Questions tagged [written-language]

Questions which apply solely or mostly to the written forms of languages as opposed to their spoken forms.

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45 views

Learning a language when you already know the script

I know someone who, having grown up reading Arabic script for religious purposes, can read and pronounce Arabic sounds and words perfectly. However, he never learned the language and does not actually ...
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4answers
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Can a natural language be non-serializable?

Typically, a serializable language can be expressed by strings. Can a natural language be non-serializable? Fictional source which motivated me to ask this question: a character in C. Stross' novel "...
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Searching for an English Whats-app Corpus

I am searching an English Whats-app Corpus in order to analyse a linguistic phenomena. I had some difficulties to find one and maybe some of you can help me out. It is only for corpus driven study and ...
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3answers
80 views

Some “LINGUISTIQUE formulas” to translate French texts into English?

I am not sure is it correct to ask my question here or not! I've asked this question here (in MathStackExchange) before! Maybe it is better to see the question there, because it was written ...
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2answers
94 views

Are there differences in writing among Arabic dialects?

I am currently looking for text data in Arabic. However, for this I need to know whether there exist some significant differences among dialects in its written form. Surely, dialects very likely ...
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1answer
121 views

How do you break words across lines in Arabic?

I have been searching for this for a few hours today and haven't found anything but this really, well maybe this is as close as it gets. Just found this, too, which is nice. I've asked this on the ...
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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 ...
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1answer
179 views

Estimating the number of words in a language before invention of alphabet

Here is my question from the title: Given a (natural) language with its writing system based on an alphabet, are there any theories giving (quantitative) estimates on the number of words the ...
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2answers
62 views

Conventions on sorting phrases with whitespace and punctuation (for an index)

I'm sorry if this is not the correct community to ask this question, if not please suggest a transfer. I'm compiling an index of sorts for a large songbook where all the titles and first lines of the ...
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0answers
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How and why do languages evolve to use different types of quotation marks?

For example, English uses "...", but French uses «...». Also, which of these is more common? What did the first written languages use?
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4answers
948 views

Is a text with orthographic or grammatic mistakes in a language X still a text in that language X?

Let us suppose that we have a text that in its majority follows the orthographic or grammatical rules of a language X, but 10% of the words have orthographic mistakes, and 10% of the sentences have ...
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Are there studies which attempt to quantify the information conveyed by written languages - especially Japanese/Chinese?

I'm curious as to whether anyone has attempted to come up with a quantitative measure of information conveyed by written words, symbols or graphs, and particularly curious if anyone has studied ...
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3answers
376 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?
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Why is “ß” not used in Swiss German?

What are some of the historical reasons why the orthographic symbol ß is not used in Swiss Standard German and “ss” is used instead?
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2answers
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Do any languages allow merging of two sentences without punctuation?

I teach some students who are not native English speakers and commonly make this mistake in their writing: They often combine two complete sentences without any punctuation or break between them. ...
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2answers
231 views

What language(s) should I learn to read the Epic of Gilgamesh?

I wasn't sure where to ask this question. I hope this is the right place... My question is a little more complicated than the title suggests. I'm wanting to read the Epic of Gilgamesh in the ...
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1answer
57 views

What are all of the possible punctuation that are used within words in the majority of languages?

I know it's potentially a bit of an odd question, but I am working on an app that needs to analyze text that can be written in any of the most common languages. What I need to know is what punctuation/...
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1answer
110 views

Does (or should) the terms “spoken language” and “speech” include signed language?

And if not, is there a term, accepted by both the Deaf and linguistic communities, that includes both spoken and signed language, in contrast to written language? Reputable linguistic sources, ...
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112 views

Ontology of logogram, pictogram and ideogram

Is it fair to say that a pictograms are a subset of ideograms which are a subset of logograms? What is an example of an ideogram that is not a logogram or pictogram?
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2answers
929 views

If there is a pattern to Chinese characters

Many people say that written Chinese is a difficult language to learn because the characters don't have any relation to the sound of the word, like in English and other languages, even Japanese. But I'...
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1answer
53 views

Does a written language exist with 1 symbol for every word?

We could create a dense written language with 1 symbol for every word. Lets say that it is read by a computer aloud or translated into normal language.(Like a QR code) I know that QR code does ...
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1answer
97 views

The reason some languages write down the accents while others don't

This may be a difficult question to answer but I'm curious as to the reason for this. The word película in Spanish is pe-LEE-cu-la. It has an accent to mark how to say the word. The word peninsula ...
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1answer
155 views

Do any languages not have the concept of “words”?

I'm wondering if there are any languages that are basically just streams of basic sound blocks, like letters or syllables, and they don't have words.
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72 views

Is punctuation necessary in written language?

I'm wondering if punctuation is necessary for written languages. I can't quite tell if in spoken languages we use "punctuation". It seems like "we say multiple words without pauses, breaks, or other ...
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Are there written languages that commonly start direct speech without marking?

In English and many common languages nowadays, punctuation marks are used to introduce direct speech. This makes it possible to start direct speech without lexical clue, as in the second example here: ...
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1answer
116 views

Is ending a sentence with a possessive considered informal? [closed]

Does corpora show any genre preferences for ending sentences with a nominal possessive? Does it occur more in spoken and informal written texts than in academic texts? I really appreciate your input.
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2answers
174 views

Is capitalization a recurring feature across writing systems?

Is it a common feature for a writing system to include a capitalized variant of itself? What is the purpose of capitalization in itself? Is it ever truly necessary for comprehension?
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2answers
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What's a good resource where I can publish some narratives in a minority language?

During my fieldwork, I recorded, transcribed and translated a dozen or so narratives in an indigenous language of Central America, in close cooperation with a couple native speakers (including some ...
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Where might the given name Xelefon originate?

I was recently reading some historical records wherein a lady was mentioned, Olga Malar (née Cuch), born in "Napodiwka," Poland, in 1922. She was said to be the daughter of Xelefon Cuch and Jewdokia ...
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1answer
84 views

How do languages which prefix proper nouns (by case marking, clitic article, etc) do capitalization in Latin Alphabet?

There are languages which put a prefix or a clitic before a noun to mark definiteness or case. How different languages using Latin alphabet which have this declension or marking deals with ...
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1answer
100 views

Why no 'i' in Albanian for digits from 0 to 9? [closed]

According to OEIS the only other alpha language that has no numbers 0 to 9 with an i is Albanian. http://oeis.org/A159878 1 – një 2 – dy 3 – tre 4 – katër 5 – pesë 6 – gjashtë 7 – shtatë 8 – tetë 9 – ...
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1answer
84 views

What is the language on this bracelet? [closed]

I found this silver bracelet in the early 1950's and cannot identify the language, even after checking several help sites on the internet.
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1answer
194 views

How are algebraic operations written in a right-to-left language?

Arabic is a right-to-left language, so when using Google Translate to translate this expression: x/y from English to Arabic, it returns س / ص where 'x' is on the right, 'y' is on the left. ...
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1answer
136 views

Can someone assist translating a handwritten note I found? Possible Devanagari script [closed]

EDITED: I found a handwritten note that was folded. I don't know where it came from. It was located in a trash can in my home. I live in rural United States. No one in my house claims to know where ...
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3answers
238 views

Can one “sentence” belong to multiple languages?

I am a machine learning developer who is currently working with natural language processing. Today, I was thinking about language identification. I have a couple of ideas how to do so for the ~200 ...
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1answer
478 views

Significance of 'ฯ' in English orthography

The special characters page of my English keyboard on Android contains what appears to be a Thai character (ฯ). I've so far found that it is used as a kind of punctuation or phrase-shortening particle ...
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1answer
91 views

Trying to find language written on item [closed]

I have an item that has text on it, written in a different language. Ive been doing research trying to find it or something similar, but no luck. Anyone know what it says or the language? Much ...
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1answer
377 views

What language is this? And, what does it mean? [closed]

I've been trying to figure out the meaning of this image, but I couldn't find anything. Anyone knows?
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105 views

What only native speakers and native writers (?) know

Even after many years, even after getting proficient in a foreign language, non-native speakers won't lose their foreign accent. Is there an equivalent to this for non-native writers? Will be ...
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0answers
30 views

required standards for US domestic foreign language education

In reference to my earlier post, I'm going to be teaching foreign languages in some capacity and was advised by a board of education that I ought to understand and incorporate foreign language edu. ...
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3answers
331 views

Are non-spoken elements, such as capitalization and punctuation mark usage, part of the English language?

On the English Language Learners SE meta site, I'm involved in a conversation that I find somewhat bizarre. In the order in which they appear, here are the assertions (paraphrased with supporting ...
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1answer
183 views

Are there literate speech communities for Sign Languages?

I am aware of some systems of sign writing (e.g. Sutton SignWriting). They are used in dictionaries, teaching materials, or scientific documentation. But did some Sign Language speech communities ...
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6answers
1k views

How would someone begin translating an unknown language?

Excuse my ignorance. I'm writing a work of fiction wherein an archeologist finds a tomb that contains not only the bodies of an unknown/unstudied society, but also samples of writing in that society's ...
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2answers
68 views

Comparative Methodology

Firstly many apologies if this question is not appropriate for this forum; I am a mathematician and a mathematics education researcher. However, I am posting on this forum because I am doing research ...
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2answers
2k views

How to identify a foreign language from handwriting?

As asking language-ID-questions on this site seems off-topic I'd like to know whether there is a resource on the internet which can help me. I found a the curious snippet attached to a balloon which ...
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2answers
477 views

Can we predict written language's evolution due to technological advances?

Using the "shortcuts" that are used nowadays (emoticons, internet abbreviations, email formatting, memes, social media sharing [Pinterest, Facebook, Google Plus, "tweets" and the like) as a base, can ...
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1answer
155 views

Sources on average retention rate of language based on time [closed]

I am creating a language learning app and am interested in sources/publications which offer statistics on retention rate of languages over time. For example, I have data that my product taught ...
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0answers
174 views

Saying words aloud to confirm/disprove accuracy of written language

I had a really interesting thought the other day: Is oral language dominant/superior in some way to written language? I bring this up because every time I need to correct or edit my written words (I ...
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1answer
510 views

Did Latin have lower-case letters and a full stop at the end of sentences in the 1st century AD?

Did Latin have lower-case letters and a full stop at the end of sentences in the 1st century AD? Googling doesn't seem to yield a definitive answer.
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3answers
2k views

Is a letter a linguistic unit?

According to vocabulary.com a linguistic unit is one of the natural units into which linguistic messages can be analyzed. So, can a linguistic unit be a letter, a syllable, a word or a sentence? ...