AskDefine | Define grapheme

Dictionary Definition

grapheme n : a written symbol that is used to represent speech; "the Greek alphabet has 24 characters" [syn: character, graphic symbol]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A fundamental unit of a writing system corresponding to letters in the English alphabet.


fundamental unit of a writing system
  • Croatian: grafem
  • Dutch: grafeem
  • French: graphème

Extensive Definition

distinguish Graphene In typography, a grapheme is the fundamental unit in written language. Graphemes include alphabetic letters, Chinese characters, numerals, punctuation marks, and all the individual symbols of any of the world's writing systems.
In a phonemic orthography, a grapheme corresponds to one phoneme. In spelling systems that are non-phonemic — such as the spellings used most widely for written English — multiple graphemes may represent a single phoneme. These are called digraphs (two graphemes for a single phoneme) and trigraphs (three graphemes). For example, the word ship contains four graphemes (s, h, i, and p) but only three phonemes, because sh is a digraph.
Different glyphs can represent the same grapheme, meaning they are allographs. For example, the minuscule letter a can be seen in two variants, with a hook at the top, and without. Not all glyphs are graphemes in the phonological sense; for example the logogram ampersand (&) represents the Latin word et (English word and), which contains two phonemes.
grapheme in Afrikaans: Grafeem
grapheme in Min Nan: Grapheme
grapheme in Czech: Grafém
grapheme in Danish: Grafem
grapheme in Spanish: Grafema
grapheme in French: Graphème
grapheme in Galician: Grafema
grapheme in Italian: Grafema
grapheme in Hebrew: גרפמה
grapheme in Haitian: Grafèm
grapheme in Latvian: Grafēma
grapheme in Hungarian: Graféma
grapheme in Dutch: Grafeem
grapheme in Japanese: 書記素
grapheme in Norwegian: Grafem
grapheme in Polish: Grafem
grapheme in Portuguese: Grafema
grapheme in Russian: Графема
grapheme in Slovenian: Grafem
grapheme in Swedish: Grafem
grapheme in Ukrainian: Графема
grapheme in Chinese: 字位
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1