Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6732
  • E-ISSN: 1570-6001
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It has often been claimed that writing systems have formal grammars structurally analogous to those of spoken and signed phonology. This paper demonstrates one consequence of this analogy for Chinese script and the writing systems that it has influenced: as with phonology, areal script patterns include the borrowing of formal regularities, not just of formal elements or interpretive functions. Whether particular formal Chinese script regularities were borrowed, modified, or ignored also turns out not to depend on functional typology (in morphemic/syllabic Tangut script, moraic Japanese katakana, and featural/phonemic/syllabic Korean hangul) but on the benefits of making the borrowing system visually distinct from Chinese, the relative productivity of the regularities within Chinese character grammar, and the level at which the borrowing takes place.


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