34

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 until the 18th century isn't relevant—they're consistently distinguished now. But the observation that the ISO Basic Latin Alphabet aligns exactly with what's ...


11

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 other letters that are not core to the orthographies of all major languages. (k, y, x and q, for example). A more consistent test then would be if the letter ...


9

There are several different standards, so which one you want to use will depend on your goal. For the purpose of conversing on the internet, for example, most people use ch; for linguistic purposes, ḥ is standard; for just using Hebrew words in an English context, just plain h is common. Anecdotally, I would expect most linguists to understand x (since it's ...


5

IMO it is more about where you go and less about what the degree is. In general, the more linguistics you know, the better you will be positioned to do this kind of work. A basic undergraduate degree where you learn the essentials is all that a lot of field workers have, but unless you're associated with SIL and get special training, it is unlikely that you ...


5

Another good indication is the use of determinatives in linguistically-unrelated languages that share the same writing system. Classical Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform was used to write Sumerian (a language isolate), Akkadian (Semitic), Hittite (Indo-European), and a handful of others from various families. As far as we know, these languages don't have a common ...


5

Italian does this for formal letter writing: informarLa = informare (to inform) + La (you [formal direct object pronoun]) portarGliela = portare (to give) + Gli (to you [formal indirect object pronoun]) + la (it) Notice that La ≠ la.


5

This is a difficult question to answer, because it comes down to the rules you're using. At one extreme, you can give each letter a single pronunciation regardless of environment (the letters around it), which will have utterly abysmal accuracy. At the other extreme, you can have a separate rule for every single word in the OED, which will have 100% accuracy....


5

Short answer: yes, they're used in Greek. ϑ and θ are different graphic variants of the same letter, Greek "theta". The first is a cursive handwritten form, and the second is a standard printed form. The two have different Unicode representations for unclear reasons; some linguists have used θ to represent a voiceless sound and ϑ for the voiced ...


4

Your examples are not about ease of pronunciation. There is a general but mistaken belief that it is "hard" to say forms that deviate from the social norm of a language. "She be" vs "She is" is a case in point. It's just as easy to say "She be" as it is to say "She is". You might not be familiar with dialects ...


4

The Spanish use of y vs. e and o vs. u can be classified as an example of sandhi and dissimilation. Sandhi is a pronunciation change caused by contact between words (or morphemes), usually in a way that can be thought of as making the pronunciation "easier" in some way. Dissimilation is a change of two similar sounds to less similar sounds. Your ...


4

Most non-alphabetic scripts won't fit on a keyboard, if by "fit" you mean "have one key for each letter". For example, the Cherokee syllabary has 85 characters, and Canadian syllabics generally around 100 (though the exact number varies by language). However, as with Japanese kana, various workarounds exist to allow them to be typed ...


4

Gelb proposes that there were four sibilant series, somewhat confusingly named z, š₁₂, š₃, and š₄. The z series was written with signs ZA, ZÉ, ZI, ZU, and represented the outcome of what Semiticists now generally consider affricates (i.e. PSem *s, *ṣ, etc). The š₁₂ series was written with signs SA, SE₁₁, SI, SU, and represented the outcome of Semitic s₁ (...


3

The passage is talking about the difference between the technical meaning of phonetic and the way the word is used by non-experts. For those unfamiliar with linguistic concepts like phonemes and allophones, "phonetic" usually means "suggestive of pronunciation". If a word is "spelled phonetically", it means it is easy to tell ...


3

As I look back on this with the benefit of hindsight, I see that I wrote a lengthy answer about the benefits and drawbacks of this notation, but didn't say anything about where it came from. As far as I know, this notation (e̯ a̯ o̯ for *h₁ *h₂ *h₃) is part of Anixx's personal transcription system, used in their answers here. I've never seen it used ...


3

The ū in Latin fūmus and spūma have different sources. The ū in spūma is from the Proto-Italic diphthong *oi̯. The Proto-Indo-European root would have had an *e or *o vowel followed by a laryngeal and then *y~*i (Michel de Vaan gives the PIE reconstructed form as *(s)poHi-nh2- or *(s)peh3i-nh2-).


2

It's Classical Arabic, the same text is written twice, at the top and at the bottom, both begin on the right side of the clock. It is the same text which is written of the flag of Saudi Arabia. The text is Shahada (“Testimony”), also spelled Shahadah, it is an Islamic oath, one of the Five Pillars of Islam and part of the Adhan: لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله ...


2

I think you have examined this issue thoroughly. I was misled by von Soden's confusing notation. It does indeed seem that no known variant of Akkadian distinguished between Semitic s1 and s2.


2

Melchert claims that "voicing" was not distinguished word-initially or word-finally, with word-initial stops ending up fortis (PIE *geis- > kiš- "become" > reduplicated kikkiš- with a fortis consonant) and word-final stops ending up lenis (PIE *h₁poi-h₁ei-ti > pait "went" > paid=aš "he came" with a lenis ...


2

Insofar as the purpose of identifying mistakes is proofreading, the classification of mistakes is less important than the identification thereof. The difference between a spelling and a grammar mistake may depend on context, especially when dealing with verb forms. Omitting an s from the third person singular of the simple present tense could be construed as ...


2

I've lived outside Ireland for well over 20 years but have been stuck in the country due to the pandemic. During the past few months, Irish has been on my mind for the first time since I left school, and I've been entertaining myself revising things I'd forgotten or never knew in the first place because, like most people, my Irish was never very good. ...


2

Tl;dr I wouldn't attribute it to quill pens at all. One important thing to remember is that spelling has not always been uniform. Unlike many other languages, English has never had a central authority that decides what is proper English and what isn't; in the early 19th century, Noah Webster decided to overhaul spelling in his dictionary, and because of that ...


1

Surely it's very common to have just one symbol as a block, even if it's a flat one, just look at any Ancient Egyptian text, there are lots of such signs in practically every text, even a short one. For example, this one, the text on the left reads “Overseer of sculpting, Itjau”; the three rows of hieroglyphs above the statue read “Statue of the courtier, ...


1

Has anyone come up with a Unicode layout system for the Gardiner hieroglyphs? As of Unicode 12.0, the answer is now technically yes—the new block of Hieroglyph Format Controls adds a handful of control characters for laying out the signs. You can now specify the layout of a quadrat in pure Unicode without any special formatting needed. However, I don't know ...


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