Category: Writing Systems

How could Byzantine writers re-introduce the subscript iota and the breathings, which were long gone at the time?

By: | Post date: 2017-07-15 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Mediaeval Greek, Writing Systems

From An introduction to Greek and Latin palaeography : Thompson, Edward Maunde, Sir, (1912), pp. 61–62, My summary: The breathings and accents were invented by Aristophanes of Byzantium, ca 200 BC—when the breathings and accents were still being pronounced. It is believed that they were promoted for the teaching of literary Greek, precisely because they […]

Does the use of line breaks in text incentivize (critical) thinking?

By: | Post date: 2017-07-10 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: General Language, Writing Systems

I think you could argue the reverse, if anything, though I still think that linebreaks are preferable anyway. Let me take an historical approach to this. We use space and punctuation and typography to chop up written discourse into digestible units. Once we have these units, we use our thinking to build up a model […]

Did ancient Greek scholars ever adapt Roman numerals?

By: | Post date: 2017-06-07 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Mediaeval Greek, Writing Systems

Greeks did not adopt Roman numerals, like, ever. (“Roman Numerals? We taught those beef eaters everything they know!”) Where the West uses Roman numerals, Greek continues to use Greek numerals; see examples in Nick Nicholas’ answer to Is it possible to shorten the ordinal numbers in modern Greek? I’m honestly not aware of any tradition […]

Is it possible to shorten the ordinal numbers in modern Greek?

By: | Post date: 2017-06-06 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Modern Greek, Writing Systems

The traditional way of doing that is to use a Greek numeral; you could use them indiscriminately for ordinals, cardinals, and in antiquity even multiplicatives. So World War II, Henry VIII: Βʹ Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος, Ερρίκος ο Ηʹ, which are in fact read out loud as Δεύτερος Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος, Ερρίκος ο Όγδοος, with ordinals and not […]

Why are unicode characters outside the BMP called astral?

By: | Post date: 2017-06-05 | Comments: 2 Comments
Posted in categories: Other Languages, Writing Systems

Thank you for the A2A, Jelle Zijlstra, and why do I suspect that you’ve read my page Astral Planes? There’s 17 * 65536 characters in Unicode. Each 65536 characters is called a Plane. The first plane, the BMP, is the plane that most characters you will ever encounter are in. Only two other planes are […]

What’s the most unusual script/alphabet?

By: | Post date: 2017-06-01 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Other Languages, Writing Systems

A close companion to What in your opinion is the ugliest/most unappealing script? Cultural familiarity is going to defuse anyone’s opinion; so you won’t get many responses nominating Latin, or anything originating on the same continent as Latin. Is it Lontara alphabet, optimised to be written on palm leaves? Is it Vai syllabary, which aesthetically […]

How did it come to the letter Y (ypsilon) having the sound value of a consonant?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-31 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: English, Writing Systems

That outcome of <y> is specific to English, and as Y – Wikipedia says, it is through the influence of the obsolete English letter yogh, which was conflated with <y>: Yogh – Wikipedia The letter yogh (Ȝ ȝ; Middle English: yoȝ) was used in Middle English and Older Scots, representing y (/j/) and various velar […]

Are the many “i”-like combinations in modern Greek comparable to the “yat” and many “i”-sounding letters in old Russian orthography?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-27 | Comments: 3 Comments
Posted in categories: Modern Greek, Other Languages, Writing Systems

There is one major similarity between the Old Cyrillic and Greek alphabets: originally, both were (mostly) phonemic, but several of the distinct sounds represented by different letters merged later on, so that there was two or more ways of representing the same phoneme with different letters. So the letter Yat seems to have originally represented […]

When was it a rule that double rhos (Greek letters – ῤῥ) should be written with smooth and rough breathing marks and when did the rule change?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-22 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Linguistics, Writing Systems There’s a reason Konstantinos Konstantinides never heard of this practice: it had dropped out of use in Modern Greek early in the 20th century. As in fact had the initial rough breathing on rho. The ῤῥ orthography used to be regular in Western typography, but has long since fallen out of use; from memory, […]

Is there any font for writing in cuneiform?

By: | Post date: 2017-05-18 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Other Languages, Writing Systems

Every once in a while, I take offence at the possibility that any Unicode script might not be rendered on my Mac—even if I never use the script, will never see the script, and will have no idea what the script even is. And I go hunting for free fonts. There are five cuneiform blocks […]

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