While world has thousands of languages, the number of scripts used is much lower. The main scripts were expanded by religions, empires or both. They were adopted to write previously unwritten languages. Top 10 most popular writing systems are used by well over 90% of the world population.

Scripts are usually divided into multiple families: Sinitic, Indian/Brahmic and Western. Each family was supposedly started by people who did not know other writing systems (although this is disputed). As the time went by the original script of the family evolved and changed into different forms used in different areas (and for different languages)

Moreover, the scripts are divided into categories by what their characters mean. Each character may mean either entire word, a syllable, a modifiable syllable, any phoneme (like in Latin script) or consonant only phoneme. Based on this criteria the script is called either alphabet (character=phoneme), abdjad (character=consonant), abugida (character=modifiable syllable), syllabary (character=sylable).

World scripts map

Western Middle Eastern South Asian East Asian Other
Latin script Arabic script Devanagari Chinese script Other scripts
Cyrillic script Other Middle Eastern Bengali script Japanese script
Other European Other Indian/SE Asian Korean script

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