 'now + here' instead of 'no + where'?

I'm an English student (English is not my native language) and I once encountered this word nowhere, but I first recognized it in that moment as now + here and I literally pronounced it so. Maybe my ...
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3answers
640 views

Should emoticons be considered punctuation?

Folowing 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 punctuation, rather than ...
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3answers
366 views

Do central language regulation bodies accelerate or inhibit orthography changes?

In some discussions about the latest reform of the German orthography, it was claimed that a central language regulation body prevents people from writing as they like and thus prevents “natural” ...
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3answers
774 views

How are line breaks handled in bidirectional messages containing both English and Hebrew?

I have some Hebrew (right-to-left) text within an English (left-to-right) text as such: The Hebrew text (right-to-left) by itself looks like this: When the paper does not have enough width, the ...
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1answer
963 views

State-of-the-art spelling correction algorithms

According to Wikipedia The most successful algorithm to date is Andrew Golding and Dan Roth's "Winnow-based spelling correction algorithm", published in 1999, which is able to recognize about 96% ...
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2answers
3k views

Are there sentence boundary disambiguation algorithms which can handle punctuation errors with decent accuracy?

Most algorithms for splitting text into sentences which I've found rely on punctuation being correct. However, in many real world applications, there will be substantial numbers of punctuation errors (...
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1answer
3k views

Capitalization of month, weekday and season names

Why in English name of months are capitalized but name of seasons do not? Is there any languages that in its orthography seasons names are capitalized? Is it related to the calender type used by its ...
4
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1answer
399 views

Where can orthographic Korean words be split at the end of a line?

Unlike Chinese and Japanese, Korean does employ spaces between words. What constitutes a lexical word differs from what constitutes an orthographic word. For instance, particles which can is some ...
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2answers
8k views

Korean syllable-final ㅅ in Hangul transcription of loanwords

Why are English loanwords ending in /d/ or /t/ systematically transcribed into Hangul syllables ending in ㅅ rather than ㄷ? This seems strange, since when ㅅ is followed by a vowel, the coda is realised ...
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1answer
1k views

Criteria for separating Korean words

The rules for when whitespace is required/permitted in Korean are not obvious, but are not explicitly discussed in any grammars or textbooks I have access to. I can infer this much: Between ...
9
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2answers
749 views

Are “txt-speak” and “emoticons” examples of normal language evolution?

"txt-speak" appeared because of the need to fit a communication into 160 characters. "Emoticons" appeared due to the need to convey an emotional context with your message so that it is read correctly ...
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4answers
14k views

Why don't the French pronounce consonants at the ends of words?

I am curious what could have caused the shift in pronunciation. I presume it must have occurred after the spelling of words was standardized. According to the History of French wikipedia article, this ...