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Alphabets

in Writing and Script

August 2009; p ublished online September 2013 .

Chapter. Subjects: Writing Systems. 5015 words.

Even more unknowable than the origins of writing are origins of the first alphabet. We accept that the alphabet reached the modern world via the ancient Greeks. We do not know how or when...

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The Arabic Writing System

Peter Daniels.

in The Oxford Handbook of Arabic Linguistics

September 2013; p ublished online December 2013 .

Article. Subjects: Linguistics; Writing Systems; Language Families. 9640 words.

This article discusses the Arabic writing system. It begins with linguistic description of the components of Classical and Modern Standard Arabic writing, followed by accounts of their use...

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Chinese and Japanese writing

in Writing and Script

August 2009; p ublished online September 2013 .

Chapter. Subjects: Writing Systems. 3233 words.

A study of the languages of China is vital if we are to understand the scripts of East Asia. Chinese is made up of eight regional languages, which are made up of many dialects. It is a myth...

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Decipherment and undeciphered scripts

in Writing and Script

August 2009; p ublished online September 2013 .

Chapter. Subjects: Writing Systems. 5120 words.

In a technical sense, ‘decipher’ means different things to different scholars. At one end of the spectrum lies Egyptian script which is more or less completely decipherable with just a...

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Development and diffusion of writing

in Writing and Script

August 2009; p ublished online September 2013 .

Chapter. Subjects: Writing Systems. 5131 words.

After writing had been ‘invented’ in Mesopotamia, or Egypt, it diffused across the world. Did it go eastwards to India, China, and Japan? Did it go westwards to Europe and Meso-America? Or...

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Disappearance of scripts

in Writing and Script

August 2009; p ublished online September 2013 .

Chapter. Subjects: Writing Systems. 4025 words.

We know more about the death of scripts than we do about their birth. No single theory can encompass why scripts flourish or vanish. Many aspects influence the survival or disappearance of...

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The History of Writing as a History of Linguistics

Peter T. Daniels.

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics

March 2013; p ublished online July 2013 .

Article. Subjects: Linguistics; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics; Writing Systems. 7407 words.

Every writing system represents a “native-speaker analysis” of a language, and as such at every stage of its development it reflects what its users consciously “know” about their language....

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How writing systems work

in Writing and Script

August 2009; p ublished online September 2013 .

Chapter. Subjects: Writing Systems. 3046 words.

‘How writing systems work’ looks at the history of the academic study of decipherment. Writing systems vary in complexity from European and American alphabetic signs, numerals, punctuation...

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Interpreting Alphabetic Orthographies

Roger Lass.

in The Oxford Handbook of Historical Phonology

November 2015; p ublished online January 2015 .

Article. Subjects: Linguistics; Writing Systems; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics. 9753 words.

This chapter is designed to show some of the special properties of older, non-standardized orthographies, with nearly exclusive emphasis on early Middle English. In particular it shows that...

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Interpreting Diffuse Orthographies and Orthographic Change

J. Marshall Unger.

in The Oxford Handbook of Historical Phonology

November 2015; p ublished online January 2015 .

Article. Subjects: Linguistics; Writing Systems; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics. 5013 words.

All the world’s writing systems may be classified as compact or diffuse depending on the number of functional units they generally employ. The only diffuse systems were or are used in and...

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