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How can complex graphemes be identified in German?

  • The question of whether a letter is a grapheme or not is a perennial issue in writing research. The answer depends on which criteria are used to differentiate between letters and graphemes and, ultimately,how the unit ‘grapheme’ is defined. This problem is particularly relevant to complex graphemes, i.e. sequences of letters that behave like a single grapheme in certain respects. Typical for German is the ‹ch›. This paper argues for a scalar concept of graphemes, which compares the grapheme status of each of the units under investigation. For this purpose, new criteria for the identification of complex graphemes are used, which originate from handwriting analysis. There, it is shown that complex graphemes are connected with each other disproportionately often and also have deviating letter forms disproportionately often.

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Author:Niklas ReinkenORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Linguistics Vanguard
Publisher:de Gruyter
Place of publication:Berlin/Boston
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2022
Date of Publication (online):2023/03/23
Publishing Institution:Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache (IDS)
Tag:complex graphemes; graphematics; graphetics; handwriting; writing
GND Keyword:Buchstabe; Deutsch; Graphem; Handschrift; Schriftzeichen; Variation
First Page:321
Last Page:330
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 400 Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:ja
Linguistics-Classification:Textlinguistik / Schriftsprache
Program areas:G1: Beschreibung und Erschließung Grammatischen Wissens
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - Attribution 4.0 International