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A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal
communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to b ...

communication
, based on a script and a set of rules regulating its use. While both
writing Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area arou ...

writing
and
speech Speech is human vocal communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, ...
are useful in conveying
message A message is a discrete unit 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 inner ...

message
s, writing differs in also being a reliable form of
information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more technical sense, data are a set of values of qualitative property, qualitative or quant ...

information
storage and transfer. Writing systems require shared understanding between writers and readers of the meaning behind the sets of
characters Character(s) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * Character (novel), ''Character'' (novel), a 1936 Dutch novel by Ferdinand Bordewijk * Characters (Theophrastus), ''Characters'' (Theophrastus), a classical Greek set of char ...
that make up a script. Writing is usually recorded onto a durable medium, such as paper or
electronic storage On a reel-to-reel tape recorder (Sony TC-630), the recorder is data storage equipment and the magnetic tape is a data storage medium. Data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In a more te ...
, although non-durable methods may also be used, such as writing on a computer
display Display may refer to: Technology * Display device, output device for presenting information, including: ** Cathode ray tube, video display that provides a quality picture, but can be very heavy and deep ** Electronic visual display, output device ...
, on a blackboard, in sand, or by
skywriting Skywriting is the process of using one or more small aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining support from the Atmosphere of Earth, air. It counters the force of gravity by using either Buoyancy, static lift o ...
. 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 as
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 semanti ...

alphabet
s,
syllabaries In the linguistic 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 includ ...
, or logographies, although any particular system may have attributes of more than one category. In the alphabetic category, a standard set of
letters 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 ...
represent speech sounds. In a syllabary, each symbol correlates to a
syllable A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. It is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels a ...

syllable
or
mora Mora may refer to: Places * Doctor Mora, city in the Mexican state of Guanajuato * Mora (Cordillera), Bolivia * Mora, Cameroon, a town * Mora (canton), Costa Rica * Mora, Cyprus, a village * Mora, Maharashtra, India, a port near Mumbai * Mora, Port ...
. In a logography, each character represents a semantic unit such as a word or
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 ...
.
Abjad An abjad () is a type of writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to th ...

Abjad
s differ from alphabets in that vowels are not indicated, and in
abugida An abugida (, from Ge'ez language, Ge'ez: አቡጊዳ), sometimes known as alphasyllabary, neosyllabary or pseudo-alphabet, is a segmental Writing systems#Segmental writing system, writing system in which consonant-vowel sequences are writt ...
s or alphasyllabaries each character represents a consonant–vowel pairing. Alphabets typically use a set of less than 100 symbols to fully express a language, whereas syllabaries can have several hundred, and logographies can have thousands of symbols. Many writing systems also include a special set of symbols known as
punctuation Punctuation (or sometimes interpunction) is the use of spacing, conventional signs (called punctuation marks), and certain typographical devices as aids to the understanding and correct reading of written text, whether read silently or aloud. An ...
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 Timing is the time when something happens or the spacing of events in time. "Timing" also means the tracking of time when an event is happening in time. Good timing is having waited for the right moment to match parts that belong together. Timing m ...
,
tone Tone may refer to: Color-related * Tone, mix of tint and shade, in painting and color theory * Tone, the lightness Lightness is a visual perception of the luminance (L) of an object. It is often judged relative to a similarly lit object. ...
,
accentAccent may refer to: Speech and language * Accent (sociolinguistics), way of pronunciation particular to a speaker or group of speakers * Accent (phonetics), prominence given to a particular syllable in a word, or a word in a phrase ** Pitch accen ...
,
inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical ob ...
or intonation. Writing systems were preceded by
proto-writing Proto-writing consists of visible marks Communication, communicating limited information. Such systems emerged from earlier traditions of symbol systems in the early Neolithic, as early as the 7th millennium BC in Ancient China, China. They used i ...
, which used
pictogram A pictogram, also called a pictogramme, pictograph, or simply picto, and in computer usage an icon An icon (from the Greek language, Greek 'image, resemblance') is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, in the cultures of the ...

pictogram
s,
ideogram upright=1, Ideograms in the Church of the Visitation, Jerusalem. Five of the symbols are pictograms augmented with red bars representing the idea of "no" or "not allowed". The symbol at bottom left is a pictogram conveying the meaning of "silenc ...

ideogram
s and other
mnemonic A mnemonic () device, or memory device, is any learning technique that aids information retention or retrieval (remembering) in the human memory Memory is the faculty of the by which or is , stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the ...

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 The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in modern times by , for classifying and studying a ...
in the late
Neolithic Era The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
of the late
4th millennium BC The 4th millennium BC spanned the years 4000 through 3001 BC. Some of the major changes in human culture during this time included the beginning of the Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized b ...
, enabled the accurate durable recording of
human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, and since the History of writing, advent of writing, from primary source, primary and ...
in a manner that was not prone to the same types of error to which
oral history Oral history is the collection and study of historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life using audiotapes, videotapes, or transcriptions of planned interview conducted with a member of the public F ...
is vulnerable. Soon after, writing provided a reliable form of long distance communication. With the advent of
publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to the creation and distribution of printed works, such as book A ...
, it provided the
medium Medium may refer to: Science and technology Aviation *Medium bomber, a class of war plane *Tecma Medium, a French hang glider design Communication * Media (communication), tools used to store and deliver information or data * Medium of i ...
for an early form of
mass communication Mass communication is the process of imparting and exchanging information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of it ...
.


General properties

Writing systems are distinguished from other possible
symbolic communicationSymbolic communication is the exchange of messages that change ''a priori'' expectation of events. Examples of this are modern communication technology and the exchange of information amongst animals. By referring to objects and ideas not present at ...
systems in that a writing system is always associated with at least one
spoken language A spoken language is 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 an ...
. In contrast, visual representations such as drawings, paintings, and non-verbal items on maps, such as contour lines, are not language-related. Some symbols on information signs, such as the symbols for male and female, are also not language related, but can grow to become part of language if they are often used in conjunction with other language elements. Some other symbols, such as
numerals A numeral is a figure, symbol, or group of figures or symbols denoting a number. It may refer to: * Numeral system used in mathematics * Numeral (linguistics), a part of speech denoting numbers (e.g. ''one'' and ''first'' in English) * Numerical di ...
and the
ampersand The ampersand, also known as the and sign, is the logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it must be ...

ampersand
, are not directly linked to any specific language, but are often used in writing and thus must be considered part of writing systems. Every human community possesses language, which many regard as an innate and defining condition of humanity. However, the development of writing systems, and the process by which they have supplanted traditional
oral The word oral may refer to: Relating to the mouth * Relating to the mouth, the first portion of the alimentary canal that primarily receives food and liquid **Oral administration of medicines ** Oral examination (also known as an oral exam or oral ...
systems of communication, have been sporadic, uneven and slow. Once established, writing systems generally change more slowly than their spoken counterparts. Thus they often preserve features and expressions which are no longer current in the spoken language. One of the great benefits of writing systems is that they can preserve a permanent record of information expressed in a language. All writing systems require: * at least one set of defined base elements or
symbol 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, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), m ...

symbol
s, individually termed ''signs'' and collectively called a ''script''; * at least one set of rules and conventions (
orthography An orthography is a set of for a , including norms of , ation, , , , and . Most transnational languages in the modern period have a system of , and for most such languages a standard orthography has been developed, often based on a of the la ...
) understood and shared by a community, which assigns
meaning Meaning most commonly refers to: * Meaning (linguistics), meaning which is communicated through the use of language * Meaning (philosophy), definition, elements, and types of meaning discussed in philosophy * Meaning (non-linguistic), a general ter ...
to the base elements (
grapheme 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 language) and writing. Most langu ...

grapheme
s), their ordering and relations to one another; * at least one language (generally
spoken Spoken is the past participle form of "to speak". Spoken may also refer to: *Spoken (band), a Christian rock group from Arkansas *''Spoken (album)'', an album by Spoken See also

*Speak (disambiguation) {{disambiguation ...
) whose constructions are represented and can be recalled by the interpretation of these elements and rules; * some physical means of distinctly representing the symbols by application to a permanent or semi-permanent
medium Medium may refer to: Science and technology Aviation *Medium bomber, a class of war plane *Tecma Medium, a French hang glider design Communication * Media (communication), tools used to store and deliver information or data * Medium of i ...
, so they may be interpreted (usually visually, but tactile systems have also been devised).


Basic terminology

In the examination of individual scripts, the study of writing systems has developed along partially independent lines. Thus, the terminology employed differs somewhat from field to field.


Text, writing, reading and orthography

The generic term ''text'' refers to an instance of written or spoken material with the latter having been transcribed in some way. The act of composing and recording a text may be referred to as ''
writing Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area arou ...

writing
'', and the act of viewing and interpreting the text as ''
reading Reading is the process of taking in the sense or meaning of letters, symbols, ''etc.'', especially by sight or touch. For educators and researchers, reading is a multifaceted process involving such areas as word recognition, orthography An ...
''. ''
Orthography An orthography is a set of for a , including norms of , ation, , , , and . Most transnational languages in the modern period have a system of , and for most such languages a standard orthography has been developed, often based on a of the la ...
'' refers to the method and rules of observed writing structure (literal meaning, "correct writing"), and particularly for
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 semanti ...

alphabet
ic systems, includes the concept of ''
spelling Spelling is a set of conventions that regulate the way of using s (writing system) to represent a language in its . In other words, spelling is the rendering of speech sound (phoneme) into writing (grapheme). Spelling is one of the elements of , ...

spelling
''.


Grapheme and phoneme

A ''
grapheme 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 language) and writing. Most langu ...

grapheme
'' is a specific base unit of a writing system. They are the ''minimally significant'' elements which taken together comprise the set of "building blocks" out of which texts made up of one or more writing systems may be constructed, along with rules of correspondence and use. The concept is similar to that of the
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 ...
used in the study of spoken languages. For example, in the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is 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 appa ...

Latin
-based writing system of standard contemporary English, examples of graphemes include the
majuscule Letter case is the distinction between the letters 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 i ...
and
minuscule Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the Letter (alphabet), letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercase (or more formally ''minuscule'') in the written representation ...
forms of the twenty-six letters of the alphabet (corresponding to various phonemes), marks of
punctuation Punctuation (or sometimes interpunction) is the use of spacing, conventional signs (called punctuation marks), and certain typographical devices as aids to the understanding and correct reading of written text, whether read silently or aloud. An ...
(mostly non-phonemic), and a few other symbols such as those for
numerals A numeral is a figure, symbol, or group of figures or symbols denoting a number. It may refer to: * Numeral system used in mathematics * Numeral (linguistics), a part of speech denoting numbers (e.g. ''one'' and ''first'' in English) * Numerical di ...
(logograms for numbers). An individual grapheme may be represented in a wide variety of ways, where each variation is visually distinct in some regard, but all are interpreted as representing the "same" grapheme. These individual variations are known as ''
allograph Allography, from the Greek for "other writing", has several meanings which all relate to how 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, obje ...
s'' of a grapheme (compare with the term
allophone In phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or constituent parts of signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound or sign system of any particu ...
used in linguistic study). For example, the minuscule letter ''a'' has different allographs when written as a
cursive Cursive (also known as script, among other names) is any style of penmanship Penmanship is the technique of writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writin ...

cursive
,
block Block or blocked may refer to: Arts, entertainment and media Broadcasting * Block programming, the result of a programming strategy in broadcasting * W242BX, a radio station licensed to Greenville, South Carolina, United States known as ''96.3 t ...

block
, or
typed
typed
letter. The choice of a particular allograph may be influenced by the medium used, the
writing instrument A writing implement or writing instrument is an object used to produce writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writing systems are not themselves human languages ...
, the stylistic choice of the writer, the preceding and following graphemes in the text, the time available for writing, the intended audience, and the largely unconscious features of an individual's
handwriting Handwriting is the writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writing systems are not themselves human languages (with the debatable exception of computer languag ...

handwriting
.


Glyph, sign and character

The terms ''
glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that are stored in the type case shown below it Typography is the art and technique of typesetting, arr ...
'', ''
sign A sign is an object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy), a thing, being, or concept ** Entity, something that is tangible and within the grasp of the senses ** Object (abstract), an object which does not exist at ...
'' and ''character'' are sometimes used to refer to a grapheme. Common usage varies from discipline to discipline; compare
cuneiform sign
cuneiform sign
, Maya glyph,
Chinese character Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it ...

Chinese character
. The glyphs of most writing systems are made up of lines (or strokes) and are therefore called
linear Linearity is the property of a mathematical relationship (''function Function or functionality may refer to: Computing * Function key A function key is a key on a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out se ...
, but there are glyphs in non-linear writing systems made up of other types of marks, such as Cuneiform and
Braille Braille ( ; Braille: ⠃⠗⠇; ) is a tactile used by people who are . It is traditionally written with embossed paper. Braille users can read computer screens and other electronic supports using s. They can write braille with the original ...

Braille
.


Complete and partial writing systems

Writing systems may be regarded as ''complete'' according to the extent to which they are able to represent all that may be expressed in the spoken language, while a ''partial'' writing system is limited in what it can convey.


Writing systems, languages and conceptual systems

Writing systems can be independent from languages, one can have multiple writing systems for a language, e.g.,
Hindustani Hindustani may refer to: * something of, from, or related to Hindustan (another name of India) * Hindustani language, an Indo-Aryan language, whose two official norms are Hindi and Urdu * Fiji Hindi, a variety of Eastern Hindi spoken in Fiji, and i ...
; and one can also have one writing system for multiple languages, e.g., the
Arabic script
Arabic script
. Chinese characters were also borrowed by other countries as their early writing systems, e.g., the early writing systems of
Vietnamese language Vietnamese ( vi, tiếng Việt, links=no) is an that originated in , where it is the and . Vietnamese is spoken natively by over 70 million people, several times as many as the rest of the Austroasiatic family combined. It is the of the , a ...
until the beginning of the 20th century. To represent a
conceptual systemA conceptual system is a system that is composed of non- physical objects, i.e. ideas or concepts. In this context a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a un ...
, one uses one or more languages, e.g., mathematics is a conceptual system and one may use
first-order logic First-order logic—also known as predicate logic, quantificational logic, and first-order predicate calculus—is a collection of formal systems used in mathematics, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science. First-order logic uses Quantificat ...
and a
natural language In neuropsychology Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology. It is concerned with how a person's cognition and behavior are related to the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Professionals in this branch of psychology often focus on ...
together in representation.


History

Writing systems were preceded by
proto-writing Proto-writing consists of visible marks Communication, communicating limited information. Such systems emerged from earlier traditions of symbol systems in the early Neolithic, as early as the 7th millennium BC in Ancient China, China. They used i ...
, systems of
ideographic An ideogram or ideograph (from Ancient Greek, Greek "idea" and "to write") is a graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept, independent of any particular language, and specific words or phrases. Some ideograms are comprehensible only b ...

ideographic
and/or early
mnemonic A mnemonic () device, or memory device, is any learning technique that aids information retention or retrieval (remembering) in the human memory Memory is the faculty of the by which or is , stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the ...

mnemonic
symbols. The best-known examples are: * "Token system", a recording system used for accounting purposes in
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
c. 9000 BC *
Jiahu symbols 100px, Example of Jiahu symbols. The Jiahu symbols () consist of 16 distinct markings on prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the desc ...
, carved on
tortoise Tortoises () are reptiles of the family Testudinidae of the order Testudines (Latin: tortoise). They are particularly distinguished from other Turtle, turtles (which includes the order Chelonia) by being exclusively land-dwelling, while many (t ...

tortoise
shells Shell may refer to: Architecture and design * Shell (structure), a thin structure **Concrete shell, a thin shell of concrete, usually with no interior columns or exterior buttresses **Thin-shell structure, **Oil company Science Biology * Seashell ...
in
Jiahu Jiahu () was the site of a Neolithic settlement based in the central plain of ancient China, near the Yellow River. It is located between the floodplains of the Ni River (China), Ni River to the north, and the Sha River to the south, north of ...

Jiahu
, c. 6600 BC *
Vinča symbols The Vinča symbols, sometimes known as the Danube script, Vinča signs, Vinča script, Vinča–Turdaș script, Old European script, etc., are a set of untranslated symbols found on Neolithic era (6th to 5th millennium BC) artifacts from the Vin ...
( Tărtăria tablets), c. 5300 BC * Proto-cuneiform c. 3500 BC * Possibly the early
Indus script The Indus script (also known as the Harappan script) is a corpus of symbols produced by the . Most inscriptions containing these symbols are extremely short, making it difficult to judge whether or not these symbols constituted a used to recor ...

Indus script
, c. 3500 BC, as its nature is disputed *
Nsibidi Nsibidi (also known as nsibiri, nchibiddi or nchibiddy) is a system of symbols or early writing indigenous to what is now southeastern Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It borders N ...

Nsibidi
script, c. before 500 AD The invention of the first writing systems is roughly contemporary with the beginning of the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in modern times by , for classifying and studying a ...
(following the late
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
) in the late
4th millennium BC The 4th millennium BC spanned the years 4000 through 3001 BC. Some of the major changes in human culture during this time included the beginning of the Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized b ...
. The
Sumerian
Sumerian
archaic
cuneiform script Cuneiform is a - that was used to write several languages of the . The script was in active use from the early until the beginning of the . It is named for the characteristic wedge-shaped impressions (: ) which form its . Cuneiform was origi ...

cuneiform script
closely followed by the
Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent ...
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. It is generally agreed that the historically earlier Sumerian writing was an independent invention; however, it is debated whether Egyptian writing was developed completely independently of Sumerian, or was a case of
cultural diffusion In cultural anthropology Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology Anthropology is the Science, scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, and society, societies, in both the present and pas ...
. A similar debate exists for the
Chinese script Chinese characters, also called ''Hanzi'' (), are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adapted to write other East-Asian languages, and remain a key component of the Japanese writing system The modern Jap ...
, which developed around 1200 BC. The Chinese script is probably an independent invention, because there is no evidence of contact between China and the literate civilizations of the Near East, and because of the distinct differences between the Mesopotamian and Chinese approaches to
logography In a written language, a logogram or logograph is a written character that represents a word or morpheme. Chinese characters (pronounced ''hanzi'' in Mandarin, ''kanji'' in Japanese, ''hanja'' in Korean and ''Hán tự'' in Vietnamese) are gener ...
and phonetic representation. The pre-Columbian
Mesoamerican writing systems Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the no ...
(including among others
Olmec The Olmecs () were the earliest known major Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western ...
and
Maya script Maya script, also known as Maya glyphs, was the writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, ...
s) are generally believed to have had independent origins. A hieroglyphic writing system used by pre-colonial Mi'kmaq, which was observed by missionaries from the 17th to 19th centuries, is thought to have developed independently. There is some debate over whether or not this was a fully formed system or just a series of mnemonic pictographs. It is thought that the first consonantal alphabetic writing appeared before 2000 BC, as a representation of language developed by Semitic people, Semitic tribes in the Sinai Peninsula (see History of the alphabet). Most other alphabets in the world today either descended from this one innovation, many via the Phoenician alphabet, or were directly inspired by its design. The first true alphabet is the Greek alphabet, Greek script which consistently represents vowels since 800 BC. The Latin alphabet, a direct descendant, is by far the most common writing system in use.


Functional classification

Several approaches have been taken to classify writing systems, the most 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 given writing system in varying proportions, often making it difficult to categorise a system uniquely. The term ''complex system'' is sometimes used to describe those where the admixture makes classification problematic. Modern linguists regard such approaches, including Diringer's * pictographic script * ideographic script * analytic transitional script * Phonetic transcription, phonetic script * alphabetic script 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 usually considered writing proper: * ''discourse system'' ** ''iconic discourse system'', e.g. Amerindian languages, Amerindian ** ''conventional discourse system'', e.g. Quipu * ''morphemic writing system'', e.g. Hieroglyph, Egyptian, Cuneiform, Sumerian, Maya writing, Maya, Chinese character, Chinese, Anatolian Hieroglyphs * ''phonemic writing system'' ** ''partial phonemic writing system'', e.g. Demotic script, Egyptian, Hebrew script, Hebrew, Arabic script, Arabic ** ''poly-phonemic writing system'', e.g. Linear B, Kana, Cherokee script, Cherokee ** ''mono-phonemic writing system'' *** ''phonemic writing system'', e.g. Ancient Greek, English writing system, Old English *** ''morpho-phonemic writing system'', e.g. German writing system, German, English writing system, Modern English Sampson draws a distinction between ''semasiography'' and ''glottography'' * semasiography, relating visible marks to meaning directly without reference to any specific spoken language * glottography, using visible marks to represent forms of a spoken language ** logography, representing a spoken language by assigning distinctive visible marks to linguistic elements of André Martinet's "first articulation" (Martinet 1949), i.e. morphemes or words ** phonography, achieving the same goal by assigning marks to elements of the "second articulation", e.g. phonemes, syllables DeFrancis, criticizing Sampson's introduction of ''semasiographic writing'' and ''featural alphabets'' stresses the phonographic quality of writing proper * ''pictures'' ** ''nonwriting'' ** ''writing'' *** ''rebus'' **** ''syllabic systems'' ***** ''pure syllabic'', e.g. Linear B, Yi, Kana, Cherokee ***** ', e.g. Sumerian, Chinese, Mayan ***** ''consonantal'' ****** ''morpho-consonantal'', e.g. Egyptian ****** ''pure consonantal'', e.g. Phoenician ****** ''alphabetic'' ******* ''pure phonemic'', e.g. Greek ******* ''morpho-phonemic'', e.g. English Faber categorizes phonographic writing by two levels, linearity and coding: * ''logographic'', e.g. Chinese character, Chinese, Hieroglyph, Ancient Egyptian * ''phonographic'' ** ''syllabically linear'' *** ''syllabically coded'', e.g. Kana, Akkadian language, Akkadian *** ''segmentally coded'', e.g. Hebrew script, Hebrew, Syriac script, Syriac, Arabic script, Arabic, Ethiopian script, Ethiopian, Amharic script, Amharic, Devanagari ** ''segmentally linear'' *** ''complete'' (alphabet), e.g. Latin alphabet, Greco-Latin, Cyrillic script, Cyrillic *** ''defective'', e.g. Ugaritic, Phoenician script, Phoenician, Aramaic script, Aramaic, Old South Arabian, Paleo-Hebrew alphabet, Paleo-Hebrew


Logographic systems

A ''logogram'' is a single written character which represents a complete grammatical word. Chinese characters are type examples of logograms. As each character represents a single word (or, more precisely, a
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 ...
), many logograms are required to write all the words of language. The vast array of logograms and the memorization of what they mean 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 represent different languages. In practice, the ability to communicate across languages works 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 given logographic system. Japanese language, Japanese uses kanji, Chinese logograms extensively in its writing systems, with most 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 knowledge 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 get a general idea of what a long Japanese text means but usually cannot understand the text fully. While most languages do not use wholly logographic writing systems, many languages use some logograms. A good example of modern western logograms are the Arabic numerals: everyone who uses those symbols understands what ''1'' means whether they call it ''one'', ''eins'', ''uno'', ''yi'', ''ichi'', ''ehad'', ''ena'', or ''jedan''. Other western logograms include the
ampersand The ampersand, also known as the and sign, is the logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it must be ...

ampersand
''&'', used for ''and'', the at sign ''@'', used in many contexts for ''at'', the percent sign ''%'' and the many signs representing units of currency (dollar sign, $, ¢, Euro sign, €, Pound sign, £, ¥ and so on.) Logograms are sometimes called
ideogram upright=1, Ideograms in the Church of the Visitation, Jerusalem. Five of the symbols are pictograms augmented with red bars representing the idea of "no" or "not allowed". The symbol at bottom left is a pictogram conveying the meaning of "silenc ...

ideogram
s, a word that refers to symbols which graphically represent abstract ideas, but linguists avoid this use, as Chinese characters are often semantics, semantic–phonetic compounds, symbols which include an element that represents the meaning and a phonetic complement element 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 modification in varieties of Chinese, Japanese language, Japanese, Korean language, Korean, Vietnamese language, Vietnamese, and other east Asian languages. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and the Mayan writing system are also systems with certain logographic features, although they have marked phonetic features as well and are no longer in current use. Vietnamese switched to the Vietnamese alphabet, Latin alphabet in the 20th century and the Hanja, use of Chinese characters in Korean is increasingly rare. The Japanese writing system includes several distinct forms of writing including logography.


Syllabic systems: syllabary

''Another type of writing system with systematic syllabic linear symbols, the
abugida An abugida (, from Ge'ez language, Ge'ez: አቡጊዳ), sometimes known as alphasyllabary, neosyllabary or pseudo-alphabet, is a segmental Writing systems#Segmental writing system, writing system in which consonant-vowel sequences are writt ...
s, is discussed below as well.'' As logographic writing systems use a single symbol for an entire word, a ''syllabary'' is a set of written symbols that represent (or approximate)
syllable A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. It is typically made up of a syllable nucleus (most often a vowel A vowel is a Syllable, syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels a ...

syllable
s, 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 , and 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 Syllable onset, onset–Syllable coda, coda or onset–Syllable rime, rime table. Syllabaries are best suited to languages with relatively simple syllable structure, such as Japanese. The English language, on the other hand, allows complex syllable structures, with a relatively large inventory of vowels and complex consonant clusters, making 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 Chinese characters, also called ''Hanzi'' (), are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adapted to write other East-Asian languages, and remain a key component of the Japanese writing system The modern Jap ...
, 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
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 and includes different characters to represent homophonous morphemes with different meanings, it is normally considered a logographic script rather than a syllabary. Other languages that use true syllabaries include Mycenaean Greek language, Greek (Linear B) and Indigenous languages of the Americas such as Cherokee language, Cherokee. Several languages of the Ancient Near East used forms of cuneiform (script), cuneiform, which is a syllabary with some non-syllabic elements.


Segmental systems: alphabets

An ''alphabet'' is a small set of ''letters'' (basic written symbols), each of which roughly represents or represented historically a Segment (linguistics), segmental
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 ...
of a spoken language. The word ''alphabet'' is derived from alpha (letter), alpha and beta (letter), beta, the first 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 Middle Bronze Age alphabets, Northern Linear Abjad. The reason for this is that Semitic languages and the related Berber languages have a Morphology (linguistics), 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 example is the derivation of the Greek alphabet from the Phoenician abjad. This has mostly happened when the script 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 languages, Phoenician or Ugaritic. "Abjad" is still the word for alphabet in Arabic language, Arabic, Malay and Indonesian language, Indonesian. An
abugida An abugida (, from Ge'ez language, Ge'ez: አቡጊዳ), sometimes known as alphasyllabary, neosyllabary or pseudo-alphabet, is a segmental Writing systems#Segmental writing system, writing system in which consonant-vowel sequences are writt ...
is an alphabetic writing system whose basic signs denote consonants with an inherent vowel and where consistent modifications of the basic sign indicate other following vowels than the inherent one. Thus, in an abugida there may or may not be a sign for "k" with no vowel, but also one for "ka" (if "a" is the inherent vowel), and "ke" is written by modifying the "ka" sign in a way that is consistent with how one would modify "la" to get "le". In many abugidas the modification is the addition of a vowel sign, but other possibilities are imaginable (and used), such as rotation of the basic sign, addition of Diacritic, diacritical marks and so on. The contrast with "true
syllabaries In the linguistic 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 includ ...
" is that the latter have one distinct symbol per possible syllable, and the signs for each syllable have no systematic graphic similarity. The graphic similarity of most abugidas comes from the fact that they are derived from abjads, and the consonants make up the symbols with the inherent vowel and the new vowel symbols are markings added on to the base symbol. In the Ge'ez script, for which the linguistic term ''abugida'' was named, the vowel modifications do not always appear systematic, although they originally were more so. Canadian Aboriginal syllabics can be considered abugidas, although they are rarely thought of in those terms. The largest single group of abugidas is the Brahmic family of scripts, however, which includes nearly all the scripts used in India and Southeast Asia. The name ''abugida'' is derived from the first four characters of an order of the Ge'ez script used in some contexts. It was borrowed from Ethiopian languages as a linguistic term by Peter T. Daniels.


Featural systems

A ''featural'' script represents finer detail than an alphabet. Here symbols do not represent whole phonemes, but rather the elements (features) that make up the phonemes, such as voice (phonetics), voicing or its place of articulation. Theoretically, each feature could be written with a separate letter; and abjads or abugidas, or indeed syllabaries, could be featural, but the only prominent system of this sort is Korean language, Korean hangul. In hangul, the featural symbols are combined into alphabetic letters, and these letters are in turn joined into syllabic blocks, so that the system combines three levels of phonological representation. Many scholars, e.g. John DeFrancis, reject this class or at least labeling hangul as such. The Korean script is a conscious script creation by literate experts, which Daniels calls a "sophisticated grammatogeny". These include stenography, stenographies and constructed scripts of hobbyists and fiction writers (such as Tengwar), many of which feature advanced graphic designs corresponding to phonologic properties. The basic unit of writing in these systems can map to anything from phonemes to words. It has been shown that even the Latin script has sub-character "features".


Ambiguous systems

Most writing systems are not purely one type. The English writing system, for example, includes numerals and other logograms such as #, $, and &, and the written language often does not match well with the spoken one. As mentioned above, all logographic systems have phonetic components as well, whether along the lines of a syllabary, such as Chinese ("logo-syllabic"), or an abjad, as in Egyptian ("logo-consonantal"). Some scripts, however, are truly ambiguous. The semi-syllabary, semi-syllabaries of ancient Spain were syllabic for plosive consonant, plosives such as ''p'', ''t'', ''k'', but alphabetic for other consonants. In some versions, vowels were written redundantly after syllabic letters, conforming to an alphabetic orthography. Old Persian cuneiform was similar. Of 23 consonants (including null), seven were fully syllabic, thirteen were purely alphabetic, and for the other three, there was one letter for /C''u''/ and another for both /C''a''/ and /C''i''/. However, all vowels were written overtly regardless; as in the Brahmic abugidas, the /C''a''/ letter was used for a bare consonant. The zhuyin phonetic glossing script for Chinese divides syllables in two or three, but into syllable onset, onset, Syllable medial, medial, and syllable rime, rime rather than consonant and vowel. Pahawh Hmong is similar, but can be considered to divide syllables into either onset-rime or consonant-vowel (all consonant clusters and diphthongs are written with single letters); as the latter, it is equivalent to an abugida but with the roles of consonant and vowel reversed. Other scripts are intermediate between the categories of alphabet, abjad and abugida, so there may be disagreement on how they should be classified.


Graphic classification

Perhaps the primary graphic distinction made in classifications is that of ''linearity''. Linear writing systems are those in which the characters are composed of lines, such as the Latin alphabet and
Chinese character Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it ...

Chinese character
s. Chinese characters are considered linear whether they are written with a ball-point pen or a calligraphic brush, or cast in bronze. Similarly,
Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent ...
and Maya script, Maya glyphs were often painted in linear outline form, but in formal contexts they were carved in bas-relief. The earliest examples of writing are linear: the Cuneiform script, Sumerian script of c. 3300 BC was linear, though its cuneiform descendants were not. Non-linear systems, on the other hand, such as braille, are not composed of lines, no matter what instrument is used to write them. Cuneiform was probably the earliest non-linear writing. Its glyphs were formed by pressing the end of a reed stylus into moist clay, not by tracing lines in the clay with the stylus as had been done previously. The result was a radical transformation of the appearance of the script. Braille is a non-linear adaptation of the Latin alphabet that completely abandoned the Latin forms. The letters are composed of raised bumps on the writing Substrate (printing), substrate, which can be leather (Louis Braille's original material), stiff paper, plastic or metal. There are also transient non-linear adaptations of the Latin alphabet, including Morse code, the manual alphabets of various sign languages, and semaphore, in which Flag semaphore, flags or Semaphore line, bars are positioned at prescribed angles. However, if "writing" is defined as a potentially permanent means of recording information, then these systems do not qualify as writing at all, since the symbols disappear as soon as they are used. (Instead, these transient systems serve as Signaling (telecommunications), signals.)


Directionality

Scripts are graphically characterized by the direction in which they are written. Egyptian hieroglyphs were written either left to right or right to left, with the animal and human glyphs turned to face the beginning of the line. The early alphabet could be written in multiple directions: horizontally (side to side), or vertically (up or down). Prior to standardization, alphabetical writing was done both left-to-right (LTR or wikt:sinistrodextral, sinistrodextrally) and right-to-left (RTL or wikt:dextrosinistral, dextrosinistrally). It was most commonly written boustrophedonically: starting in one (horizontal) direction, then turning at the end of the line and reversing direction. The Greek alphabet and its successors settled on a left-to-right pattern, from the top to the bottom of the page. Other scripts, such as Arabic alphabet, Arabic and Hebrew language, Hebrew, came to be written right-to-left. Scripts that incorporate Chinese characters have traditionally been written vertically (top-to-bottom), from the right to the left of the page, but nowadays are frequently written left-to-right, top-to-bottom, due to Western culture, Western influence, a growing need to accommodate terms in the Latin script, and technical limitations in popular electronic document formats. Chinese characters sometimes, as in signage, especially when signifying something old or traditional, may also be written from right to left. The Old Uyghur alphabet and its descendants are unique in being written top-to-bottom, left-to-right; this direction originated from an ancestral Semitic direction by rotating the page 90° Clockwise and counterclockwise, counter-clockwise to conform to the appearance of vertical Chinese writing. Several scripts used in the Languages of the Philippines, Philippines and Indonesia, such as Hanunó'o script, Hanunó'o, are traditionally written with lines moving away from the writer, from bottom to top, but are read horizontally left to right; however, Kulitan script, Kulitan, another Philippine script, is written top to bottom and right to left. Ogham is written bottom to top and read vertically, commonly on the corner of a stone. Left-to-right writing has the advantage that since most people are right-handed, the hand does not interfere with the just-written text, which might not yet have dried, since the hand is on the right side of the pen.


On computers

In computers and telecommunication systems, writing systems are generally not codified as such, but graphemes and other grapheme-like units that are required for text processing are represented by "character (computing), characters" that typically manifest in character encoding, encoded form. There are many :Character encoding, character encoding standards and related technologies, such as ISO/IEC 8859-1 (a character repertoire and encoding scheme oriented toward the Latin script), CJK characters, CJK (Chinese, Japanese, Korean) and bi-directional text. Today, many such standards are re-defined in a collective standard, the International Organization for Standardization, ISO/International Electrotechnical Commission, IEC 10646 "Universal Character Set", and a parallel, closely related expanded work, ''The Unicode Standard''. Both are generally encompassed by the term Unicode. In Unicode, each character, in every language's writing system, is (simplifying slightly) given a unique identification number, known as its ''code point''. Computer operating systems use code points to look up characters in the Typeface, font file, so the characters can be displayed on the page or screen. A Computer keyboard, keyboard is the device most commonly used for writing via computer. Each key is associated with a standard code which the keyboard sends to the computer when it is pressed. By using a combination of alphabetic keys with modifier keys such as Control key, Ctrl, Alt key, Alt, Shift key, Shift and AltGr key, AltGr, various character codes are generated and sent to the CPU. The operating system intercepts and converts those signals to the appropriate characters based on the keyboard layout and Input method editor, input method, and then delivers those converted codes and characters to the running application software, which in turn looks up the appropriate
glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that are stored in the type case shown below it Typography is the art and technique of typesetting, arr ...
in the currently used font file, and requests the operating system to draw these on the Computer display, screen.


See also

* Artificial script * Calligraphy * Defective script * Digraphia * Epigraphy * Formal language * Grammatology * International phonetic alphabet * ISO 15924 *
Orthography An orthography is a set of for a , including norms of , ation, , , , and . Most transnational languages in the modern period have a system of , and for most such languages a standard orthography has been developed, often based on a of the la ...
* Pasigraphy * Penmanship * Paleography * Phonemic orthography * Phonetic transcription * Numeral system * Transliteration * Transcription (linguistics) * Writing * Written language * X-SAMPA


References


Sources

* Cisse, Mamadou. 2006. "Ecrits et écritures en Afrique de l'Ouest". Sudlangues n°6, https://web.archive.org/web/20110720093748/http://www.sudlangues.sn/spip.php?article101 * Coulmas, Florian. 1996. ''The Blackwell encyclopedia of writing systems''. Oxford: Blackwell. * Coulmas, Florian. 2003. ''Writing systems. An introduction''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. * Peter T. Daniels, Daniels, Peter T, and William Bright, eds. 1996. ''The World's Writing Systems''. Oxford University Press. . * DeFrancis, John. 1990. ''The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy''. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. * * Hannas, William. C. 1997. ''Asia's Orthographic Dilemma''. University of Hawaii Press. (paperback); (hardcover) * * Yutaka Nishiyama, Nishiyama, Yutaka. 2010. ''The Mathematics of Direction in Writing''. International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics
Vol.61, No.3, 347-356.
* Rogers, Henry. 2005. ''Writing Systems: A Linguistic Approach''. Oxford: Blackwell. (hardcover); (paperback) * Sampson, Geoffrey. 1985. ''Writing Systems''. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. (paper), (cloth). * William A. Smalley, Smalley, W. A. (ed.) 1964. ''Orthography studies: articles on new writing systems''. London: United Bible Society.


External links


Arch Chinese (Traditional & Simplified)
Chinese character writing animations and native speaker pronunciations
Sensible Chinese
A practical guide to approaching the Chinese writing system
decodeunicode
Unicode Wiki with all 98,884 Unicode 5.0 characters as gifs in three sizes



* [http://www.ancientscripts.com/ws.html Ancient Scripts] Introduction to different writing systems
Alphabets of Europe


a writing system that combines the linearity of spelling with the free-form aspects of drawing. {{Authority control Writing Writing systems, Typography