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Grapheme: Much confusion has arisen in the discussion of written language and writing systems because the term "grapheme" has been used with two different meanings: (1) Something that is entirely inside the graphonomy of a language (this is what Kohrt 1986 calls the "analogical view" of a grapheme. (2) Something inside the phonology of a language that is related in a certain way to its graphonomy (this is what Kohrt 1986 calls the "referential view" of a grapheme). Within linguistics, and also within the profession of training school teachers, there are some people who use it with the first of these meanings and some who use it with the second. This double meaning of the term "grapheme" is likely to continue, and we linguists should therefore realize that we should specify which meaning we give to it. For this purpose, it will be convenient to use Kohrt's terms and say that we understand graphemes to be either "analogical" or "referential".

Reference: Kohrt, Manfred. 1986. "The term 'grapheme' in the history and theory of linguistics." In Gerhart Augst, ed. _New Trends in graphemics and orthography_. Berlin: DeGruyter, pp 80-96.

(The author of this entry, Earl M. Herrick, wishes to note that he always uses the term "grapheme" with its analogical meaning. This entry is extracted from his web site on graphonomy <>, where he has copyrighted it with the remark that anyone is free to use anything from it, as long as the copyright is somehow acknowledged. The same applies to this entry.)