In some cases an orthography based on the principle that symbols correspond to phonemes may lack characters to represent all the phonemes or all the phonemic distinctions in the language. This is called a defective orthography. An example in English is that the digraph th is required to represent two different phonemes (as in either and ether). A more systematic example is that of abjads like the Arabic and Hebrew alphabets, in which the short vowels are normally left unwritten and have to be inferred by the reader.
When an alphabet is borrowed to represent a different language than that for which it originally developed (as has been done with the Latin alphabet for many languages in Europe and elsewhere or Japanese Katakana being used for foreign words), it often proves to be defective in representing the new language's phonemes. Sometimes this problem is addressed by the use of such devices as digraphs (such as sh and ch in English, where pairs of letters represent single sounds), diacritics (like the caron on the letters š and č, which represent those same sounds in Czech), or the addition of completely new symbols (as some languages have introduced the letter w to the Latin alphabet).
Other articles related to "defective orthographies, defective, orthographies":
... A defective orthography is one that is not capable of representing all the phonemes or phonemic distinctions in a language ... More systematic deficiency is found in orthographies based on abjadic writing systems like the Arabic and Hebrew scripts, which do not normally represent the short vowels (although methods are available for doing so ...
Famous quotes containing the word defective:
“The study and knowledge of the universe would somehow be lame and defective were no practical results to follow.”
—Marcus Tullius Cicero (10643 B.C.)