Writing system, Functional classification

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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
  • 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
    • conventional discourse system, e.g. Quipu
  • phonemic writing system
    • mono-phonemic writing system

DeFrancis, criticizing Sampson's introduction of semasiographic writing and featural alphabets stresses the phonographic quality of writing proper

  • pictures
    • nonwriting
    • writing
        • 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:

  • phonographic
    • syllabically linear
    • segmentally



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External Links

  • WikipediaWriting Systems ResearchArch Chinese (Traditional & Simplified)decodeunicodeAfrican writing systemsOmniglot: The Online Encyclopedia of Writing Systems and Languages

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