The concept of the ‘default’ choice

The term ‘default’ is familiar from computing discourse.

default       a preselected option adopted by a computer program or other mechanism when no alternative is specified by the user or programmer

Choice of the default grapheme

When we talk of a phoneme being represented by such-and-such a grapheme ‘by default’ we mean that:

Here are examples of such default statements.

The default is only overridden by a relevant phonological or etymological circumstance, or an orthographic convention. For instance:


In the main part of this Theme we shall see that the ‘default’ grapheme for the phoneme / / is < u >.