What’s written?


In most of Europe and in North America the Latin alphabet is used. You are reading it right now. There are some minor variations between various countries. In Germany they have an extra symbol the ß (the double s). In Scandinavia they use – depending on the country – extra symbols like the ø, å, þ, æ and ö. Some are missing, as I only show you the must fancy looking characters. Still it’s not too difficult to get the hang of it. It’s getting more difficult when we have a look at the writing of our ‘neighbouring’ countries in the east. In former Yugoslavia and Russia people prefer to write in Cyrillic. It looks similar to Latin, there are some extra symbols and other symbols have a different pronunciation. No worries, when you stick around for a week or two and practise a little you are probably able to read most of the signs. When driving around at the end of your stay you don’t get lost as often as you did at the day of arrival. More or less the same for the Greek alphabet, it will take a little longer to master.

And there is Asia; the highest diversity of written languages can be found on this continent. I guess it’s the wet dream of every linguist. Of course the Latin alphabet is present in most countries, as electronic devices like computers often have keyboards equipped with the Latin alphabet. If you find yourself in a place with alien writing, well good luck, to get lost is a lot easier now. When you plan to settle there, or you are a linguistic genius it’s nice to try. For me learning an alien language it’s like learning a computer language; extremely boring but fascinating to look at. And everyone who can write in the funny characters easily impresses me. Best of all are the official letters, stamps, banknotes, medical declaration and police reports which I take back home as a curiosity.

Do you know which writing belongs to which country?

Are you a backpacker who has seen all or are you a true bookworm, either way test what knowledge has stuck.


  1. Stef 3 April, 2015 at 16:48 Reply

    I thought for sure that their would be more languages in India than in Indonesia. Learn somthing new everyday.

  2. Yanina 9 May, 2015 at 20:41 Reply

    the hands belong to mavis mawlore, searching for a little automatic gun, which subsequently can’t save her life. quite fittingly, in an apartment in which everything seems to bear her monogram, she is being strangled to death with a monogrammed scarf thus setting off the plot of Black Angel (1946).

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