Article published in:Understanding Writing Systems
Edited by Merijn Beeksma and Martin Neef
[Written Language & Literacy 21:1] 2018
► pp. 3–25
From phonemic spelling to distinctive spelling
Whether spelling is phonemic is only one factor in whether a writing system is suitable for a given language; another consideration is "lexical distinctiveness" of spelling, in two separate senses, and the importance of lexical distinctiveness grows as a writing system matures. Seen in this light, the increasing irregularity of English spelling, over the period when English has been a written language, has been a desirable response to the changing needs of the English-speaking world.
Keywords: lexical distinctiveness, phonemic spelling, ideal orthography, logographic v. phonographic, script typology
- 1.Diverse types of script
- 2.Script types matter
- 3.Few independent examples
- 4.A proposed generalization
- 5.An early assumption
- 6.The assumption questioned
- 7.Lexical distinctiveness or conservatism?
- 8.Sparse orthographic neighbourhoods
- 9.Supporting examples
- 10. A reductio ad absurdum?
- 11.Conflicting interests
Published online: 02 November 2018
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