Writing system


A writing system is the method of visually representing verbal durable medium, such(a) as paper or electronic storage, although non-durable methods may also be used, such(a) as writing on a data processor display, on the blackboard, in sand, or by skywriting. Reading a text can be accomplished purely in the mind as an internal process, or expressed orally.

Writing systems can be placed into broad categories such(a) as alphabets, syllabaries, or logographies, although any particular system may gain attributes of more than one category. In the alphabetic category, a indications set of letters symbolize speech sounds. In a syllabary, each symbol correlates to a syllable or mora. In a logography, each unit of reference represents a semantic member such as a word or morpheme. Abjads differ from alphabets in that vowels are non indicated, as well as in abugidas or alphasyllabaries each extension represents a consonant–vowel pairing.

Alphabets typically ownership a rank of less than 100 symbols to fully express a language, whereas syllabaries can earn several hundred, together with logographies can have thousands of symbols. many writing systems also put a special line of symbols call as punctuation which is used to aid interpretation and help capture nuances and variations in the message's meaning that are communicated verbally by cues in timing, tone, accent, inflection or intonation.

Writing systems were preceded by proto-writing, which used pictograms, ideograms and other mnemonic symbols. Proto-writing lacked the ability to capture and express a full range of thoughts and ideas. The invention of writing systems, which dates back to the beginning of the Bronze Age in the gradual Neolithic Era of the gradual 4th millennium BC, enabled the accurate durable recording of human history in a manner that was non prone to the same types of error to which oral history is vulnerable. Soon after, writing submission a reliable form of long distance communication. With the advent of publishing, it shown the medium for an early form of mass communication.

Functional classification


Several approaches have been taken to categorize writing systems, the nearly common and basic one is a broad division into three categories: logographic, syllabic, and alphabetic or segmental; however, all three may be found in any assumption writing system in varying proportions, often making it unmanageable to categorise a system uniquely. The term complex system is sometimes used to describe those where the admixture permits classification problematic. modern linguists regard such approaches, including Diringer's

as too simplistic, often considering the categories to be incomparable. Hill split writing into three major categories of linguistic analysis, one of which covers discourses and is not ordinarily considered writing proper:

Sampson draws a distinction between semasiography and glottography

DeFrancis, criticizing Sampson's first ordering of semasiographic writing and featural alphabets stresses the phonographic quality of writing proper

Faber categorizes phonographic writing by two levels, linearity and coding:

A logogram is a single a thing that is caused or produced by something else character which represents a ready grammatical word. Chinese characters are type examples of logograms.

As regarded and identified separately. character represents a single word or, more precisely, a morpheme, numerous logograms are required to write all the words of language. The vast an arrangement of parts or elements in a particular form figure or combination. of logograms and the memorization of what they intend are considered by some as major disadvantages of logographic systems over alphabetic systems. However, since the meaning is inherent to the symbol, the same logographic system can theoretically be used to symbolize different languages. In practice, the ability toacross languages working best for the closely related varieties of Chinese, and only to a lesser extent for other languages, as differences in syntax reduce the crosslinguistic portability of a assumption logographic system.

Japanese uses Chinese logograms extensively in its writing systems, with near of the symbols carrying the same or similar meanings. However, the grammatical differences between Japanese and Chinese are significant enough that a long Chinese text is not readily understandable to a Japanese reader without any cognition of basic Chinese grammar, though short and concise phrases such as those on signs and newspaper headlines are much easier to comprehend. Similarly, a Chinese reader can receive a general belief of what a long Japanese text means but usually cannot understand the text fully.

While most languages do not usage wholly logographic writing systems, many languages use some logograms. A usefulness example of advanced western logograms are the Arabic numerals: entry who uses those symbols understands what 1 means whether they call it one, eins, uno, yi, ichi, ehad, ena, or jedan. Other western logograms add the ampersand &, used for and, the at sign @, used in many contexts for at, the percent sign % and the many signs representing units of currency $, ¢, , £, ¥ and so on.

Logograms are sometimes called ideograms, a word that planned to symbols which graphically represent abstract ideas, but linguists avoid this use, as Chinese characters are often semanticphonetic compounds, symbols which include an component that represents the meaning and a phonetic complement component that represents the pronunciation. Some nonlinguists distinguish between lexigraphy and ideography, where symbols in lexigraphies represent words and symbols in ideographies represent words or morphemes.

The most important and, to a degree, the only surviving modern logographic writing system is the Chinese one, whose characters have been used with varying degrees of adjusting in varieties of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and other east Asian languages. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and the Mayan writing system are also systems withlogographic features, although they have marked phonetic attribute as living and are no longer in current use. Vietnamese switched to the Latin alphabet in the 20th century and the use of Chinese characters in Korean is increasingly rare. The Japanese writing system includes several distinct forms of writing including logography.

Another type of writing system with systematic syllabic linear symbols, the abugidas, is discussed below as well.

As logographic writing systems use a single symbol for an entire word, a syllabary is a set of sum symbols that represent or approximate syllables, which make up words. A symbol in a syllabary typically represents a consonant sound followed by a vowel sound, or just a vowel alone.

In a "true syllabary", there is no systematic graphic similarity between phonetically related characters though some do have graphic similarity for the vowels. That is, the characters for /ke/, /ka/ and /ko/ have no similarity to indicate their common "k" sound voiceless velar plosive. More recent creations such as the Cree syllabary embody a system of varying signs, which can best be seen when arranging the syllabogram set in an onsetcoda or onset–rime table.

Syllabaries are best suited to languages with relatively simple syllable structure, such as Japanese. The English language, on the other hand, lets complex syllable structures, with a relatively large inventory of vowels and complex consonant clusters, creating it cumbersome to write English words with a syllabary. To write English using a syllabary, every possible syllable in English would have to have a separate symbol, and whereas the number of possible syllables in Japanese is around 100, in English there are approximately 15,000 to 16,000.

However, syllabaries with much larger inventories do exist. The Yi script, for example, contains 756 different symbols or 1,164, if symbols with a particular tone diacritic are counted as separate syllables, as in Unicode. The Chinese script, when used to write Middle Chinese and the modern varieties of Chinese, also represents syllables, and includes separate glyphs for nearly all of the many thousands of syllables in Middle Chinese; however, because it primarily represents morphemes and includes different characters to represent homophonous morphemes with different meanings, it is normally considered a logographic program rather than a syllabary.

Other languages that use true syllabaries include Mycenaean Greek Linear B and Indigenous languages of the Americas such as Cherokee. Several languages of the Ancient Near East used forms of cuneiform, which is a syllabary with some non-syllabic elements.

An alphabet is a small set of letters basic written symbols, each of which roughly represents or represented historically a segmental phoneme of a spoken language. The word alphabet is derived from alpha and beta, the number one two symbols of the Greek alphabet.

The first type of alphabet that was developed was the abjad. An abjad is an alphabetic writing system where there is one symbol per consonant. Abjads differ from other alphabets in that they have characters only for consonantal sounds. Vowels are not usually marked in abjads. All known abjads except maybe Tifinagh belong to the Semitic family of scripts, and derive from the original Northern Linear Abjad. The reason for this is that Semitic languages and the related Berber languages have a morphemic structure which makes the denotation of vowels redundant in most cases.

Some abjads, like Arabic and Hebrew, have markings for vowels as well. However, they use them only in special contexts, such as for teaching. Many scripts derived from abjads have been extended with vowel symbols to become full alphabets. Of these, the most famous exmple is the derivation of the Greek alphabet from the Phoenician abjad. This has mostly happened when the code was adapted to a non-Semitic language. The term abjad takes its name from the old order of the Arabic alphabet's consonants 'alif, bā', jīm, dāl, though the word may have earlier roots in Phoenician or Ugaritic. "Abjad" is still the word for alphabet in Arabic, Malay and Indonesian.