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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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-2 votes
0 answers
51 views

Is there a writing norm in Occitan in which [y] is written as <ü> and [u] as <u>?

Maybe also [y] as <ù> or [u] as <ò>?
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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
425 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 ...
12 votes
8 answers
913 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 ...
7 votes
3 answers
962 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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
699 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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
424 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 ...
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:
-4 votes
1 answer
103 views

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,...
-2 votes
1 answer
214 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 ...
1 vote
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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
158 views

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 ...
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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
460 views

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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
118 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 ...
18 votes
2 answers
558 views

When did other slavic nations adopt the Latin-inspired look of printed Cyrillic pioneered in Russia?

Russian Emperor Peter I famously reformed the Cyrillic script in Russia, where, among other changes, he redesigned the letterforms to more closely resemble the look of the modern Latin script. Here ...
20 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
-1 votes
1 answer
132 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 ...
-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 ...
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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
277 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 ...
4 votes
3 answers
783 views

Where does the letter <j> come from to some Cyrillic alphabets?

Most South-West languages of Slavic language family, like Serbian, Bosnian and Montenegrin, include the Latin letter in their alphabets, which has not been a part of Cyrillic writing system they're ...
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 ...
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?
4 votes
0 answers
103 views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
112 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 ...
-6 votes
1 answer
401 views

Why was the letter K removed from the Welsh alphabet?

Honestly, why did they remove letter K from the alphabet?
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 ...
1 vote
3 answers
770 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
252 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
141 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 ...
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 ?
0 votes
1 answer
130 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 ...
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?
1 vote
2 answers
84 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, ...
1 vote
1 answer
412 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 this answer it is suggested ...
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

Is there some relationship between the modern u and μ?

I study Mathematics and Statistics and one of the most common symbols we tend to write is μ which obviously is the lower case 'Mu'. It is one of the easiest symbols to learn when first encountered ...
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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
70 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 ...
3 votes
2 answers
665 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 ...
0 votes
4 answers
311 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". ...
19 votes
4 answers
8k 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
6 votes
2 answers
3k views

Are Tajik and Persian mutually intelligible?

I know that the Persian language family has three branches: Persian, Dari and Tajik-Persian. Is the Persian of Iran mutually intelligible with Tajik? And how does the Tajik Cyrillic alphabet differ ...
1 vote
2 answers
173 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 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
254 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 ...
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 (...
3 votes
2 answers
489 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)?