44 votes
Accepted

Why isn’t the letter “G” immediately after “C” in the alphabet?

Short answer: The letter G was inserted into the Latin alphabet on the place of the letter Z that was abolished officially at the same time. For more information, see this answer and also this answer ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
41 votes
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Are there any scripts which have more than 127 characters?

Yes, there are. Most famous is of course the Chinese script with several thousand characters. For Unicode purposes, Korean also has a lot of characters, because Unicode encodes Korean syllables as ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
36 votes
Accepted

Why are J, U, W considered part of the basic Latin Alphabet?

Despite its name, the ISO Basic Latin Alphabet isn't particularly concerned with representing Latin. It was developed in the modern day, so the fact that I~J and U~V weren't consistently distinguished ...
Draconis's user avatar
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35 votes
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Why isn't there a letter for /b/ sound in Greek alphabet while they have the sound?

The last time the Greek alphabet was truly overhauled was millennia ago, when a version tuned for the Ionian dialect (known as the "Euclidean alphabet" after the archon who championed it) ...
Draconis's user avatar
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28 votes
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Is there some relationship between the modern u and μ?

No, there is no relationship. The lowercase form μ is just a calligraphic development of the uppercase form. Here's an illustration with colored dots to indicate the corresponding parts: It's just a ...
brass tacks's user avatar
20 votes
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Are there clear exceptions to the alleged universality of "alphabet" as a term used in all languages

This is rather a bizarre claim to make in a widely published book, since it’s so easily disproven. There are lots of words for ‘alphabet’ that are different from the English term.   Alphabet, abjad, ...
Janus Bahs Jacquet's user avatar
18 votes

Why isn’t the letter “G” immediately after “C” in the alphabet?

We know that the Romans invented the letter G, derived its shape from C, and put G in seventh place. jk linked to an answer to a Latin.SE question. None of the answers to that question, nor any of ...
Rosie F's user avatar
  • 602
16 votes

Are there any scripts which have more than 127 characters?

Chinese, Japanese, Sumerian, Akkadian, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Sanskrit, the list is endless.
fdb's user avatar
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16 votes
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Why did the consonant clusters /ks/ and /ps/ merit their own designated letters in Ancient Greek?

There are multiple possible reasons. Synchronically, /ks/ & /ps/ are the only clusters that commonly occur word or syllable-finally and they also frequently occur as a result of inflection. Other ...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 8,196
13 votes
Accepted

Why does the NATO Spelling alphabet contain words with more than two syllables

The goal of the NATO spelling alphabet is to make the symbols as easily-distinguishable as possible, even over noisy channels (such as radio). Brevity (keeping the words short) is secondary to that. ...
Draconis's user avatar
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11 votes
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Estimating the number of words in a language before invention of alphabet

I'm afraid I'm going to have to frame-challenge this one. For example, it seems intuitive that a spoken language cannot hold too many words without having a way to write them down (imagine having ...
Draconis's user avatar
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11 votes
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Where does the letter <j> come from to some Cyrillic alphabets?

The letter <j> is really used in some Cyrillic-based alphabets, all of them were once created either by a certain person or by a group of people, that is, these alphabets aren't a product of ...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
11 votes

Why are J, U, W considered part of the basic Latin Alphabet?

Is it just a coincidence that English is the only major language that used all these letters and no more in its orthography? Is it a coincidence? No. But that's not the right test, because there are ...
Adam Bittlingmayer's user avatar
11 votes

Is there a collective term for the Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek alphabets?

Some people in typography and grammatology use terms like Euroscript and acronyms like LCG (akin CJKV for sinograms). The L may be replaced by an R for roman and the order may be different, e.g. GRC ...
Crissov's user avatar
  • 551
9 votes

Are there any scripts which have more than 127 characters?

For an alphabet used for a single language, Vietnamese has: 29 letters (including the vowels without tone marks) 12 vowels can accept 5 tone marks each All these of course in upper and lower case ...
Random832's user avatar
  • 191
9 votes
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Why are the names of the letters different across languages using the Latin script?

Why can't all the 26 letters be given universal names for all the Latin languages? They used to, in fact! Well…mostly. Back in the days of the Roman empire, there were mostly consistent names for ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 65.2k
9 votes

Where did the Greek consonant cluster "ps" come from

It's important to note that whilst Greek does spell /ps/ with a single letter, it does not represent a single phoneme, but a sequence of two. In native vocabulary, Greek /ps/ continues the Proto-Indo-...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 8,196
8 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between "می‌گفت" and "میگفت"?

There is no difference. It is just a matter of spelling. You can write the particle مى as a separate word, or you can join it to the following verb.
fdb's user avatar
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8 votes
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Why do some alphabets have special final forms for some letters?

Usually the final forms weren't designed intentionally. They arose over time through, effectively, sloppy handwriting. Up through the mid-Hellenistic period, sigma's various forms (from the same root ...
Draconis's user avatar
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8 votes
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Why does lower case "a" look so different from capital "A"?

Compare the uncial form and it may become clearer: (Image via Britannica.) In other words, the right leg was written on its own, then the left leg and the middle crossbar were written in a single ...
Draconis's user avatar
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8 votes
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Did the Phoenician letter 𐤄 have any meaning on its own or in earlier writing systems?

In Phoenician writing, the letters were named after words in the language, but didn't mean those words. ʔalp (or something like it) was the Phoenician word for "ox", but the glyph ʔalp didn'...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 65.2k
7 votes

Alphabet size affects complexity of written ideas?

Most certainly. The number of different symbols in a writing system has nothing to do with what can be expressed in it. When it comes down to it, this answer is being represented inside your computer ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 65.2k
7 votes
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(Why) did the Thai script convert Sanskrit द /d/ to /th/ and then introduce its own character for /d/?

We have a case of historical spellings. We'll use the descendants of the alveolar stops as the easiest to understand: ISO Romanisation: ta - tha - da - dha Devanagari: त - थ - द - ध Khmer script: ត - ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
  • 7,361
7 votes

Why do we make a distinction between letters and punctuation marks?

Good question! The distinctions made between all these different components of a writing system are observed by linguists and then given names. The defining feature of a punctuation mark is that it'...
tsainez's user avatar
  • 314
6 votes
Accepted

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

Irish is an example of your first option: the original initial is left capitalised, with prefixed letters lower-case. (It happens that in Irish orthography both the original and the eclipsed consonant ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 7,434
6 votes
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Discussions around symbols included/excluded in the IPA

Oh yes, very much so! The IPA is constantly changing and expanding, and existing symbols are moved, repurposed, and deleted. Many linguists still use the "Americanist" system, for instance, which ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 65.2k
6 votes

Is there some relationship between the modern u and μ?

As you say, μ is the lower-case version of the Greek letter M. On the other hand, u is not Greek at all; it is Latin lower-case version of U or (in Classical Latin) V. There is no connection between ...
fdb's user avatar
  • 24.1k
6 votes
Accepted

Phonetic english alphabet using diacritical marks?

What you're looking for is precisely what dictionaries in the 18th and 19th centuries did, before there was IPA and phonetic theories had developed. Its remnants are still seen in the transcription ...
Nardog's user avatar
  • 4,921
6 votes

Do multi-dimensional writing systems exist?

It is a bit of an edge case, and much depends on what you mean by "dimension", but the "hidden meaning" usage of furigana above kanji in Japanese may qualify as one extra dimension. The use of the ...
Michaelyus's user avatar
  • 7,361
6 votes

Do multi-dimensional writing systems exist?

The Dongba script of Naxi comes to mind: As you may have guessed from the picture, the Dongba script is generally left-to-right. But you can also have glyphs stacked together, and this gives it an ...
WavesWashSands's user avatar

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