10

Recently I've been to Russia and therefore decided to learn how to read the Cyrillic alphabet. After that I discovered that the Cyrillic alphabet is also used in other languages, like Belorussian or Bulgarian. That was good, because my effort to learn a new alphabet could be used to learn also other additional languages I didn't expect to. If I knew that beforehand, could be a reason to decide to learn one of those languages.

My question is: is there any (online) resource showing which language share the same (or, perhaps, similar) alphabets?

  • Not sure if resource questions should be off-topic or not. – user3169 Apr 12 '16 at 3:40
  • 5
    Languages don't share alphabets, writing systems do. Many languages (even English) have multiple writing systems, – Flimzy Apr 12 '16 at 5:49
  • @user3169, perhaps I'll ask in Meta if resource questions are on/off topic? – gmauch Apr 12 '16 at 12:47
  • 5
    You can check List of languages by writing system. – user3169 Apr 12 '16 at 16:17
  • 1
    @Schullz: They're generally called Logograms. Writing systems generally "can be placed into broad categories such as alphabets, syllabaries, or logographies." source – Flimzy Apr 13 '16 at 8:52
11

Omniglot.com is a good resource to look at for writing systems and for getting general information about various languages. They have an Index of languages by writing system.

There's also the Wikipedia page List of languages by writing system, as pointed out by user3169.


That said, if you're just looking for which languages share a particular writing system, you can always just look up that writing system specifically, either on Omniglot, Wikipedia, or somewhere else.

4

First of all, it is important to point out that an alphabet is just one type of writing system, and that not all writing systems are alphabets. Other types of writing systems include:

  • abjads (only consonants, possibly with optional vowel marks; see Arabic and Hebrew),
  • abugidas or alphasyllabaries (each "unit" represents a consonant-vowel sequence, and vowel notation is secondary; e.g. Devanagari and other Indic scripts),
  • syllabaries (e.g. katakana in Japanese),
  • logographic systems (e.g. Chinese hanzi and Japanese kanji).

The two main resources that group languages by writing system are the following:

  • List of languages by writing system on Wikipedia. This article lists writing systems in alphabetical order; for each writing system, its lists the languages that use it in alphabetical order.
  • Index of languages by writing system on Omniglot. This page uses a different type of grouping than the Wikipedia article: it first provides an index to writing systems used to write more than one language, followed by an index to writing systems used to write one language. These two indexes are followed by the alphabetical list of writing systems. In contrast to the Wikipedia article, each writing systems is illustrated with a small image.

None of the above resources try to group the writing systems genetically/historically (which would not be possible for many cases anyway) or typologically (alphabets, abjads, etc.; see above), nor do they identify languages that are written in more than one writing systems (e.g. due to them being spoken in different countries).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.