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How Children Learn to Write Words$
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Rebecca Treiman and Brett Kessler

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199907977

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199907977.001.0001

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Writing Systems

Writing Systems

Chapter:
(p.23) Chapter 2 Writing Systems
Source:
How Children Learn to Write Words
Author(s):

Rebecca Treiman

Brett Kessler

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199907977.003.0002

This chapter discusses the types of writing systems that people have developed and the general principles behind how they work. It distinguishes between semasiography, which represents ideas directly, and glottography, which represents speech. Among glottographic systems are logographies (which map onto speech at the level of morphemes), syllabaries (which represent syllables), and alphabets (which represent phonemes). Some writing systems represent phonetic features to some extent. Writing systems are typically mixed, in that they don’t follow one type of representation all of the time. The letter–sound correspondences of alphabetic writing systems are sometimes inconsistent and complex. One reason for this is that sounds change over time and spellings may not be reformed to keep up with these changes. Another reason is that an orthography may be deep. For example, a morpheme may be spelled in the same way across words even when its pronunciation is different.

Keywords:   semasiography, glottography, logography, syllabary, syllable, alphabet, letter sound correspondence, sound change, spelling reform, orthographic depth

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