Questions tagged [writing-systems]

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

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6
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4answers
799 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 ...
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2answers
466 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)?
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1answer
87 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 ...
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2answers
107 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 ...
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11answers
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 ...
0
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1answer
109 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, ...
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2answers
92 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 ...
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4answers
5k 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, ...
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1answer
49 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 ...
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0answers
253 views

character v. glyph v. grapheme/morphogram v. ideogram v. logogram v. pictogram v. symbol vs. syllable

My 15 y.o. daughter is learning Chinese, but these different terms bafle us! How do they differ? Where do these other terms fit into Table 3.5, which contains merely FOUR of the terms in the title of ...
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1answer
140 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 ...
0
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1answer
131 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 ...
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1answer
140 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 (...
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10answers
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"
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3answers
128 views

A term for sign/symbol that represents multiple letters

At the time the Quran was revealed, the Arabic letters that we know of today was different. As I understand it, they did not have the concept of letter in the meaning we understand today. For example,...
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0answers
94 views

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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1answer
71 views

Glagolitic Ⰾ (l) is like Ⰴ (d). Is it related to Latin / Old Latin l / d lingua dingua, lacrima dacrima?

Glagolitic Ⰾ (l) is like Ⰴ (d). Is it related to Latin / Old Latin l / d lingua dingua, lacrima dacrima?
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0answers
131 views

Which writing systems have the highest/lowest stroke-to-sound ratios?

Preemptive note: This question is about sound-based writing systems, excluding logographic systems like Chinese. Transitional systems like Egyptian hieroglyphs, Maya script or Man’yōgana are also ...
18
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4answers
6k views

Is the Cyrillic letter 'Z' the same as the number 3

Why do the Cyrillic 'Z'(З) and the number '3' seem to be the same glyph? Is there a difference that I'm just not seeing? They look identical to me
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1answer
189 views

Why did "s" use to look like "f"?

Example: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b6/Houghton_EC65.M6427P.1667aa_-_Paradise_Lost%2C_1667.jpg Paradife loft. There is no way that I can ever read that as: Paradise lost. The ...
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1answer
129 views

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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1answer
50 views

How are the Ogham stones inscribed?

I earlier asked How to convert Old Irish Latin script to Ogham? and am not quite complete with the answer. I have a similar question still trying to dig into how to build an Ogham generator. But ...
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3answers
231 views

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 ...
0
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1answer
74 views

Is there a database or standard (ISO etc.) which maps Unicode or ISO-15924 scripts with the ISO-639/Glottolog etc. languages that use them

Is there a database or standard (ISO etc.) which maps Unicode or ISO-15924 scripts with the ISO-639/Glottolog etc. languages that use them, so that I can make queries like the following on it: For an ...
4
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1answer
143 views

Are there logographic writing systems for the blind? Do blind users of logographic writing systems struggle like how deaf users of alphabets do?

I'm not a linguist, but I borrowed a textbook from my university library and read the chapter on writing systems. The textbook is Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction by William O'Grady. In it, ...
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1answer
245 views

Was the Thai letter ด really derived from ต?

Understanding the relative chronology of implosivization in Thai and Khmer, and how it interacted with the development of the scripts, is difficult (at least for me). In the first answer to this ...
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3answers
261 views

Why does capitalization exist?

For background, I'm a systems developer, not a linguist. There's a tendency to dismiss any grammar rules in my line of work namely because of how "strict" (read: dumb, simple) the computers and ...
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2answers
83 views

Is thorn cognate with Bactrian sho? [closed]

There is a letter thorn that suffered a great loss in Old English with its size being doubled and this double sound is hidden in plain sight. I think that thorn may be related to the Bactrian sho ...
4
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1answer
890 views

The term "proto" in "proto-language"

I noticed that both Proto-Sinaitic and Proto-Indo-European have the title of "proto", although the Proto-Sinaitic has actual scripts which were found and studied, i.e. it is a fact that it existed, ...
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2answers
297 views

What is the modern general communication language writing system with simplest letter symbols?

I would like to know what is the modern, formal, writing system with simplest (most minimal) letter symbols by these means: Total number of letters comprised only or mostly from line segments (...
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1answer
113 views

Where can I find the letters of documented writing systems, as text, online?

I was looking for the letters of the Safaitic writing system of Ancient North Arabian (ANA) as text, online. Safaitic is a well documented and researched writing system that was a prominent (if not ...
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2answers
213 views

How similar are the prototype writing systems of Ugarit-Tyre ("Phoenician") and Safaitic?

I understand that that in the ancient Levant, two main writing system patterns were used by the different peoples of the region: Phoenician and Ancient North Arabian. I further understand that both ...
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3answers
2k views

How well do Semitic languages preserve consonants over time?

I'm not too familiar with the details of Semitic languages, but as far as I can tell it seems the tri-consonantal roots of words are relatively important. If the consonants change over time, did they ...
0
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1answer
107 views

How are words seperated in Arabic? Is empty character sufficient always?

I am trying to count Arabic words in some verses in Quran. What is the universal rule to seperate words in Arabic, particularly in Arabic used in Quran? My computer program uses empty character to ...
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9answers
4k views

Languages which changed their writing direction

I am interested in account of languages that had undergone a change in the writing direction somewhere in the history. We might say, for example, that Greek was used to be written also (not sure if ...
4
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0answers
178 views

How can I tell if a vowel is "empty"?

In Hittite cuneiform, every glyph with a phonetic meaning is either V (a vowel), CV (a consonant followed by a vowel), VC, or CVC. As a result, there's no way to represent three consonants in a row ...
4
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1answer
192 views

How do I know if a cuneiform character is a logogram or determinative?

When I'm looking at a Hittite text, occasionally I'll come across a glyph that has no phonetic meaning. This generally means one of two things: either it's a logogram, or it's a determinative. Either ...
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2answers
339 views

The Cyrillic script among the Slavic people

Today the Cyrillic script is used by the East Slavs, such as the Russians and the Bulgarians, but the West Slavs (e.g. the Czechs, the Poles) and some South Slavs (e.g. the Croats, the Slovenes) use ...
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6answers
532 views

Do multi-dimensional writing systems exist?

I am not sure whether linguistics board is the right place to ask this question, but since I couldn't find any better place here is the question: Most (all?) of the writing systems are using the ...
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1answer
134 views

relationship between writing systems, scripts, and font. Terminology clarification required

I want a clarification on terminology. A language is written in a particular script . but there are various styles for writing a script. For e.g. arabic is written in arabic script, and it can be ...
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0answers
171 views

Does an alphabet with the uniform letter frequency distribution exist?

A language employs some kind of alphabet for writing. One could naïvely expect that each letter bears the same amount of entropy. But in reality that is not the case. For example in English each ...
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0answers
81 views

What made some languages change normal writing orientation?

For Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese, writing was done in 漢字 (English spelling may vary), going down and stopping and switching to the next line on the left and repeating the process again. ...
3
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0answers
67 views

Learning a script as an adult

It is well-known that it is difficult to compete with native speakers when learning a language as an adult. But is there a similar phenomenon with writing systems? Can non-natives (e.g. of Arabic or ...
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2answers
125 views

Other Extensible Scripts Besides Latin

Besides the Latin script with its menagerie of diacritics and modified glyphs, what other phonetic scripts are extensible to such a degree to accommodate new sounds? I know the Greek alphabet and ...
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0answers
99 views

Are there examples of symbols similar to modern emoji or emoticons that were used before 20th century?

In other words, any symbols (ideograms) used to convey emotions that fit the description of "ancient emoji". I'm mostly interested in ancient and medieval attested symbols, but anything from before ...
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2answers
189 views

Rejecting writing down a language for various reasons

I remembered reading somewhere about a language that its speakers believe the written words are sacred (or some other reasons) they chose to refrain from putting spoken words into written forms even ...
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4answers
1k views

Is it possible to have a word-based language completely without word inflection?

First, sorry if I'm not using the correct terminology here. By "word-based", I mean typical Indo-European languages (plus Uralic) where there are only tens of characters (e.g. "A to Z" (Latin) or "А ...
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2answers
666 views

When was the first bicameral script developed?

The Wikipedia article on letter case says this without citing any references: Both majuscule and minuscule letters existed, but the difference between the two variants was initially stylistic ...
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2answers
198 views

(How) did Hittite borrow words from Sumerian?

It was always my understanding that Hittite borrowed the cuneiform script from the Sumerians via Akkadian. This would prevent Hittite from borrowing lexemes from Sumerian unless Akkadian borrowed them ...
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3answers
417 views

Alphabet size affects complexity of written ideas?

Do relatively simple alphabets (Rotokas, Hawaiian) limit the complexity of written ideas? Example: could Rotokas be used to write a technical manual for the space shuttle?