- This research studies the effect of language orthographic characteristics on the performance of digital word recognition in degraded documents such as historical documents. We provide a rigorous scheme for quantifying the statistical influence of the orthographic characteristics on the quality of word recognition in such documents. We study and compare several orthographic characteristics for four natural languages and measure the effect of each individual characteristic on the digital word recognition process. To this end, we create synthetic languages, for which all characteristics, except the one we examine, are identical, and measure the performance of two word recognition algorithms on synthetic documents of these languages. We examine and summarize the influence of the values of each characteristic on the performance of these word recognition methods.