This article is based on the linguistic theory of optimality, which proposes that language forms come about as a result of interactions between conflicting constraints. The article analyses the interaction between visibility and simplicity and its influence on orthographic forms. This interaction is represented by visual markers for vowel length and the restriction on the doubling of a vowel in German orthography, and by historical changes of letter shape and grapheme insertion in Korean orthography. The authors conclude that the interaction between visibility and simplicity results in two types of orthographic syllable in both German and Korean, and that these can be classified as either invisible or visible.

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