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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18
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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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2answers
101 views

Which language has the most distinct written and spoken forms?

I know about Persian as an example. For example, we have "خانه" (transliterated as Khaneh, which means home) for the written form. But we say "خونه" (Khooneh) for the spoken form ...
3
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2answers
228 views

Tabannusi in cuneiform script

I'd like to know how to correctly write a word "tabannusi" (build) in sumerian alphabet. Is there a chance then anyone can help me?
3
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2answers
578 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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1answer
127 views

Prevalence of Western/Latin Arabic numerals (digits 0-9) in cultures using the Hindu-Arabic Numeral System?

How prevalent is the use of Western/Latin Arabic numerals (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, hereafter referred to as Latin digits)† as the primary means of symbolically manipulating numeric ideograms in ...
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2answers
129 views

Are there any languages that don't “fit” on a keyboard?

The standard QWERTY keyboard has keys for all the letters in English, and also numbers, symbols and a few punctuation marks. Other languages, such as French, might have diacritics in their spelling. ...
4
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2answers
4k 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 ...
3
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2answers
2k views

Writing influences speech and viceversa?

For example, language changes over time, but in languages that exist without writing, it changes naturally just influenced by itself. So when writing was introduced, did that start to influence speech ...
4
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3answers
305 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?
8
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9answers
22k views

Why does linguistics focus on spoken languages rather than written ones?

I might be wrong since I'm unable to find any sources supporting this, but it's increasingly my gut feeling that linguistics appears to focus on spoken languages as opposed to written ones. If this is ...
4
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5answers
11k views

Why do European languages use a similar alphabet, but South East Asian languages do not?

Why is it that in Europe, most written languages (Spanish, English, German, ect.) use very similar alphabets (Latin), while countries in South East Asia, which are similarly geographically close to ...
24
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3answers
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Can Someone Identify This Diacritic?

My mother is working on genealogy and has run across a diacritic mark that I could swear I've seen before but cannot identify. Here is the last name (said to be Austrian) from two documents. It's the ...
0
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1answer
125 views

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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4answers
3k views

Are there languages where a change of character casing can lead to a different meaning of a word?

I'm no expert on linguistics. In fact I'm no even a proper amateur but please, bear with me on this: Are there any languages where a word would change its meaning depending on the casing of one or ...
1
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1answer
48 views

What is the technical term for the copyist error of replacing a letter with another, similar-looking letter?

One form of textual criticism (which is under the branch of corpus linguistics) is arguing that a text was mistakenly copied by a copyist to reflect an erroneous reading. An example of this is that ...
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7answers
8k views

Is it possible to become fluent in any language simply by reading books in that language?

I know the best way to learn a language is to go to a country which speaks that language, but what if you don't have that convenience. Is it possible to become fluent simply through reading books in ...
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4answers
2k views

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 "...
3
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0answers
45 views

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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2answers
162 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 ...
2
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2answers
2k 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'...
0
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3answers
99 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 ...
5
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2answers
449 views

How does one learn the meaning of a new symbol in Chinese?

We've all been there. Say you're reading an article about something, and you come across a new word you've never seen before; how do you find out what it means or what it sounds like? In most non-...
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5answers
625 views

Would an extended alphabet have been a hindrance to inventing computer technology?

One time in a conversation, a person who is very knowledgeable about computers off hand mentioned that it would have been difficult, maybe even impossible, to have developed computational technology ...
20
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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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1answer
214 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
188 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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2answers
1k views

What language is this and what does it mean in English? [closed]

Please help identify what this means in English. I cannot read this language and cannot determine what language it is.
8
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1answer
215 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 ...
4
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0answers
89 views

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
980 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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0answers
78 views

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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1answer
267 views

What languages are these? [closed]

Sorry if this question is rather dumb and ignorant for this community, but nevertheless - In the following image I am having hard time recognizing most of the names of the languages, particularly the ...
2
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4answers
4k views

What are those languages with no one-to-one correspondence between sound and written symbol?

English is not one of those, while German should be. Italian is one of those and French is not. So it seems that this feature does not depend on the linguistic similarity and historical relation among ...
6
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5answers
435 views

Wordplay in ancient texts

I learned once that ancient texts (for example in Latin) did not separate words. Was that always true or only in specific kinds of documents and writings. Since I have been a bit interested in ...
34
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2answers
12k views

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?
0
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3answers
409 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?
7
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4answers
9k views

Is there a long list of languages whose writing systems don't use spaces?

Some languages like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Khmer use writing systems that don't use spaces. What are other such languages? Is there a list of these languages?
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2answers
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Why is “och” (and) not spelled “og” in Swedish?

For example, here is the word for "I" in the Old Norse dialects. Old East Norse = Jak Old West Norse = Ek These words became, with a natural evolution, the following: Icelandic = Ég Faroese = Eg ...
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2answers
99 views

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. ...
3
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2answers
464 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
61 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/...
9
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1answer
169 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, ...
2
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0answers
141 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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1answer
95 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 ...
0
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1answer
149 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 ...
2
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1answer
312 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.
0
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1answer
111 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 ...
3
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0answers
73 views

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: ...
2
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1answer
1k 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 ...
23
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1answer
5k views

Deciphering a handwritten script

There are many studies on calligraphy, and in some cultures (Chinese, Indic, Arabic) it became a really significant part of culture. However, there are not only examples of good handwriting. Often we ...