# Graph (linguistics)

A graph (also Graf ; of ancient Greek γραφή graphs , German , font ' ) is in the linguistics the smallest graphic unit of a writing system or magazine similar sign system . Usually it is a letter or any other single character . Graphs are the subject of investigation in graphetics .

The word is (that is, in linguistics..) With this meaning a neuter with strong diffraction ( the graph of the graph , plural the graphs ) - in contrast to the function graph in math and science ( the graph of the graph ; plural graphs ).

## Definition of terms

### grapheme

Allographs of the grapheme ⟨ U

These are graphs too. In German, however, they do not belong to a grapheme.

Several graphs that fulfill the same function or have the same meaning within a writing system and can replace one another are called allographs . Each class of allographs forms a grapheme. Example:

• The grapheme ⟨ ö ⟩ combines several allographs together. In the past, today's graph ‹ ö › preferred the form ‹ oe ›, ‹ › or ‹ ›. It can also (e.g. in calligraphy ) look like ‹ ō ›, ‹ õ › or ‹ ő ›. In other languages, ‹ œ › and ‹ ø › largely correspond to it . In spelling today, ‹ oe › is a valid replacement for ‹ ö ›.

Grapheme are abstract units of the font linguistics that a difference in meaning in pairs as ⟨ load ⟩ against ⟨ desire can mark⟩: ⟨ a ⟩, ⟨ u ⟩. A graph, on the other hand, is a “concrete, classifiable graphic appearance”. While graphemes only occur in full-fledged fonts, graphs can also be components of predecessors of the font.

### Glyph

Like graphs, glyphs are actually realized characters and the smallest units of writing. The term “glyph” belongs primarily to the field of typography , it relates to aspects of font design and the technical implementation of fonts.

• Most of the time, a single glyph corresponds to a single graph.
• A glyph can also contain several graphs. Example: The graph sequence ‹ oe › can be created as a ligatureœ › - an independent, single glyph.
• On the other hand, a glyph can only be part of a graph. For example, the graph ‹ ö › can be composed of a glyph for the letter ‹ o › and a glyph for the umlaut points¨ ›. Usually, however, the glyph ‹ ö › is used.

## Character sequences

If several graphs follow one another in the flow of writing, they may be considered together. A distinction must be made between a functional and a statistical approach.

• Functionally, several “monographs” are combined into digraphs and trigraphs (in general: plurigraphs) (for example in German the character strings ch and sch ). Digraphs and trigraphs can be allographs to simple graphs, which enables them to be assigned to a common grapheme.
• On the other hand, in computational linguistics and cryptography , for example, every motivated or unmotivated character string is statistically analyzed as a bigram , trigram ... N-grams , that is, the frequency of occurrence of the character strings is determined. This can be a preliminary stage to functional analysis.

## literature

• Hans Peter Althaus : Graphetics . In: Hans Peter Althaus, Helmut Henne, Herbert Ernst Wiegand (eds.): Lexicon of German linguistics . 2nd, completely revised and enlarged edition. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1980, ISBN 3-484-10389-2 , p. 138-142 .
• Christa Dürscheid : Introduction to handwriting linguistics . In: Study books on linguistics . 2nd Edition. tape 8 . Verlag für Sozialwissenschaft, Wiesbaden 2004, ISBN 3-531-33680-0 .
• Peter Gallmann : Graphic elements of the written language. Basis for a reform of the orthography . In: Series German linguistics . tape 60 . Niemeyer, Tübingen 1985, ISBN 3-484-31060-X , 2.2 “On the concept of grapheme”.
• Manfred Kohrt : Problem history of the grapheme concept and the early phoneme concept . In: Series German linguistics . tape 61 . Niemeyer, Tübingen 1985, ISBN 3-484-31061-8 , chapters 5-6.

## Individual evidence

1. ^ Duden online: Graph, Graf, das (Linguistics).
2. See Duden online: Graph, Graf, der (mathematics, natural sciences).
3. ^ Gallmann (1985), § 47.