Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 14 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter is designed to show some of the special properties of older, non-standardized orthographies, with nearly exclusive emphasis on early Middle English. In particular it shows that ‘emic’ analysis tends to break down, as the writers were rarely interested in biuniqueness or full representation, captured lexical diffusion in process, and did not use notions like phoneme and grapheme. Many of them were working in a way best characterized in terms of the Classical theory of littera. The paper deals with the typology of ‘economical’ and ‘prodigal’ systems, the nature of litteral substitution, and the kinds of evidence necessary to assign broad surface phonetic values to graphs in ancient systems.

Keywords: orthography, phoneme, grapheme, littera, litteral substitution, phonetic values

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.