The architecture of writing systems
  • ISSN 1387-6732
  • E-ISSN: 1570-6001
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It is widely acknowledged that the German writing system is not only phonographically structured but also represents morphological information (besides other grammatical information). Stem constancy, i.e. the graphic resemblance between morphologically related words, is the most prominent example of this. It is, however, only the phenomenological peak of morphographic structures within the German writing system. This paper deals with the question of how the graphematic coding of phonological and morphological information interacts systematically and how this morphophonographic interaction can be modeled in an adequate way. The theoretical framework for this investigation is a – slightly modified – non-linear graphematic approach as proposed by Primus (2010) and Evertz and Primus (2013). In analogy to non-linear phonology, this framework operates with a graphematic hierarchy. Within the framework, well- known and only recently established graphematic concepts – e.g. letter features, the graphematic syllable or the graphematic word – can be modeled as parts of a hierarchically structured system. This hierarchy shows the dependencies between the different graphematic units and how the writing system codes grammatical information in a suprasegmental way. Keywords: phonographic and morphographic regularities; German writing system; non-linear graphematics; stem constancy; graphematic syllabification


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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