Writing system

scriptwriting systemsscriptswritingleft-to-rightleft to rightwriting scriptnon-linearnotationwriting direction
A writing system is any conventional method of visually representing verbal communication.wikipedia
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Writing

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While both writing and speech are useful in conveying messages, writing differs in also being a reliable form of information storage and transfer.
The major writing systems—methods of inscription—broadly fall into five categories: logographic, syllabic, alphabetic, featural, and ideographic (symbols for ideas).

Alphabet

alphabeticalphabetsalphabetical
The general attributes of writing systems can be placed into broad categories such as alphabets, syllabaries, or logographies.
This is in contrast to other types of writing systems, such as syllabaries (in which each character represents a syllable) and logographic systems (in which each character represents a word, morpheme, or semantic unit).

Grapheme

graphemescharacterscharacter
In the alphabetic category, there is a standard set of letters (basic written symbols or graphemes) of consonants and vowels that encode based on the general principle that the letters (or letter pair/groups) represent speech sounds. at least one set of rules and conventions (orthography) understood and shared by a community, which assigns meaning to the base elements (graphemes), their ordering and relations to one another;
In linguistics, a grapheme is the smallest unit of a writing system of any given language.

Abugida

abugidasalphasyllabaryalphasyllabaries
Other categories include abjads, which differ from alphabets in that vowels are not indicated, and abugidas or alphasyllabaries, with each character representing a consonant–vowel pairing.
An abugida (from Ge'ez: አቡጊዳ ’abugida), or alphasyllabary, is a segmental writing system in which consonant–vowel sequences are written as a unit: each unit is based on a consonant letter, and vowel notation is secondary.

Logogram

logographiclogographlogograms
The general attributes of writing systems can be placed into broad categories such as alphabets, syllabaries, or logographies.
The use of logograms in writing is called logography. A writing system that is based on logograms is called a logographic system.

Syllabary

syllabicsyllabariessyllabic script
The general attributes of writing systems can be placed into broad categories such as alphabets, syllabaries, or logographies.
A writing system using a syllabary is complete when it covers all syllables in the corresponding spoken language without requiring complex orthographic / graphemic rules, like implicit codas ( ⇒ /C 1 VC 2 /) silent vowels ( ⇒ /C 1 V 1 C 2 /) or echo vowels ( ⇒ /C 1 V 1 C 2 /). This loosely corresponds to shallow orthographies in alphabetic writing systems.

Pictogram

pictographpictographspictograms
Writing systems were preceded by proto-writing, which used pictograms, ideograms and other mnemonic symbols.
Pictography is a form of writing which uses representational, pictorial drawings, similarly to cuneiform and, to some extent, hieroglyphic writing, which also uses drawings as phonetic letters or determinative rhymes.

Proto-writing

(proto-)writingearliest forms of writingglyphs
Writing systems were preceded by proto-writing, which used pictograms, ideograms and other mnemonic symbols.
They used ideographic or early mnemonic symbols or both to represent a limited number of concepts, in contrast to true writing systems, which record the language of the writer.

Latin script

LatinLatin alphabetRoman
The creation of a new alphabetic writing system for a language with an existing logographic writing system is called alphabetization, as when the People's Republic of China studied the prospect of alphabetizing the Chinese languages with Latin script, Cyrillic script, Arabic script, and even numbers, although the most common instance of it, converting to Latin script, is usually called romanization.
Latin or Roman script is a set of graphic signs (script) based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet.

Cyrillic script

CyrillicUzbek CyrillicCyrillic alphabet
The creation of a new alphabetic writing system for a language with an existing logographic writing system is called alphabetization, as when the People's Republic of China studied the prospect of alphabetizing the Chinese languages with Latin script, Cyrillic script, Arabic script, and even numbers, although the most common instance of it, converting to Latin script, is usually called romanization.
The Cyrillic script is a writing system used for various alphabets across Eurasia, particularly in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and North Asia.

Arabic script

ArabicArabic alphabetArabic alphabets
The creation of a new alphabetic writing system for a language with an existing logographic writing system is called alphabetization, as when the People's Republic of China studied the prospect of alphabetizing the Chinese languages with Latin script, Cyrillic script, Arabic script, and even numbers, although the most common instance of it, converting to Latin script, is usually called romanization.
The Arabic script is the writing system used for writing Arabic and several other languages of Asia and Africa, such as Azerbaijani, Sindhi, Pashto, Persian, Kurdish, Lurish, Urdu, Mandinka, and others.

Oral tradition

oral traditionsoral cultureoral transmission
The invention of writing systems, which dates back to the beginning of the Bronze Age in the late Neolithic Era of the late 4th millennium BC, enabled the accurate durable recording of human history in a manner that was not prone to the same types of error to which oral history is vulnerable.
In this way, it is possible for a society to transmit oral history, oral literature, oral law and other knowledge across generations without a writing system, or in parallel to a writing system.

Romanization

romanizedromanizeromanisation
The creation of a new alphabetic writing system for a language with an existing logographic writing system is called alphabetization, as when the People's Republic of China studied the prospect of alphabetizing the Chinese languages with Latin script, Cyrillic script, Arabic script, and even numbers, although the most common instance of it, converting to Latin script, is usually called romanization.
Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics, is the conversion of writing from a different writing system to the Roman (Latin) script, or a system for doing so. Methods of romanization include transliteration, for representing written text, and transcription, for representing the spoken word, and combinations of both.

Numeral system

numeralsnumeralbase
Some other symbols, such as numerals and the ampersand, are not directly linked to any specific language, but are often used in writing and thus must be considered part of writing systems.
A numeral system (or system of numeration) is a writing system for expressing numbers; that is, a mathematical notation for representing numbers of a given set, using digits or other symbols in a consistent manner.

Letter case

minusculemajusculelowercase
For example, in the Latin-based writing system of standard contemporary English, examples of graphemes include the majuscule and minuscule forms of the twenty-six letters of the alphabet (corresponding to various phonemes), marks of punctuation (mostly non-phonemic), and a few other symbols such as those for numerals (logograms for numbers).
The writing systems that distinguish between the upper and lower case have two parallel sets of letters, with each letter in one set usually having an equivalent in the other set.

Ideogram

ideographicideogramsideograph
Writing systems were preceded by proto-writing, which used pictograms, ideograms and other mnemonic symbols.
The term "ideogram" is often used to describe symbols of writing systems such as Egyptian hieroglyphs, Sumerian cuneiform and Chinese characters.

Reading

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The processes of encoding and decoding writing systems involve shared understanding between writers and readers of the meaning behind the sets of characters that make up a script.
Other types of reading are not speech based writing systems, such as music notation or pictograms.

Egyptian hieroglyphs

hieroglyphichieroglyphicshieroglyphs
The Sumerian archaic cuneiform script and the Egyptian hieroglyphs are generally considered the earliest writing systems, both emerging out of their ancestral proto-literate symbol systems from 3400 to 3200 BC with earliest coherent texts from about 2600 BC.
Egyptian hieroglyphs were the formal writing system used in Ancient Egypt.

Braille

braille alphabetbraille codebraille script
The glyphs of most writing systems are made up of lines (or strokes) and are therefore called linear, but there are glyphs in non-linear writing systems made up of other types of marks, such as Cuneiform and Braille.
Braille is a tactile writing system used by people who are visually impaired.

Abjad

consonantal alphabetSemitic abjadsabjads
Other categories include abjads, which differ from alphabets in that vowels are not indicated, and abugidas or alphasyllabaries, with each character representing a consonant–vowel pairing.
An abjad (pronounced or ) is a type of writing system where each symbol or glyph stands for a consonant, leaving the reader to supply the appropriate vowel.

Latin alphabet

LatinRomanLatin letters
The Latin alphabet, a direct descendant, is by far the most common writing system in use.
The Latin or Roman alphabet is the writing system originally used by the ancient Romans to write the Latin language.

Orthography

orthographicorthographiesorthographically
at least one set of rules and conventions (orthography) understood and shared by a community, which assigns meaning to the base elements (graphemes), their ordering and relations to one another;
Most natural languages developed as oral languages, and writing systems have usually been crafted or adapted as ways of representing the spoken language.

Vowel

vowelsvowel heightV
In the alphabetic category, there is a standard set of letters (basic written symbols or graphemes) of consonants and vowels that encode based on the general principle that the letters (or letter pair/groups) represent speech sounds.
The name "vowel" is often used for the symbols that represent vowel sounds in a language's writing system, particularly if the language uses an alphabet.

Indus script

their scriptHarappan scriptHarappan seals
Early Indus script, c. 3500 BC.
Most inscriptions containing these symbols are extremely short, making it difficult to judge whether or not these symbols constituted a script used to record a language, or even symbolise a writing system.

Featural writing system

featuralfeatural alphabetfeatural script
In a featural writing system, the shapes of the symbols (such as letters) are not arbitrary but encode phonological features of the phonemes that they represent.