Writing Systems: An Introduction to Their Linguistic Analysis

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Cambridge University Press, 2003 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 270 pages
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During its long history the problem of reducing language to writing, and conversely that of interpreting written signs as language, has found a variety of solutions which still exist in the form of different writing systems. Written by a leading expert, this new textbook provides an accessible introduction to the major writing systems of the world, from cuneiform to English spelling. Florian Coulmas presents detailed descriptions of the world's writing systems and explains their structural complexities as well as the intricate relationship between written and spoken language. The book also provides a clear and engaging account of the history of writing and its consequences for human thought and literate society. This illustrated textbook includes questions for discussion at the end of each chapter, and an up-to-date explanation of theoretical issues. Clearly organised and engagingly written, it is the ideal textbook for use on courses on writing systems.
  

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Contents

What is writing?
1
The basic options meaning and sound
18
Signs of words
38
Signs of syllables
62
Signs of segments
89
Consonants and vowels
109
Vowel incorporation
131
Analysis and interpretation
151
History of writing
190
Psycholinguistics of writing
210
Sociolinguistics of writing
223
Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 1
242
Bibliography
247
Index of names
259
Index of subjects
263
Copyright

Mixed systems
168

Common terms and phrases

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About the author (2003)

Florian Coulmas is Professor of Japanese Studies at Gerhard Mercator University, Duisburg. He has published several works on writing and written language including The Encyclopedia of Writing Systems (1996) and The Writing Systems of the World (1989).

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