A method for pattern recognition of indicia composed of alphabetical characters of a language in the form of at least a part of a word. The shape of each character in a word is established by means of a pattern shape recognizer. A probability value designating the relative confidence in the recognition of the character as one of the language characters is assigned to each character. The established shapes of the characters are then sequentially applied to a linguistic recognizer for further processing and the probability values of language structure to each of the language characters is assigned. Then the probability values assigned to the characters in the shape recognizer is combined with the corresponding probability values assigned to the characters in the linguistic recognizer and the path between characters possessing the highest probability values is determined.