Tag Archives: Orthography as a Political Phenomenon: Why do we write long vowels differently when we textttttt?

Orthography as a Political Phenomenon: Why do we write long vowels differently when we textttttt?

Spoken English, like most languages, makes great use of semantic and pragmatic vowel length. It is not phonemic, meaning that the word you are saying will not become a different word if you lengthen one vowel, but it’s clearly a part of the way we communicate because most of us actively represent it when we text. In most writing systems, a long vowel is represented by emphasizing a vocalic sign, whether it is a glide consonant that stands for a vowel—such as in Abjads like Hebrew, most Aramaic varieties, and Arabic (these letters are called matres lectionis) — or a character that represents a vowel itself — which is either repeated or somehow embellished with a diacritic or other mark, as is the case in most Roman-based orthographies.

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