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: 03 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

An understanding of the nature of writing is an important foundation for studies of how people read and how they learn to read. This chapter discusses the characteristics of modern writing systems with a view toward providing that foundation. We consider both the appearance of writing systems and how they function. All writing represents the words of a language according to a set of rules. However, important properties of a language often go unrepresented in writing. Change and variation in the spoken language result in complex links to speech. Redundancies in language and writing mean that readers can often get by without taking in all of the visual information. These redundancies also mean that readers must often supplement the visual information that they do take in with knowledge about the language and about the world.

Keywords: writing systems, script, alphabet, syllabary, logography, semasiography, glottography, underrepresentation, conservatism, graphotactics

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.