Grapheme

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A grapheme is a written mark which corresponds to a spoken sound, or a bit of written language (orthography). It roughly corresponds to a phoneme in speech.[1]

Graphemes include alphabetic letters, typographic ligatures, Chinese characters, numerical digits, punctuation marks, and other individual symbols of any of the world's writing systems. The separate items on a keyboard all produce graphemes when writing in the appropriate software.

A grapheme may or may not carry meaning by itself, and may or may not correspond to a single phoneme.

A grapheme is an abstract concept. A glyph is a specific shape that represents that grapheme, in a specific typeface. For example, the abstract concept of "the Arabic numeral one" is a grapheme which has different glyphs in different typefaces.

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Technically, "the smallest semantically distinguishable unit".