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A digraph or digram (from the el, δίς ', "double" and ', "to write") is a pair of
character Character(s) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Character'' (novel), a 1936 Dutch novel by Ferdinand Bordewijk * ''Characters'' (Theophrastus), a classical Greek set of character sketches attributed to Theophrastus M ...
s used in the
orthography An orthography is a set of convention (norm), conventions for writing a language, including norms of spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, word, word breaks, Emphasis (typography), emphasis, and punctuation. Most transnational languages in the ...
of a
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and ...

language
to write either a single
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
(distinct sound), or a sequence of phonemes that does not correspond to the normal values of the two characters combined. Some digraphs represent phonemes that cannot be represented with a single character in the writing system of a language, like the English '' sh'' in ''ship'' and ''fish''. Other digraphs represent phonemes that can also be represented by single characters. A digraph that shares its pronunciation with a single character may be a relic from an earlier period of the language when the digraph had a different pronunciation, or may represent a distinction that is made only in certain
dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of phenomena: * One usage refers to a of a that is a characteristic of a particular group of ...
s, like the English '' wh''. Some such digraphs are used for purely
etymological Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' (''ODE'') is a single-volume English dictionary A dictionary is a listing of lexemes from the lexicon of one or more specific languages, often arra ...
reasons, like '' rh'' in English. Digraphs are used in some
Romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign lan ...
schemes, like the '' zh'' often used to represent the
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
letter
ж
ж
. As an alternative to digraphs, orthographies and Romanization schemes sometimes use letters with
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph added to a letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A sy ...
s, like the Czech and Slovak '' š'', which has the same function as the English digraph ''sh,'' like the Romanian ''Ț'', which has the same function as the ''Slavic C'' ,'' the letter ''Ť'' that is used in Czech and Slovak, which has the same function as the Hungarian digraph ''Ty'', and the letter with the cedilla in a few Turkic languages that have the same function as the letter with the cedilla below followed by the letter h in English, for example, ''ç'' will become ''ch'' in English, and ''ş'' will become ''sh'' in English. In some languages' orthographies, digraphs (and occasionally trigraphs) are considered individual
letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, Object (philosophy ...
s, which means that they have their own place in the
alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic ...

alphabet
and cannot be separated into their constituent
grapheme In linguistics, a grapheme is the smallest functional unit of a writing system. The word ''grapheme'', coined in analogy with ''phoneme'', is derived , and the suffix ''-eme'' by analogy with ''phoneme'' and other names of emic units. The study ...

grapheme
s when
sorting Sorting is any process of arranging items systematically, and has two common, yet distinct meanings: # ordering Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness, a desire for organization * Categorization, the process in which ideas and o ...
, abbreviating or
hyphen The hyphen is a punctuation mark used to join word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (li ...
ating words. Examples of this are found in Hungarian (''cs, dz, dzs, gy, ly, ny, sz, ty, zs''), Czech (''ch''), Slovak (''ch'', ''dz'', ''dž''), Albanian (''dh'', ''gj'', ''ll'', ''nj'', ''rr'', ''sh'', ''th'', ''xh'', ''zh''),
Gaj's Latin alphabet Gaj's Latin alphabet ( sh, abeceda, latinica, gajica) is the form of the Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is a set of graphic signs (Writing system#General properties, script) based on the letters of the classical Latin ...
(''lj, nj, dž''), and in Uzbek before the 2021 reform ''(sh, ch, ng)'', but still uses the ''ng'' digraph and the replacement of the digraph ''ts'' to the letter C. Kazakh also used a form of the Latin alphabet where there are a few digraphs and one tetragraph, specifically the 2018 version of the Kazakh latin alphabet ''(sh, ch, shch, ıo)'', and there is still one digraph in the new version of the Latin alphabet ''(şç)''. In Dutch, when the digraph '' ij'' is capitalized, both characters are written in uppercase form (''IJ''). In the Māori language, there are two digraphs in the language that are still part of the alphabet, which is ''ng'' and ''wh''. In
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
, there are eight digraphs that exist in the official alphabet ''(ch, dd, ff, ng, ll, ph, rh, th)''. In Maltese, there are two digraphs part of the official alphabet (''għ'' and ''ie''). Romanization of the Cyrillic alphabet, especially those used in some Slavic languages, including Russian, resulted in some letters sometimes becoming digraphs, which are the letters (ё, ж, х, ц, ч, ш, щ, ю, я) and can be transliterated into (''jo/yo'', ''zh, kh, ts, ch, sh, shch, yu/ju, ya/ja''), while sometimes romanizing the letters is done by adding adding diacritics, except for kh and ts, which for kh, sometimes becoming ch or x, and ts sometimes become c (ë, ž, č, š), still with some digraphs (šč, ju/yu, ja/ya). The Czech alphabet used to have a lot of digraphs a few hundred years ago, but through evolution, those digraphs eventually become letters with diacritics, although the Czech language still kept some as those letters with diacritics cannot make the pronunciations of the respective digraphs (ch, dz, dž), which is also the same case with the Slovak alphabet, having a lot of digraphs in the alphabet, and then evolving to become a diacritical letter, and keeping some when the diacritical letters can't make the pronunciation of the respective digraphs. Digraphs may develop into
ligature Ligature may refer to: * Ligature (medicine), a piece of suture used to shut off a blood vessel or other anatomical structure ** Ligature (orthodontic), used in dentistry * Ligature (music), an element of musical notation used especially in the med ...
s, but this is a distinct concept: a ligature involves a graphical combination of two characters, as when ''a'' and ''e'' are fused into ''
æ
æ
'', and as when o and e are fused into œ. Those two ligatures are still used in some languages. Æ is usually used in Scandinavian languages, specifically Icelandic, Norwegian, and Danish. Swedish used to have the letter Æ, but this letter has been changed to become Ä. Œ is usually used in French, but is usually typed in two keystrokes (OE/oe), instead of a special key in the French keyboard or using the AltGr key. In Canada, the keyboard layout (Canadian Multilingual Standard) is modified so that it can use the right Ctrl key to get more characters, including the œ and other foreign characters, sometimes a dead key to input a few kinds of diacritics on some letters to type in the language that use the diacritic in question. The digraph ''ij'' is a special case, especially in Dutch, as when it is handwritten, the capital version (IJ) becomes very similar if not indistinguishable to the cursive letter Y, but if it is written in the regular, lower case version, it will look like a Y with a diaeresis/umlaut (ÿ). Digraph Ьj — became digraph .


Double letters

Digraphs may consist of two different characters (heterogeneous digraphs) or two instances of the same character (homogeneous digraphs). In the latter case, they are generally called double (or doubled) letters. Doubled
vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing system using symbols for syllables * ...

vowel
letters are commonly used to indicate a
long vowel In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
sound. This is the case in
Finnish Finnish may refer to: * Something or someone from, or related to Finland * Finnish culture * Finnish people or Finns, the primary ethnic group in Finland * Finnish language, the national language of the Finnish people * Finnish cuisine See also

...
and
Estonian Estonian may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Estonia, a country in the Baltic region in northern Europe *Estonians, people from Estonia, or of Estonian descent *Estonian language *Estonian cuisine *Estonian culture See also

* * La ...
, for instance, where represents a longer version of the vowel denoted by , represents a longer version of the vowel denoted by , and so on. In
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the Wor ...
, the sequences and were used in a similar way, to represent lengthened "e" and "o" sounds respectively; both spellings have been retained in modern
English orthography English orthography is the system of writing conventions used to represent spoken English Dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") is used in two distinct ways ...
, but the
Great Vowel Shift The Great Vowel Shift was a series of changes in the pronunciation of the English language that took place primarily between 1400 and 1700, beginning in southern England and today having influenced effectively all dialects of English. Through ...

Great Vowel Shift
and other historical sound changes mean that the modern pronunciations are quite different from the original ones. Doubled
consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sig ...
letters can also be used to indicate a long or
geminated In phonetics and phonology, gemination (), or consonant lengthening (from Latin ''geminatio'' "doubling", itself from ''Gemini (constellation), gemini'' "twins"), is an articulation of a consonant for a longer period of time than that of a singlet ...

geminated
consonant sound. In
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...
, for example, consonants written double are pronounced longer than single ones. This was the original use of doubled consonant letters in
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventu ...
, but during the
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the Wor ...
and
Early Modern English Early Modern English or Early New English (sometimes abbreviated EModE, EMnE, or EME) is the stage of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early ...
period, phonemic consonant length was lost and a spelling convention developed in which a doubled consonant serves to indicate that a preceding vowel is to be pronounced short. In modern English, for example, the of ''tapping'' differentiates the first vowel sound from that of ''taping''. In rare cases, doubled consonant letters represent a true geminate consonant in modern English; this may occur when two instances of the same consonant come from different
morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful lexical item in a language. A morpheme is not a word. The difference between a morpheme and a word is that a morpheme bound and free morphemes, sometimes does not stand alone, but a word on this definition alw ...
s, for example in ''unnatural'' (''un''+''natural''). In some cases, the sound represented by a doubled consonant letter is distinguished in some other way than length from the sound of the corresponding single consonant letter: *In
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
and Greenlandic, stands for a voiceless
lateral consonant A lateral is a consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tongue; , prono ...
, while in
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
and
Catalan Catalan may refer to: Catalonia From, or related to Catalonia: * Catalan language, a Romance language * Catalans, an ethnic group formed by the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia * Països Catalans, territories where Catalan is spoken * Ca ...
it stands for a
palatal consonant Palatal consonants are consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tong ...

palatal consonant
. *In several languages of western Europe, including English,
French
French
,
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
and Catalan, the digraph is used between vowels to represent the voiceless sibilant , since an alone between vowels normally represents the voiced sibilant . *In Spanish, Catalan, and Basque, is used between vowels for the
alveolar trill The voiced alveolar trill is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the f ...
, since an alone between vowels represents an
alveolar flap The voiced alveolar tap or flap is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the ...

alveolar flap
(the two are different phonemes in those languages). *In Spanish, the digraph formerly indicated (a
palatal nasal The voiced palatal nasal is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the fro ...

palatal nasal
); it developed into the
letter ñ
letter ñ
. *In
Basque Basque may refer to: * Basques The Basques ( or ; eu, euskaldunak ; es, vascos ; french: basques ) are a Southern European ethnic group, characterised by the Basque language, a Basque culture, common culture and shared genetic ancestry to the ...
, double consonant letters generally mark palatalized versions of the single consonant letter, as in , , . However, is a trill that contrasts with the single-letter flap, as in Spanish, and the palatal version of is written . In several European writing systems, including the English one, the doubling of the letter or is represented as the heterogeneous digraph instead of or respectively. In native German words, the doubling of , which corresponds to , is replaced by the digraph .


Pan-dialectical digraphs

Some languages have a unified orthography with digraphs that represent distinct pronunciations in different dialects (
diaphoneme A diaphoneme is an abstract phonological unit that identifies a correspondence between related sounds of two or more varieties of a language or language cluster. For example, some English varieties contrast the vowel of ''late'' () with that o ...
s). For example, in
Breton Breton most often refers to: *anything associated with Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo language, Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula and cultural region in the west of France, covering the western part ...
there is a digraph that represents in most dialects, but in ''Vannetais.'' Similarly, the
Saintongeais
Saintongeais
dialect of French has a digraph that represents in words that correspond to in standard French. Similarly, Catalan has a digraph that represents in
Eastern Catalan The dialects of the Catalan language , former president of Catalonia, discussing individual identity, collective identity and language. Catalan (; Endonym, autonym: ; ), known in the Valencian Community and Carche as Valencian, is a Western R ...
, but or in Western Catalan
Valencian Valencian () or Valencian language () is the official, historical and traditional name used in the Valencian Community The Valencian Community ( ca-valencia, Comunitat Valenciana, es, Comunidad Valenciana), or simply Valencia ( ca-valencia, ...
.


Split digraphs

The pair of letters making up a phoneme are not always adjacent. This is the case with English
silent e In English orthography English orthography is the system of writing conventions used to represent spoken English Dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") is ...
. For example, the sequence ''a...e'' has the sound in English ''cake.'' This is the result of three historical sound changes: ''cake'' was originally , the
open syllable Open or OPEN may refer to: Music * Open (band) Open is a band. Background Drummer Pete Neville has been involved in the Sydney/Australian music scene for a number of years. He has recently completed a Masters in screen music at the Australian ...
came to be pronounced with a
long vowel In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
, and later the final
schwa In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis inc ...
dropped off, leaving . Later still, the vowel became . There are six such digraphs in English, . However, alphabets may also be designed with discontinuous digraphs. In the
Tatar The Tatars (; tt, , , , crh, tatarlar; otk, 𐱃𐱃𐰺, Tatar) is an umbrella term for different Turkic peoples, Turkic ethnic groups bearing the name "Tatar." Initially, the ethnonym ''Tatar'' possibly referred to the Tatar confederation ...
Cyrillic alphabet , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system used in Ancient Egypt, used ...
, for example, the letter ''ю'' is used to write both and . Usually the difference is evident from the rest of the word, but when it is not, the sequence ''ю...ь'' is used for , as in ''юнь'' 'cheap'. The Indic alphabets are distinctive for their discontinuous vowels, such as Thai เ...อ in เกอ . Technically, however, they may be considered
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph added to a letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A sy ...
s, not full letters; whether they are digraphs is thus a matter of definition.


Ambiguous letter sequences

Some letter pairs should not be interpreted as digraphs but appear because of
compounding In the field of pharmacy, compounding (performed in compounding pharmacies) is preparation of a custom formulation of a medication to fit a unique need of a patient that cannot be met with commercially available products. This may be done for med ...
: ''hogshead'' and ''cooperate''. They are often not marked in any way and so must be memorized as exceptions. Some authors, however, indicate it either by breaking up the digraph with a
hyphen The hyphen is a punctuation mark used to join word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (li ...
, as in ''hogs-head'', ''co-operate'', or with a trema mark, as in ''coöperate'', but the use of the diaeresis has declined in English within the last century. When it occurs in names such as
Clapham Clapham () is a district of South London South London is the informally defined southern part of London London is the and of and the . It stands on the in south-east England at the head of a down to the , and has been a major ...
, Townshend and Hartshorne, it is never marked in any way. Positional alternative glyphs may help to disambiguate in certain cases: when round, was used as a final variant of long , and the English digraph resembling would always be . In
romanization of Japanese The romanization of Japanese is the use of Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is a set of graphic signs (Writing system#General properties, script) based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet. This is derived from ...
, the constituent sounds (
morae A mora (plural ''morae'' or ''moras''; often symbolized μ) is a unit in phonology that describes syllable weight, which in some languages determines stress (linguistics), stress or timing (linguistics), timing. A mora is a sound which comes after ...
) are usually indicated by digraphs, but some are indicated by a single letter, and some with a trigraph. The case of ambiguity is the syllabic , which is written as ''n'' (or sometimes ''m''), except before vowels or ''y'' where it is followed by an
apostrophe The apostrophe ( or ) is a punctuation mark, and sometimes a diacritical mark, in languages that use the Latin alphabet and some other alphabets. In English, it is used for three purposes: * The marking of the omission of one or more letters (a ...

apostrophe
as ''n’''. For example, the given name じゅんいちろう is romanized as Jun’ichirō, so that it is parsed as "Jun-i-chi-rou", rather than as "Ju-ni-chi-rou". A similar use of the apostrophe is seen in
pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of la ...

pinyin
where 嫦娥 is written
Chang'e Chang'e (, unofficially rendered as Chang-Er or Chang-o for simpler pronunciation), originally known as Heng'e, is the Chinese Lunar deity, goddess of the Moon. She is the subject of several legends in Chinese mythology, most of which incorporate ...
because the g belongs to the final (-ang) of the first syllable, not to the initial of the second syllable. Without the apostrophe, Change would be understood as the syllable chan (final -an) followed by the syllable ge (initial g-). In several
Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are spoken primarily by the or their descendants. They are thought to descend from a called , spoken during the , which in turn is thought to have descended from the earlier , lin ...

Slavic languages
, e.g.
Czech Czech may refer to: * Anything from or related to the Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A countr ...
, double letters may appear in compound words, but they are not considered digraphs. Examples: ''bezzubý'' ‘toothless’, ''cenný'' ‘valuable’, ''černooký'' ‘black-eyed’.


In alphabetization

In some languages, certain digraphs and trigraphs are counted as distinct letters in themselves, and assigned to a specific place in the
alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic ...

alphabet
, separate from that of the sequence of characters that composes them, for purposes of
orthography An orthography is a set of convention (norm), conventions for writing a language, including norms of spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, word, word breaks, Emphasis (typography), emphasis, and punctuation. Most transnational languages in the ...
and
collation Collation is the assembly of written information into a standard order. Many systems of collation are based on numerical order or alphabetical order, or extensions and combinations thereof. Collation is a fundamental element of most office fili ...
. For example: *In the Gaj’s Latin alphabet used to write
Serbo-Croatian Serbo-Croatian () – also called Serbo-Croat (), Serbo-Croat-Bosnian (SCB), Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS), and Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian (BCMS) – is a South Slavic language The South Slavic languages are one of three branches ...
, the digraphs , and , which correspond to the single
Cyrillic letters , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system A writing system is a method ...
, , , are treated as distinct letters. *In the
Czech Czech may refer to: * Anything from or related to the Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A countr ...
and
Slovak Slovak may refer to: * Something from, related to, or belonging to Slovakia (''Slovenská republika'') * Slovaks, a Western Slavic ethnic group * Slovak language, an Indo-European language that belongs to the West Slavic languages * Slovak, Arkans ...

Slovak
alphabet, is treated as a distinct letter, coming after in the alphabet. Also, in the
Slovak alphabet The first Slovak orthography was proposed by Anton Bernolák (1762–1813) in his ''Dissertatio philologico-critica de litteris Slavorum'', used in the six-volume ''Slovak-Czech-Latin-German-Hungarian Dictionary'' (1825–1927) and used primarily ...

Slovak alphabet
the relatively rare digraphs and are treated as distinct letters. *In the
Danish and Norwegian alphabetThe Danish and Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway *Demographics of Norway *The Norwegian ...
, the former digraph , where it appears in older names, is sorted as if it were the letter , which replaced it. *In the
Norwegian alphabet Norwegian orthography is the method of writing the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language spoken mainly in Norway, where it is an official language. Along with Swedish langu ...
, there are several digraphs and letter combinations representing an isolated sound. *In the
Dutch alphabet Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
, the digraph is sometimes written as a
ligature Ligature may refer to: * Ligature (medicine), a piece of suture used to shut off a blood vessel or other anatomical structure ** Ligature (orthodontic), used in dentistry * Ligature (music), an element of musical notation used especially in the med ...
and may be sorted with (in the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
, though not usually in
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the ...

Belgium
); however, regardless of where it is used, when a Dutch word starting with 'ij' is capitalized, the entire digraph is capitalized (''
IJmeer The IJmeer is a 'Bordering lakes, bordering lake' (''Randmeer'') in the Netherlands. It lies between the De Nes polder (in Waterland), Pampushaven, Hollandse Brug and the mouth of the IJ (Amsterdam), IJ in IJburg, straddling the provinces of North ...

IJmeer
'', ''
IJmuiden IJmuiden () is a small port city in the Netherlands, Dutch province of North Holland. It is the main town in the municipality of Velsen which lies mainly to the south-east. Including its large sea locks, it straddles the mouth of the North S ...
''). Other Dutch digraphs are never treated as single letters. *In Hungarian alphabet, Hungarian, the digraphs Hungarian cs, , Hungarian dz, , Hungarian gy, , Hungarian ly, , Hungarian ny, , Hungarian sz, , Hungarian ty, , Hungarian zs, , and the trigraph Hungarian dzs, , have their own places in the alphabet (where follows , and follow , etc.) *In Spanish alphabet, Spanish, the digraphs and were formerly treated as distinct letters, but are now split into their constituent letters. *In Welsh alphabet, Welsh, the alphabet includes the digraphs , , ff (digraph), , , ng (digraph), , ph (digraph), , rh (digraph), , th (digraph), . However, mh (digraph), , nh (digraph), and ngh (letter), , which represent Consonant mutation, mutated voiceless consonants, are not treated as distinct letters. *In the romanization of several Slavic countries that use the Cyrillic script, letters like ш, ж, and ч might be written as ch, zh and sh, however sometimes the result of the romanization might modify a letter to be a diacritical letter instead of a digraph. *In Maltese alphabet, Maltese, two digraphs are used, għ which comes right after g, and ie which comes right after i. Most other languages, including English, French, German, Polish, etc., treat digraphs as combinations of separate letters for alphabetization purposes.


Examples


Latin script


English

English has both homogeneous digraphs (doubled letters) and heterogeneous digraphs (digraphs consisting of two different letters). Those of the latter type include the following: * normally represents (voiceless alveolar fricative - ''scene'') or (voiceless postalveolar fricative - ''conscious'') before or . * represents (velar nasal) as in ''thing''. * usually corresponds to (voiceless postalveolar affricate - ''church''), to (voiceless velar plosive) when used as an etymological digraph in words of Greek origin (''christ''), less commonly to (voiceless postalveolar fricative) in words of French origin (''champagne''). * corresponds to as in ''check''. * represents (voiced velar plosive) at the beginning of words (''ghost''), represents (voiceless labiodental fricative in ''enough'') or is silent letter, silent at the end of words (''sigh''). * represents (voiceless labiodental fricative), as in ''siphon''. * represents English in words of Greek origin, such as ''rhythm''. * represents (voiceless postalveolar fricative), as in ''sheep''. * usually represents word-medially before a vowel, as in ''education''. * usually corresponds to (voiceless interdental fricative) in ''thin'' or (voiced interdental fricative) in ''then''. See also Pronunciation of English th, Pronunciation of English . * represents in some conservative dialects; in other dialects (''while''); and in a few words in which it is followed by , such as ''who'' and ''whole''. See also Phonological history of wh, Phonological history of . * represents in words transliterated from Slavic languages, and in American dictionary pronunciation spelling. * usually appears as before vowels, like in ''facial'' and ''artificial''. Otherwise it is as in ''fancier'' and ''icier'' or as in ''acid'' and ''rancid''. * represents . Originally, it stood for a labialisation, labialized sound, while without was non-labialized, but the distinction has been lost in most dialects, the two sounds merging into a single alveolar approximant, allophone, allophonically labialized at the start of syllables, as in ''red'' . See also rhotic consonant. * usually represents ; is conventionally followed by and a vowel letter as in ''quick'', with List of English words containing Q not followed by U, some exceptions. Digraphs may also be composed of vowels. Some letters are preferred for the first position, others for the second . The latter have allographs in
English orthography English orthography is the system of writing conventions used to represent spoken English Dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , , "discourse", from , , "through" and , , "I speak") is used in two distinct ways ...
.


Other languages using the Latin alphabet

In
Serbo-Croatian Serbo-Croatian () – also called Serbo-Croat (), Serbo-Croat-Bosnian (SCB), Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS), and Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian (BCMS) – is a South Slavic language The South Slavic languages are one of three branches ...
: * corresponds to , (palatal lateral approximant) * corresponds to (
palatal nasal The voiced palatal nasal is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the fro ...

palatal nasal
) * corresponds to (voiced postalveolar affricate) Note that in the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet, Cyrillic orthography, those sounds are represented by single letters (љ, њ, џ). In
Czech Czech may refer to: * Anything from or related to the Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerly known as Bohemia, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A countr ...
and Slovak language, Slovak: * corresponds to (voiceless velar fricative), counted as a distinct letter * corresponds to (voiced alveolar affricate), counted as a distinct letter in Slovak, relatively rare digraph * corresponds to (voiced postalveolar affricate), counted as a distinct letter in Slovak, relatively rare digraph In Danish and Norwegian alphabet, Danish and Norwegian: * The digraph represented until 1917 in Norway and 1948 in Denmark, but is today spelt . The digraph is still used in older names, but sorted as if it were the letter with the diacritic mark. In Norwegian language, Norwegian, several sounds can be represented only by a digraph or a combination of letters. They are the most common combinations, but extreme regional differences exists, especially those of the Norwegian dialects, eastern dialects. A noteworthy difference is the Aspirated consonant, aspiration of rs in eastern dialects, where it corresponds to skj and sj. Among many young people, especially in the western regions of Norway and in or around the major cities, the difference between ç and ʃ has been completely wiped away and are now pronounced the same. * represents as in ch in German ich or x in México. * represents as in ch in German ich or x in México. * represents as in sh in English she. * represents as in sh in English she. * represents (before i or y) as in sh in English she. * represents as in ng in English thing. In Dutch language, Dutch: * corresponds to (see #In alphabetization, above for its possible status as a separate letter). * represents (velar nasal) * represents (voiceless velar fricative) * represents (voiceless postalveolar fricative) * represents (close front unrounded vowel) * represents (close back rounded vowel) * represents (close-mid front rounded vowel) In French alphabet, French: * represents (voiceless postalveolar fricative) * represents (
palatal nasal The voiced palatal nasal is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the fro ...

palatal nasal
) * represents (voiceless velar stop), typically before historic front vowels :: See also French phonology. In German alphabet, German: * represents (voiceless velar fricative) or (voiceless palatal fricative) * represents (voiceless velar plosive) * represents (open front unrounded vowel) followed by (near-close near-front unrounded vowel) * represents (open-mid back rounded vowel) followed by (near-close near-front rounded vowel) In Hungarian alphabet, Hungarian: * represents (voiceless postalveolar affricate) * represents (voiced postalveolar fricative) * represents (voiced palatal plosive) * originally represented (palatal lateral approximant), but in the modern language stands for (palatal approximant) * represents (
palatal nasal The voiced palatal nasal is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the fro ...

palatal nasal
) * represents (voiceless palatal plosive) * represents (voiced postalveolar affricate) * represents (voiceless alveolar fricative) ( is pronounced ) * The Hungarian alphabet additionally contains also a trigraph, . In Italian alphabet, Italian: * corresponds to , (voiceless postalveolar fricative) before -i and -e (but to before other letters) * corresponds to (only before i, e) * corresponds to (only before i, e) * represents , palatal lateral approximant, before -i (with some exceptions) * represents (
palatal nasal The voiced palatal nasal is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the fro ...

palatal nasal
) In Manx Gaelic, represents , but represents . In Polish language, Polish: * corresponds to (voiceless velar fricative) * corresponds to (voiceless retroflex affricate) * corresponds to (voiced alveolar affricate) * corresponds to (voiced alveolo-palatal affricate) * corresponds to (voiced retroflex affricate) * corresponds to (voiced retroflex fricative) * corresponds to (voiceless retroflex fricative) In Portuguese alphabet, Portuguese: * corresponds to (voiceless postalveolar fricative) * corresponds to (palatal lateral approximant) * corresponds to (
palatal nasal The voiced palatal nasal is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the fro ...

palatal nasal
) *⟨qu⟩ usually represents /k/ (voiceless velar stop) *: In Spanish alphabet, Spanish: * is traditionally (but now usually not) pronounced /ʎ/ * represents (voiceless postalveolar affricate). Since 2010, neither is considered part of the alphabet. They used to be sorted as separate letters, but a reform in 1994 by the Spanish Royal Academy has allowed that they be split into their constituent letters for collation. The digraph , pronounced as a distinct
alveolar trill The voiced alveolar trill is a type of consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the f ...
, was never officially considered to be a letter in the Spanish alphabet, and the same is true and (for /ɡ/ and /k/ respectively before or ). In Welsh alphabet, Welsh: * represents (velar nasal), the same sound as in English (but in some words is pronounced ). * represents (voiceless uvular fricative) * represents (alveolar trill, voiceless alveolar trill), pronounced roughly like the combination ''hr''. * represents (voiceless interdental fricative) * represents (voiced dental fricative), like the English in ''then'' (but is pronounced as voiceless in many contexts). * represents (voiceless labiodental fricative), like English , since Welsh is pronounced like an English . * also represents (voiceless labiodental fricative) but, in modern orthography, is used only for the aspirate mutation of words starting with . * represents (voiceless alveolar lateral fricative) The digraphs listed above represent distinct phonemes and are treated as separate letters for collation purposes. On the other hand, the digraphs , , and the trigraph , which stand for voice (phonetics), voiceless consonants but occur only at the beginning of words as a result of the Welsh morphology, nasal mutation, are not treated as separate letters, and thus are not included in the alphabet. Daighi tongiong pingim, a transcription system used for Taiwanese Hokkien, includes or (Digraph), or that represents (mid central vowel) or (close-mid back rounded vowel), as well as other digraphs. In Yoruba language, Yoruba: * is an alphabet, and a plosive most accurately pronounced by trying to say and at the same time.


Cyrillic

Modern Slavic languages written in the Cyrillic alphabet make little use of digraphs apart from for , for (in Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Bulgarian), and and for the uncommon Russian phoneme . In Russian, the sequences and do occur (mainly in loanwords) but are pronounced as combinations of an implosive (sometimes treated as an affricate) and a fricative; implosives are treated as allophones of the plosive /d̪/ and so those sequences are not considered to be digraphs. Cyrillic has few digraphs unless it is used to write non-Slavic languages, especially Caucasian languages.


Arabic script

Because vowels are not generally written, digraphs are rare in abjads like Arabic. For example, if ''sh'' were used for ''š,'' then the sequence ''sh'' could mean either ''ša'' or ''saha.'' However, digraphs are used for the Aspiration (phonetics), aspirated and murmured consonants (those spelled with ''h-''digraphs in Latin transcription) in languages of South Asia such as Urdu that are written in the Arabic script by a special form of the letter ''h'', which is used only for aspiration digraphs, as can be seen with the following connecting ''(kh)'' and non-connecting ''(ḍh)'' consonants: :


Armenian

In the Armenian language, the digraph ''wikt:ու, ու'' transcribes , a convention that comes from Greek.


Georgian

The Georgian alphabet uses a few digraphs to write other languages. For example, in Svan language, Svan, is written ჳე , and as ჳი .


Greek

Modern Greek has the following digraphs: *''αι'' (''ai'') represents *''ει'' (''ei'') represents *''οι'' (''oi'') represents *''ου'' (''oy'') represents *''υι'' (''yi'') represents They are called "diphthongs" in Greek language, Greek; in classical times, most of them represented diphthongs, and the name has stuck. *''γγ'' (''gg'') represents or *''τσ'' represents the affricate *''τζ'' (''tz'') represents the affricate *Initial ''γκ'' (''gk'') represents *Initial ''μπ'' (''mp'') represents *Initial ''ντ'' (''nt'') represents Ancient Greek also had the "diphthongs" listed above although their pronunciation in ancient times is disputed. In addition Ancient Greek also used the letter γ combined with a velar stop to produce the following digraphs: *''γγ'' (''gg'') represents *''γκ'' (''gk'') represents *''γχ'' (''gkh'') represents Tsakonian language, Tsakonian has a few additional digraphs: ''ρζ'' (historically perhaps a fricative trill), ''κχ'' , ''τθ'' , ''πφ'' , ''σχ'' . In addition,
palatal consonant Palatal consonants are consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tong ...

palatal consonant
s are indicated with the vowel letter ''ι'', which is, however, largely predictable. When and are not palatalized before ''ι'', they are written ''νν'' and ''λλ''. In Bactrian language, Bactrian, the digraphs ''ββ'', ''δδ'', ''γγ'' were used for , , .


Hebrew

In the Hebrew alphabet, and may sometimes be found for . Modern Hebrew also uses digraphs made with the symbol for non-native sounds: , , ; and other digraphs of letters when it is written without vowels: for a consonantal letter in the middle of a word, and for or , etc., that is, a consonantal letter in places where it might not have been expected. Yiddish has its own tradition of transcription and so uses different digraphs for some of the same sounds: , , , and (literally '')'' for , , also available as a single Unicode character , or as a single character in Unicode , or , and . The single-character digraphs are called "Typographic ligature, ligatures" in Unicode. may also be used following a consonant to indicate palatalization in Slavic loanwords.


Indic

Most Brahmic scripts, Indic scripts have compound vowel
diacritic A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph added to a letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A sy ...
s that cannot be predicted from their individual elements. That can be illustrated with Thai language, Thai in which the diacritic เ, pronounced alone , modifies the pronunciation of other vowels: : In addition, the combination รร is pronounced or , there are some words in which the combinations ทร and ศร stand for and the letter ห, as a prefix to a consonant, changes its tonic class to high, modifying the tone of the syllable.


Inuit

Inuktitut syllabics adds two digraphs to Cree: ;''rk'' for ''q'': ᙯ ''qai'', ᕿ ''qi'', ᖁ ''qu'', ᖃ ''qa'', ᖅ ''q'' and ;''ng'' for ''ŋ'': ᖕ ''ng'' The latter forms trigraphs and tetragraphs.


Japanese

Two kana may be combined into a ''Consonant, CVowel, V'' syllable by subscripting the second; the convention cancels the vowel of the first. That is commonly done for ''CyV'' syllables called ''yōon'', as in ひょ ''hyo'' . They are not digraphs since they retain the normal sequential reading of the two glyphs. However, some obsolete sequences no longer retain that reading, as in くゎ ''kwa,'' ぐゎ ''gwa,'' and むゎ ''mwa,'' now pronounced ''ka, ga, ma''. In addition, non-sequenceable digraphs are used for foreign loans that do not follow normal Japanese assibilation patterns, such as ティ ''ti'', トゥ ''tu'', チェ ''tye / che'', スェ ''swe'', ウィ ''wi'', ツォ ''tso'', ズィ ''zi''. (See katakana and transcription into Japanese for complete tables.) Long vowels are written by adding the kana for that vowel, in effect doubling it. However, long ''ō'' may be written either ''oo'' or ''ou'', as in とうきょう ''toukyou'' 'Tōkyō'. For dialects that do not distinguish ''ē'' and ''ei'', the latter spelling is used for a long ''e'', as in へいせい ''heisei'' 'Heisei'. In loanwords, ''chōonpu'', a line following the direction of the text, as in ビール ''bīru'' ''bīru'' 'beer'. With the exception of syllables starting with ''n'', doubled consonant sounds are written by prefixing a smaller version of ''tsu'' (written っ and ッ in hiragana and katakana respectively), as in きって ''kitte'' 'stamp'. Consonants beginning with n use the kana ''n'' character (written ん or ン) as a prefix instead. There are several conventions of Okinawan writing system, Okinawan kana that involve subscript digraphs or ligatures. For instance, in the University of the Ryukyu's system, ウ is , ヲ is , but ヲゥ is .


Korean

As was the case in Greek, Korean has vowels descended from diphthongs that are still written with two letters. Those digraphs, ㅐ and ㅔ (also ㅒ , ㅖ ), and in some dialects ㅚ and ㅟ , all end in historical ㅣ . Hangul was designed with a digraph series to represent the "slack voice, muddy" consonants: ㅃ , ㄸ , ㅉ , ㄲ , ㅆ , ㆅ ; also ᅇ, with an uncertain value. Those values are now obsolete, but most of the doubled letters were resurrected in the 19th century to write consonants that did not exist when hangul was devised: ㅃ , ㄸ , ㅉ , ㄲ , ㅆ .


Ligatures and new letters

Digraphs sometimes come to be written as a single ligature. Over time, the ligatures may evolve into new letters or letters with diacritics. For example Sz (digraph), sz became ß in German, and "nn" became ñ in Spanish.


In Unicode

Generally, a digraph is simply represented using two characters in Unicode. However, for various reasons, Unicode sometimes provides a separate code point for a digraph, encoded as a single character. The Dz (digraph), DZ and IJ (digraph), IJ digraphs and the Gaj's Latin Alphabet#Digraphs, Serbian/Croatian digraphs DŽ, LJ, and NJ have separate code points in Unicode. : See also Typographic ligature#Ligatures in Unicode (Latin alphabets), Ligatures in Unicode.


See also

*Multigraph (orthography) *Trigraph (orthography), Trigraph *Tetragraph *Pentagraph *Hexagraph *Bigram *Diphthong *List of Latin letters *Digraph (programming)


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Digraph (Orthography) Multigraphs (orthography), 2 Digraphs (orthography),