Writing system

scriptwriting systemsscriptswritingleft-to-rightleft to rightwriting directionwriting scriptnon-linearnotation
A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication.wikipedia
748 Related Articles

Alphabet

alphabeticalphabetsalphabetical
Writing systems can be placed into broad categories such as alphabets, syllabaries, or logographies, although any particular system may have attributes of more than one category. Orthography refers to the method and rules of observed writing structure (literal meaning, "correct writing"), and particularly for alphabetic systems, includes the concept of spelling.
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).

Letter (alphabet)

letterlettersbookstaff
In the alphabetic category, a standard set of letters represent speech sounds.
A letter is a segmental symbol of a phonemic writing system.

Abugida

abugidasalphasyllabaryalphasyllabaries
Abjads differ from alphabets in that vowels are not indicated, and in abugidas or alphasyllabaries each character represents 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.

Writing

writtentextwrite
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).

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.

Oral tradition

oral traditionsoral cultureoral
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.

Proto-writing

proto-literateUrnfield culture numerals(proto-)writing
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.

Numeral system

numeralsnumeralnumeration
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.

Syllabary

syllabicsyllabariessyllabic script
Writing systems can be placed into broad categories such as alphabets, syllabaries, or logographies, although any particular system may have attributes of more than one category.
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 /).

Grapheme

graphemescharacterscharacter
A grapheme is a specific base unit of a writing system.
In linguistics, a grapheme is the smallest unit of a writing system of any given language.

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.

Arabic script

ArabicPerso-Arabic scriptPerso-Arabic
Writing systems can be independent from languages, one can have multiple writing systems for a language, e.g., Hindi and Urdu; and one can also have one writing system for multiple languages, e.g., the Arabic script.
The Arabic or Perso-Arabic script is a writing system used for writing Arabic and several other languages of Asia and Africa, such as Persian, Kurdish, Azerbaijani, Sindhi, Balochi, Pashto, Lurish, Urdu and Mandinka.

Reading

readReading (process)reader
Writing systems require 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.

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.

Egyptian hieroglyphs

hieroglyphicshieroglyphichieroglyphs
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 typewriterBraille code
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

Semitic abjadsconsonantal alphabetabjads
Abjads differ from alphabets in that vowels are not indicated, and in abugidas or alphasyllabaries each character represents 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

LatinRoman alphabetRoman
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.

Symbolic communication

symbolicSymbolic communication systems
Writing systems are distinguished from other possible symbolic communication systems in that a writing system is always associated with at least one spoken language.
Shared writing systems were then developed leading to adaptable alphabets.

Orthography

orthographicorthographiesorthographically
Orthography refers to the method and rules of observed writing structure (literal meaning, "correct writing"), and particularly for alphabetic systems, includes the concept of spelling.
Most natural languages developed as oral languages, and writing systems have usually been crafted or adapted as ways of representing the spoken language.

Indus script

Indus Valley scriptHarappan scriptancient India
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.

Vinča symbols

Vinča signsOld European scriptVinča script
The vast majority of historians agree that those symbols are not a writing system, but private symbols or ornaments of some kind.

Logogram

logographiclogographlogograms
Writing systems can be placed into broad categories such as alphabets, syllabaries, or logographies, although any particular system may have attributes of more than one category.
The use of logograms in writing is called logography, and a writing system that is based on logograms is called a logographic system.

Maya script

Emblem GlyphhieroglyphsMayan hieroglyphs
Common usage varies from discipline to discipline; compare cuneiform sign, Maya glyph, Chinese character.
Maya script, also known as Maya glyphs, was the writing system of the Maya civilization of Mesoamerica and is the only Mesoamerican writing system that has been substantially deciphered.