(385) The Ambiguity of the Relations between Graphemes and Phonemes in the Persian Orthographic System

Tayebeh Mosavi Miangah, Relja Vulanović

GLOTTOMETRICSIssue 50, pp 9-26 (2021)https://doi.org/10.53482/2021_50_385


In this paper, the degree to which Persian orthography deviates from transparency is quantified and evaluated. We investigate the relations between graphemes and phonemes in Persian, in which the writing system is not fully  epresentative of the spoken language, mostly due to the omission of the short-vowel graphemes. We measure the degree of the Persian orthographic system transparency using a heuristic mathematical model. We apply the same measures to orthographic systems of other languages and compare the results to those obtained for Persian. The results show a relatively high degree of transparency in Persian when it comes to writing, but a low degree of transparency when it comes to reading. We also consider models that avoid the problems related to the short vowels in Persian and these models demonstrate a considerable decrease of the uncertainty in the Persian orthographic system.


Persian language, orthographic system, orthographic uncertainty, phonemic uncertainty.