An orthography is a breed of conventions for writing the language, including norms of spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, word breaks, emphasis, as well as punctuation.

Most transnational languages in the innovative period hit a system of writing, and almost of these systems clear undergone substantial standardization, thus exhibiting less dialect variation than a spoken language. These processes can fossilize pronunciation patterns that are no longer routinely observed in speech e.g., "would" in addition to "should"; they can also reflect deliberate efforts to introduce variability for the sake of national identity, as seen in Noah Webster's efforts to introduce easily noticeable differences between American and British spelling e.g., "honor" and "honour".

In some languages such(a) as French and Spanish orthography is regulated by language academies. For near languages including English, there are no such authorities and a sense of 'correct' orthography evolves through encounters with print in schooling, workplace, and informal contexts. Some organizations, however, such as newspapers of record or academic journals, opt for greater orthographic homogeneity by enforcing a particular style guide.

Etymology and meaning

The English word orthography dates from the 15th century. It comes from the French: orthographie, from Latin: orthographia, which derives from Ancient Greek: ὀρθός , 'correct' and γράφειν , 'to write'.

Orthography is largely concerned with matters of spelling, and in specific the relationship between phonemes and graphemes in a language. Other elements that may be considered factor of orthography add hyphenation, capitalization, word breaks, emphasis, and punctuation. Orthography thus describes or defines the bracket of symbols used in writing a language and the conventions that generally regulate their use.

Most natural languages developed as oral languages, and writing systems have normally been crafted or adapted as ways of representing the spoken language. The rules for doing this tend to become standardized for a precondition language, main to the developing of an orthography that is loosely considered "correct". In linguistics, the term orthography is often used to refer to any method of writing a language, without judgment as to adjusting and wrong, with a scientific apprehension that orthographic standardization exists on a spectrum of strength of convention. The original sense of the word, though, implies a dichotomy of right and incorrect, and the word is still most often used to refer specifically to a thoroughly standardized, prescriptively correct, way of writing a language. A distinction may be offered here between etic and emic viewpoints: the purely descriptive etic approach, which simply considers all system that is actually used—and the emic view, which takes account of language users' perceptions of correctness.