Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6732
  • E-ISSN: 1570-6001
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It has often been assumed that there is, or should be, a one-to-one correspondence between graphs and linguistic units in writing systems as the norm. This is not merely doubtful in terms of descriptive accuracy. Conceptualizing writing systems in such a way also has profound consequences for the application of typological categories to specific cases. In this paper we first suggest a working definition of polygraphy, also touching upon its demarcation from adjacent concepts such as ligatures and diacritics. Having demonstrated that polygraphy is in fact fundamental to a significant number of typologically diverse writing systems, we argue in favor of a typology of writing systems taking the ubiquity of polygraphy into due account, with definitions going beyond one-to-one correspondences as the default.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): diacritics; digraphs; ligatures; polygraphs; polygraphy; typology of writing systems
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