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
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2answers
275 views

Intrusive misspelling - does it have any origin?

I've seen many cases when people who speak different languages make a common mistake spelling words. They add an extra sound (usually, a consonant) while there is no historic or linguistic evidence ...
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5answers
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Are Written and Spoken English distinct languages?

First of all, I am not a linguist, but I was thinking the other night that being literate was almost the same as being bilingual. My reasoning is that sign language is distinct from written and ...
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1answer
124 views

Is there a term for reading a homonym that means one thing but interpreting it as another?

For example, a friend of mine posted a picture of a book series on Facebook and the start of his caption was "Read all 13!" I initially interpretted this as an imperative sentence ([ɹid] all 13), but ...
2
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1answer
686 views

Rules of Yale Romanization of Korean

This is kind of a specific question, though it appears there is no StackExchange forum for the Korean language... What are the specific rules in Yale Romanization of Korean with regard to where to ...
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23answers
17k 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?
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8answers
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Which language was regularly written in the most alphabets?

There are a number of languages which have historically been written in more than one alphabet (Hindi/Urdu, Serbo-Croatian, Uzbek and so on). I am wondering which single language has been regularly ...
4
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1answer
330 views

For natural languages, are there writing systems that consist entirely of signs for phonemes on one hand and grammatical morphemes on the other?

At omniglot.com, we find scripts whose characters more-or-less stand for consonant phonemes, or all phonemes, or syllables, or words. But I've never heard of a language whose written form consists ...
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2answers
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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?
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3answers
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Same sounds spelled more than one way

Why are there multiple ways for expressing the same sound? In English, for example, you can say "axe" or "aks," or when "c" sounds like "s" like in "face." This phenomenon exists in many different ...
4
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2answers
823 views

How can I distinguish Dutch from Flemish from Afrikaans at a glance?

I don't know Dutch, Flemish, or Afrikaans, 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?
8
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1answer
338 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 ...
9
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2answers
614 views

What is this phenomenon called, and is it the only occurrence?

Usually it's fairly easy to know the spelling of words in Italian, given the very close relation between that and pronunciation. But that's not always true. The word musulmano in Italian (which means ...
6
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2answers
338 views

How are line breaks handled in ideographic scripts?

I'm particularly thinking of a situation where multiple characters form a compound. Can such compounds be broken up over two lines? Examples I can think of as potentially problematic are multi-...
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4answers
2k 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
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1answer
414 views

Can you measure the rate of drift?

Is there a measure for the rate of language drift? In one answer to this question, it was suggested that drift had slowed for technological reasons, but may also be speeding up because of different ...
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5answers
680 views

Is there any point in the current ordering of the letters in the alphabet?

I know we inherit our alphabets (including its ordering) from the Romans, and if we trace it further we will end up with the Phoenicians or some other civilizations in the ancient Middle East. Do (or ...
12
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2answers
616 views

Is there an active alphabetic writing system not based on the Phoenician or the Brahmic lineage?

The vast majority of alphabetic writing systems are part of the Phoenician lineage (e.g. Latin, Cyrillic and friends) or Brahmic (Devanagari and friends). Is there an active alphabetic system outside ...
6
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1answer
294 views

Are there different terms for when a language has two ways to spell a sound vs. two ways to pronounce a spelling?

In languages that don't have a perfect 1:1 mapping between sounds and letters in their written form there are two possibilities. In English "bow" and "bough" are two spellings with a single ...
6
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1answer
346 views

How could the Sumerian cuneiform impose constraints on some languages?

It is said that the adoption of Sumerian cuneiform by Akkadian and other languages in the Middle East imposed constraints on those languages (due to the limited number of sounds represented in ...
15
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1answer
815 views

Does capitalization of nouns aid reading comprehension?

German is the only widely used language prescribing capitalization of nouns in the written language. I speak English and German fluently myself, but I can read German texts significantly faster than ...
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2answers
2k views

How do we perceive and read words and sentences? Does the order of the inner letters play no significant role?

Try to read this texts, start with the most difficult one, if you cant read, skip to the next easier one: all letters mixed I onlucd't ieebvel ttah I udloc talyulac rsddetanun hwat I swa radgeni....
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2answers
6k views

How did Italian manage to stay (mostly) phonetically spelled despite its long written tradition?

Italian is commonly cited as an example of a phonetically spelled language. It is easy to guess how an Italian word is pronounced based on the way it is written, because each written symbol highly ...
15
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3answers
2k views

What's the term for correspondence between the written and the spoken form of a language?

Not all languages have the same degree of correspondence between the spoken and the written form. Saying correspondence, I'm referring to the equivalence between what we write in a certain language ...
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5answers
11k views

In Turkish, how exactly does “ğ” affect the vowel it follows?

In Standard Turkish, "ğ" is explained as having no sound of its own but instead lengthens the previous vowel. So would "aa" and "ağ" sound alike? What about "â" and "ağa"? Can there sometimes be ...
14
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2answers
504 views

Do all non-syllabic, non-logographic scripts have pronounceable names for their letters for spelling?

If you ask an English speaker to spell a word, there are specific, widely-known names for all the letters to fill this need. The same appears to be true for all Phoenician-derived alphabets that I can ...

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