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Questions tagged [writing-systems]

A writing system is a system to record spoken language visible on a permanent medium.

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How does the writing system 12480 work? [migrated]

I've been trying to come up with a language for a science fiction book, and I came across 12480, which I think would make a good base for the language. The only problem is, I'd like a general idea of ...
Anonymous's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
4k views

Was cuneiform ever drawn on a surface, as opposed to carved?

Cuneiform's glyphs are well-known for the odd way they were made; stamping. I wonder though, given that it remained in used for thousands of years, was this the only way it was ever utilized? Was ...
user avatar
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 ...
user avatar
25 votes
1 answer
7k views

Why do many Arabic letters look exactly like other letters except for dots, yet have no similarity in sound?

Why do many Arabic letters look exactly like other letters except for dots, yet have no similarity in sound? Examples:
BlueWhale's user avatar
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-4 votes
1 answer
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Origins of the alphabets for Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic languages

I am working on a program to learn some of the most popular non-Western languages: first, Arabic and Hebrew, second, Bengali and Hindu whose scripts are based on Sanskrit, and third, Chinese, Japanese,...
Oumar Raky's user avatar
-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 ...
Arunabh's user avatar
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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 ...
awe lotta's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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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 ...
gboffi's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
937 views

Why is Devanagari currently used for Sanskrit?

Sanskrit was originally an oral language. It began to be written in the Brahmi script and then over time, most of the Brahmi-derived scripts, Gupta, Siddham, Nagari, Devanagari, Purvi Nagari etc. were ...
Ishan Kashyap Hazarika's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
115 views

Is the origin of the Mongolian script fully established?

I have read various theories about the origins of the Mongolian script, which I believe is known as the Hudum Mongol Bichig. Some claim it is ultimately descended from Sogdian runes(which means its ...
Mr X's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
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What IPA Symbols Are Equivalent to Each of These Middle High German Diacritics?

I recently came across this article on the inclusion of certain superscript combining characters for use with representing Middle High German in Unicode. From what I understand, scribes and early ...
Avana Vana's user avatar
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 ...
nearsighted's user avatar
19 votes
5 answers
4k views

Why were vowels secondary citizens in many of the worlds sound-based writing systems?

Not considering logographic systems like Chinese, and outside Cuneiform (not sure if that is a logo system or something else), it appears at first glance that many of the world's writing systems ...
Lance's user avatar
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16 votes
6 answers
2k views

Should orthographies represent phonemes or phones?

I am currently working with Salvadoran Nawat, an endangered language that has never had a standardized orthography due to being primarily oral. As part of the revitalization process, we need to ...
Sigfredo Olmedo's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
129 views

Isn't it misleading to call written representations of spoken languages as written languages?

In the following sentences I would refer to anything that can be used to denote something as a symbol. Any language uses some kind of symbol to denote different things. I presume that any language ...
Harshit Rajput's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
186 views

Is 'x' the written form for the speech sound ɛks in this sentence?

Consider the following spoken sentence written in phonetic transcription: lɛt ɛks dɪˈnəʊt ən ˈɛlɪmənt ɒv ðə sɛt ------------1 (I don't know how to do phonetic transcriptions, I used a website for ...
Harshit Rajput's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
113 views

Numbers in Arabic Netspeak

I came across this list of numbers to represent sounds in Arabic netspeak: 2 is A 3 is a heavy (so heavy) A, sure you can't even pronounce it but you could replace with a regular A, no one would care ...
Mou某's user avatar
  • 409
1 vote
2 answers
275 views

Are there heuristics to tell if a character is from Chinese, Kanji, or Chu Nom?

Suppose I know nothing about Chinese writing systems but some basic strokes and radicals. When given a blocky-looking character, how do I tell if it's a character only used in Kanji, in Chữ Nôm, or in ...
tslmy's user avatar
  • 113
3 votes
0 answers
97 views

Are there any scripts derived from Chinese characters that diverged before Regular Script?

The Wikipedia article on clerical script lists several child systems such as Kanji, Kana, Hanja, Zhuyin, Sawndip, Chữ Hán etc. Are there any writing systems descended from seal script or earlier?
awe lotta's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
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Historically, when was whitespace used versus interpuncts versus no-separation?

The Wikipedia article on whitespace claimed until recently that the use of whitespace as a word separator was rare until its promotion by Alcuin of York in the Carolingian Renaissance. But I've found ...
wlad's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
111 views

What are the principles of Middle Egyptian spelling?

In this question, the transliteration jdnw is given as the Middle Egyptian for the equivalent of "lieutenant". If I now want to render that in hieroglyphs, how would that work? I could ...
Oliver Mason's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
238 views

Questions about the "Hand of Irulegi"

The Hand of Irulegi is a recently found artifact from Navarra, Spain. It is dated in 1st c. BCE and carries an inscription touted as the oldest attestation of the Basque language. The text can be ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
-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?
Akshat Goswami's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
3k views

If the letter V occurs in a few native words, why isn't it included in the Irish Alphabet?

So, I read about the Irish alphabet once, and there was a phrase saying that "V" occurs in a few native words like "vácarnach" which means to quack in English. Shouldn't the letter ...
Akshat Goswami's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
241 views

Is there really any difference between the words Pictography, Ideography, Symbols and Picture-symbols?

I am currently absorbed in Megg's history for Graphic design and I came across certain terms that seem to have incredibly ambiguous meaning (Pictography, Ideography, Symbols & Signs) and one that ...
Inquisitivelycursed's user avatar
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 ...
Callum Booth's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why few languages do not have any written form?

There are many languages available in the world which have no written form like shanghainese , Hakka etc . My question is, why a language do not have any written form ? What's the root cause of it ?
Omar's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
117 views

What is the difference between written dialects, spoken dialects, and writing/encoding schemes?

I am working on a language website and am just encountering the need to specify spoken dialects. I already have a sort of scheme for representing written encodings (like Tibetan wiley romanization ...
Lance's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
83 views

Any online resources on dongba language and hieroglyph?

I visited Yunnan last year and found the fascinating dongba hieroglyph of naxi people and their great epic poetry. I am curious about any online resources on this dongba hieroglyph? I, personally, ...
Mountain's user avatar
  • 113
8 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why does “&” look nothing like e and t

“&” (ampersand) was from a ligature of e and t. but it looks nothing like e and t put together. Why?
Keon N's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
84 views

Do we know enough to become fluent in written Mayan?

There are about 7000 languages but only three origins of writing: The Middle East, China, and Mesoamerica. The most studied writing system in Mesoamerica is Mayan script. It was once the official ...
Kevin Kostlan's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
68 views

Do these letters belong to Kannada?

I am native Kannada speaker. But I've never came across these vowels: ಌ (U+0C8C) ೡ (U+0CE1) ೢ (U+0CE2) ೣ (U+0CE3) and these yogavahs: ೱ (U+0CF1) ೲ (U+0CF2) Unlike ಱ, ೞ I've never saw/heard above ...
Sourav Kannantha B's user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why was "zh" picked to represent /ʒ/, and where does it come from?

As a native French speakers I used to be puzzled by Zh being used for /ʒ/. At first because I didn't understand the need for it, since in French j is /ʒ/, and dj is /dʒ/. Then I understood why English ...
Teleporting Goat's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
641 views

What does the letter do ৡ in Bangla?

There are 14 অ বর্গীয় (O borgiyo) letters in Bengali. But couldn't find out in book what they are. I know that there are 11 vowel letters in Bengali. But while looking for অ বর্গীয়, I just found that ...
Anonymous's user avatar
0 votes
4 answers
308 views

How is "mim(م)" letter connected to "dal(د)"?

Whenever I go to mosque, there is always the following image near "ﷲ" name. However, I don't understand how "mim" letter is there. I know "mim" letter as "م". ...
Soner from The Ottoman Empire's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do Sumerian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs differ?

The Wikipedia article on the History of Writing contains the following quote: the earliest solid evidence of Egyptian writing differs in structure and style from the Mesopotamian and must therefore ...
user51462's user avatar
  • 141
1 vote
1 answer
238 views

Why does text in Cyrillic or Japanese contain Latin characters for technical/scientific terms?

Through a question on a sister site, I stumbled upon a Bulgarian document that includes drawings and measurements. What stroke me is that the text in Cyrillic contains Latin characters when it comes ...
WoJ's user avatar
  • 179
10 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is there a collective term for the Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek alphabets?

I was just wondering if such a term exists, since they are very similar to each other, and all of them derive from the Greek alphabet, so I thought perhaps there might be a collective term for the ...
Quintus Caesius - RM's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
488 views

Books on historical writing systems

Can you recommend books on the writing systems that are not widely used today (e.g. the Germanic runes, the Old Turkic script)?
Jim's user avatar
  • 39
0 votes
1 answer
101 views

Is を as almost exclusively an object marker exceptional amongst alphabet usage?

The almost exclusive usage of を in Japanese to mark the object of a sentence- is that the only specialized use of a letter or are there other languages where one letter is designated as being for a ...
user2617804's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
760 views

Why are Urdu and Shahmukhi perceived as separate scripts?

It is known that the Urdu script is used to write Hindustani languages and Shahmukhi is used to write Punjabi and Saraiki languages. But both the Perso-Arabic-based scripts are of the same Nastaliq ...
Gōkúl NC's user avatar
17 votes
11 answers
3k views

Writing systems that do not preserve spoken order

Are there writing systems where there are cases of written form of words not preserving the order of speech, i.e. text(A) precedes text(B) in the written form, but speech(B) precedes speech(A)? Only ...
Ryan Li's user avatar
  • 271
0 votes
1 answer
163 views

Boustrophedon-like writing system with single character orientation

Did a writing system ever develop that had a bi-directional writing style, alternating every line, with character orientation and order being preserved between lines? (Essentially Boustrophedon, ...
TomDot Com's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
187 views

Probability based algorithm to convert IPA into english language text

For a student job i'm creating a neural network-based method of determining the probability that two written names are referring to the same person (e.g. what is the probability that kelly m. refers ...
JadaLovelace's user avatar
18 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why were writing systems invented independently during roughly the same period across multiple civilizations?

Homo sapiens have been around for 200,000 years, and spoken language is believed to have been around for 50,000 to 150,000 years. Writing is a relatively new phenomenon. According to this source, ...
J Li's user avatar
  • 587
0 votes
1 answer
69 views

Why are meaning, sound, and writing "part of the outside world, not part of language"?

The linked question explains why writing isn't language, but the embolded sentence is alleging something different, that writing isn't even "part of language". Why? Linguistics usually ...
user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
579 views

Why's writing not language?

Writing is not language. How? Doesn't the sentence — that I underlined in red on p 280 — contradict this? The author wrote that if "language is manifested instead as graphic marks, then we can ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
226 views

Do any other languages use ruby characters(furigana) as extensively as Japanese

Just what the question asks. I’ll note that Chinese does use it extensively with pinyin when teaching Chinese to western foreigners. However I’m referring to using in materials by and for native ...
Joshua Olson's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
152 views

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 (...
Géry Ogam's user avatar
13 votes
10 answers
3k views

Are there any diacritics not on the top or bottom of a letter?

I don't know of any besides the horn on Ơ and Ư and the middle tilde on ᵯ and some other consonants I'm interested in particular in a diacritic precomposed with both "I" and "U"
kwaalaateimaa's user avatar