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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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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,...
blackened's user avatar
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3 votes
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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 ...
Nausher's user avatar
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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?
prostorech's user avatar
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 ...
Janus Bahs Jacquet's user avatar
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
jastako's user avatar
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1 answer
519 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 ...
Haben Mitschele's user avatar
-5 votes
1 answer
257 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 ...
Lance's user avatar
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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 ...
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0 votes
1 answer
98 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 ...
Lance's user avatar
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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 ...
Tim's user avatar
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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 ...
forgodsakehold's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
202 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, ...
tsainez's user avatar
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1 answer
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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 ...
legatrix's user avatar
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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 ...
Dragas's user avatar
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2 answers
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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 ...
Number File's user avatar
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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, ...
Maverick Meerkat's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
374 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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1 vote
1 answer
180 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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2 votes
2 answers
293 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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10 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
NoWayHaze's user avatar
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1 answer
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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 ...
entropy's user avatar
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21 votes
9 answers
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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 ...
d_e's user avatar
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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 ...
Draconis's user avatar
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1 answer
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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 ...
Draconis's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
lmc's user avatar
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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 ...
Diagon's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
157 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 ...
Hina Khalid's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
271 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 ...
PF4Public's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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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. ...
Double U's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
94 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 ...
Mathieu Bouville's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
166 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 ...
Kevin Li's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
114 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 ...
Slavus's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
220 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 ...
passing's user avatar
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1 vote
4 answers
2k 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 ...
iBug's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
826 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 ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
296 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 ...
Keelan's user avatar
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0 votes
3 answers
446 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?
Chris's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
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Which alphabetic writing system first had spaces between words?

Just recently, I believed that spaces between words were first invented with the Carolingian minuscule, invented by the English scholar Alcuin of York. As I just discovered, spacing wasn't first ever ...
arara's user avatar
  • 189
-2 votes
2 answers
180 views

Looking for a character like the greek theta, θ, but with two middle lines

I'm looking for a character in any writing system or even a known symbol (more common is better) that would roughly look like the Greek theta θ, but with two lines in the middle. If there is none, it ...
Jake B.'s user avatar
  • 97
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is a vowel only writing system possible?

An abjad is a writing system in which only consonants are normally written, is the opposite possible? I've recently discovered that English actually has far more vowel-sounds than we have vowel ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
74 views

Is there distinct jargon for syllabaries depending on their inventory?

The dictionary definition of a syllabary is "a set of written characters representing syllables and (in some languages or stages of writing) serving the purpose of an alphabet." I would personally ...
Anonymous's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
202 views

If the Romanization of Logographic (and other) Languages is Fully Accurate

Wondering if the translation of languages such as Chinese and Japanese into Romanized versions is accurate. That is, it doesn't lose information. For example, in Romanization of Chinese, they say ...
Lance's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
2k views

"Character sets" for top 100 languages (as opposed to Unicode)

Searching "the number of languages" shows about ~7,000. However, Google Translate only has ~100 languages listed. That makes me wonder if the languages have a lot of overlapping/duplicated elements. ...
Lance's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
332 views

Is it possible to read the narrow IPA transcription of one's native/fluent language as effortlessly and quickly as its conventional orthography?

it seems there's no neurolinguistic limit on how many letters can a language's alphabet have (it varies a lot between languages), the IPA is a huge phonetic alphabet, As of the most recent change in ...
Wis's user avatar
  • 149
2 votes
0 answers
41 views

How to quantify and compare different ways of segmenting and transliterating (reading) a text in terms of uncertainty/leeway?

I. Let us say we have a syllabary of n symbols. II. Let us have three ways or methods of transliterating a text written using the symbols of the syllabary: The first method considers the syllabary ...
Pavel Jetušek's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
397 views

Why are the scripts of Crete known as "Linear"?

Two famous, apparently related scripts now known as Linear A (which encoded an as-yet undeciphered language) and Linear B (used to write Greek) were discovered on the island of Crete. Why are these ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
307 views

Are the characters in some writing systems more or less visually distinctive than in others?

I'm curious about how writing systems like Burmese or Thai - the characters of which look to my untrained eye far more similar than Latin or Japanese characters - are distinguished by native readers, ...
Lou's user avatar
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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 ...
Arnold's user avatar
  • 281
1 vote
2 answers
103 views

Zellig Harris and the alphabet

I would be very interested if someone could provide me with a useful link to read Zellig Harris's text on the origin of the alphabet. The reference is: Harris, Zellig S. 1933. “Acrophony and ...
Javier Arias's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why is Hangul (Korean script) not considered an Abugida

An abugida is a script where consonant and vowels form a unit of some form, and are typical in South Asia. Now, the Korean script isn't related to those languages, of course. But the Korean script is ...
hgiesel's user avatar
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