::Alphabetic principle


Language::english    Writing::april    Sounds::letters    Systems::spelling    Alphabet::system    Reading::reading

{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Refimprove |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Message box|ambox}} }} {{#invoke:Sidebar|sidebar}} According to the alphabetic principle, letters and combinations of letters are the symbols used to represent the speech sounds of a language based on systematic and predictable relationships between written letters, symbols, and spoken words. The alphabetic principle is the foundation of any alphabetic writing system (such as the English variety of the Roman alphabet), which is one of the more common types of writing systems in use today.

Alphabetic writing systems that use an (in practice) almost perfectly phonemic orthography have a single letter for each individual speech sound and a one-to-one correspondence between sounds and the letters that represent them. Such systems are used, for example, in the modern languages Estonian, Finnish, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian and Turkish. Such languages have a straightforward spelling system, enabling a writer to predict the spelling of a word given its pronunciation and similarly enabling a reader to predict the pronunciation of a word given its spelling. Ancient languages with such almost perfectly phonemic writing systems include Avestic, Latin, Tamil, Vedic, and Sanskrit (Devanāgarī/Abugida, see also Vyakarana). On the other hand, French and English have a strong difference between sounds and symbols.

The alphabetic principle does not underlie logographic writing systems like Chinese or syllabic writing systems such as Japanese kana. Korean, along with Chinese and Japanese, is a member of the CJK group and shares origins for many of the symbols. Hangul, Korean writing system, is actually strongly alphabetic while it may look like logographic or syllabic to outsiders.

Alphabetic principle sections
Intro  Latin alphabet  Role of the alphabetic principle in beginning reading  See also  References  Further reading  

PREVIOUS: IntroNEXT: Latin alphabet