Workshop on Writing Systems and the Linguistic Structure


July 21-26, 2008

Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea


A workshop on Writing Systems and the Linguistic Structure will be held in conjunction with the 18th International Congress of Linguists (CIL 18).



Sang-Oak Lee
Department of Korean,

College of Humanities,

Seoul National University,

Seoul 151-742, KOREA
Email: [email protected] 

Tel: 82-2-815-7164

Fax 82-2-878-1246



In recent years Coulmas, Graham, Robinson, Rogers, Sampson, Sproat, Daniel and Bright wrote books, and the journal Written Language and Literacy shows that there has been an upsurge of interest in writing systems. Modern linguistics has been afflicted by scriptism, defined as "the tendency of linguists to base their analyses on writing-induced concepts such as phoneme, word, and sentence," while subscribing to the intricate relationship between written and spoken language. As an interesting case of successful combination, "the creators of Han'gul wanted it to be a script that is easy to learn and easy to read. These requirements are met by keeping the number of basic graphs very low to meet the requirements of the learner and writer, while creating enough graphic complexity — in the syllable blocks — to meet the reader's requirements for contrast and discernibility." There are also other complex topics, such as morphogenesis (the idea that all writing can be traced back to a single system), orthographic reform, diglossia (two coexisting varieties, often with a written/spoken contrast) and digraphia (the use of different scripts for the one language), and dyslexia. In this workshop, however, it may be focused on the question of what constraints, if any, exist between writing and the linguistic information it encodes. Substantive questions include:

- What kinds of formal constraints constrain the mapping between language and writing?
- What effects do properties of writing systems have on conscious (or unconscious)

knowledge of language among literate speakers.
- Are properties of scripts and writing systems -- e.g. such overt properties as script

directionality -- related to what kind of information is encoded?

These seem to be the interesting questions in relation to 'Writing Systems and the Linguistic Structure' but I also encourage papers which do not quite fit this description but good for widening the scope and contents of workshop toward quite promising discussion. Given that writing is not yet well known even within the linguistic world, I would think that such a workshop would be quite interesting to many different sorts of linguists, for example, those on the history of writing, or on the sociolinguistics or psycholinguistics of writing, but not notation systems used for music and movement.


Important Dates:


August  31, 2007: Deadline for submitting the abstract.

November 30, 2007: Notification of acceptance.


Form and submission of abstracts:


An abstract(.pdf or .doc file) should be up to 3 pages long, including data and references.

The abstract should start with the title of the paper, followed by the text of the abstract.

Please do not include the author's name in the abstract. On a separate page, please give

the author's name, affiliation, e-mail address, telephone number, mailing address, the paper title and the session number(title).


Please send the abstract and the author's information to both [email protected] and [email protected].