Diacritic

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

á
Letter a with diacritic acute
Diacritics
accent
acute( ´ )
double acute( ˝ )
grave( ` )
double grave(  ̏ )
breve( ˘ )
inverted breve(  ̑ )
caron, háček( ˇ )
cedilla( ¸ )
circumflex( ˆ )
diaeresis, umlaut( ¨ )
dot( · )
hook, hook above(   ̡   ̢  ̉ )
horn(  ̛ )
iota subscript(  ͅ  )
macron( ¯ )
ogonek, nosinė( ˛ )
perispomene(  ͂  )
ring( ˚, ˳ )
rough breathing( )
smooth breathing( ᾿ )
Marks sometimes used as diacritics
apostrophe( )
bar( ◌̸ )
colon( : )
comma( , )
hyphen( ˗ )
tilde( ~ )
Diacritical marks in other scripts
Arabic diacritics
Early Cyrillic diacritics
titlo(  ҃ )
Gurmukhī diacritics
Hebrew diacritics
Indic diacritics
anusvara( )
chandrabindu( )
nukta( )
virama( )
chandrakkala( )
IPA diacritics
Japanese diacritics
dakuten( )
handakuten( )
Khmer diacritics
Syriac diacritics
Thai diacritics
Related
Dotted circle
Punctuation marks
Logic symbols
 
Jump to: navigation, search
For the academic journal, see Diacritics (journal).
á
Letter a with diacritic acute
Diacritics
accent
acute( ´ )
double acute( ˝ )
grave( ` )
double grave(  ̏ )
breve( ˘ )
inverted breve(  ̑ )
caron, háček( ˇ )
cedilla( ¸ )
circumflex( ˆ )
diaeresis, umlaut( ¨ )
dot( · )
hook, hook above(   ̡   ̢  ̉ )
horn(  ̛ )
iota subscript(  ͅ  )
macron( ¯ )
ogonek, nosinė( ˛ )
perispomene(  ͂  )
ring( ˚, ˳ )
rough breathing( )
smooth breathing( ᾿ )
Marks sometimes used as diacritics
apostrophe( )
bar( ◌̸ )
colon( : )
comma( , )
hyphen( ˗ )
tilde( ~ )
Diacritical marks in other scripts
Arabic diacritics
Early Cyrillic diacritics
titlo(  ҃ )
Gurmukhī diacritics
Hebrew diacritics
Indic diacritics
anusvara( )
chandrabindu( )
nukta( )
virama( )
chandrakkala( )
IPA diacritics
Japanese diacritics
dakuten( )
handakuten( )
Khmer diacritics
Syriac diacritics
Thai diacritics
Related
Dotted circle
Punctuation marks
Logic symbols

A diacritic /d.əˈkrɪtɨk/ – also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign from ancient Greek διά (dia, through) and κρίνω (krinein, to separate) – is a glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph. The term derives from the Greek διακριτικός (diakritikós, "distinguishing"). Diacritic is primarily an adjective, though sometimes used as a noun, whereas diacritical is only ever an adjective. Some diacritical marks, such as the acute ( ´ ) and grave ( ` ) are often called accents. Diacritical marks may appear above or below a letter, or in some other position such as within the letter or between two letters.

The main use of diacritical marks in the Latin script is to change the sound-value of the letter to which they are added. Examples from English are the diaereses in naïve and Noël, which show that the vowel with the diaeresis mark is pronounced separately from the preceding vowel; the acute and grave accents, which can indicate that a final vowel is to be pronounced, as in saké and poetic breathèd, and the cedilla under the "c" in the borrowed French word façade, which shows it is pronounced /s/ rather than /k/. In other Latin alphabets, they may distinguish between homonyms, such as the French ("there") versus la ("the"), which are both pronounced [la]. In Gaelic type, a dot over consonants indicates lenition of the consonant in question.

In other alphabetic systems, diacritical marks may perform other functions. Vowel pointing systems, namely the Arabic harakat ( ـَ, ـُ, ـُ, etc.) and the Hebrew niqqud ( ַ, ֶ, ִ, ֹ , ֻ, etc.) systems, indicate sounds (vowels and tones) that are not conveyed by the basic alphabet. The Indic virama ( ् etc.) and the Arabic sukūn ( ـْـ ) mark the absence of a vowel. Cantillation marks indicate prosody. Other uses include the Early Cyrillic titlo ( ◌҃ ) and the Hebrew gershayim ( ״ ), which, respectively, mark abbreviations or acronyms, and Greek diacritical marks, which showed that letters of the alphabet were being used as numerals. In the Hanyu Pinyin official romanization system for Chinese, diacritics are used to mark the tones of the syllables in which the marked vowels occur.

In orthography and collation, a letter modified by a diacritic may be treated either as a new, distinct letter or as a letter–diacritic combination. This varies from language to language, and may vary from case to case within a language.

In some cases, letters are used as "in-line diacritics" in place of ancillary glyphs, because they modify the sound of the letter preceding them, as in the case of the "h" in English "sh" and "th".[1]

Types[edit]

Among the types of diacritic used in alphabets based on the Latin script are:

The tilde, dot, comma, titlo, apostrophe, bar, and colon are sometimes diacritical marks, but also have other uses.

Not all diacritics occur adjacent to the letter they modify. In the Wali language of Ghana, for example, an apostrophe indicates a change of vowel quality, but occurs at the beginning of the word, as in the dialects ’Bulengee and ’Dolimi. Because of vowel harmony, all vowels in a word are affected, so the scope of the diacritic is the entire word. In abugida scripts, like those used to write Hindi and Thai, diacritics indicate vowels, and may occur above, below, before, after, or around the consonant letter they modify.

The tittle (dot) on the letter i of the Latin alphabet originated as a diacritic to clearly distinguish i from the minims (downstrokes) of adjacent letters. It first appeared in the 11th century in the sequence ii (as in ingeníí), then spread to i adjacent to m, n, u, and finally to all lowercase i's. The j, originally a variant of i, inherited the tittle. The shape of the diacritic developed from initially resembling today's acute accent to a long flourish by the 15th century. With the advent of Roman type it was reduced to the round dot we have today.[2]

Diacritics specific to non-Latin alphabets[edit]

Arabic[edit]

Further information: Arabic diacritics

Chinese[edit]

Greek[edit]

Further information: Greek diacritics

These diacritics are used in addition to the acute, grave, and circumflex accents and the diaeresis:

Hebrew[edit]

Further information: Hebrew diacritics
Genesis 1:9 "And God said, Let the waters be collected".
Letters in black, niqqud in red, cantillation in blue

Korean[edit]

Hunminjeongeum, the Korean alphabet

These diacritics, known as Bangjeom (방점;傍點), were used to mark pitch accents in Hangul for Middle Korean. It is written to the left of a character in vertical writing and above a character in horizontal writing:  〮, 〯   The Korean government officially revised the romanization of the Korean language in July, 2000 to eliminate diacritics.

Sanskrit and Indic[edit]

Further information: Brahmic scripts

Non-alphabetic scripts[edit]

Some non-alphabetic scripts also employ symbols that function essentially as diacritics.

Alphabetization or collation[edit]

Main article: Collation

Different languages use different rules to put diacritic characters in alphabetical order. French treats letters with diacritical marks the same as the underlying letter for purposes of ordering and dictionaries.

The Scandinavian languages, by contrast, treat the characters with diacritics ä, ö and å as new and separate letters of the alphabet, and sort them after z. Usually ä is sorted as equal to æ (ash) and ö is sorted as equal to ø (o-slash). Also, aa, when used as an alternative spelling to å, is sorted as such. Other letters modified by diacritics are treated as variants of the underlying letter, with the exception that ü is frequently sorted as y.

Languages that treat accented letters as variants of the underlying letter usually alphabetize words with such symbols immediately after similar unmarked words. For instance, in German where two words differ only by an umlaut, the word without it is sorted first in German dictionaries (e.g. schon and then schön, or fallen and then fällen). However, when names are concerned (e.g. in phone books or in author catalogues in libraries), umlauts are often treated as combinations of the vowel with a suffixed e; Austrian phone books now treat characters with umlauts as separate letters (immediately following the underlying vowel).

In Spanish, the grapheme ñ is considered a new letter different from n and collated between n and o, as it denotes a different sound from that of a plain n. But the accented vowels á, é, í, ó, ú are not separated from the unaccented vowels a, e, i, o, u, as the acute accent in Spanish only modifies stress within the word or denotes a distinction between homonyms, and does not modify the sound of a letter.

For a comprehensive list of the collating orders in various languages, see Collating sequence.

Generation with computers[edit]

Modern computer technology was developed mostly in English-speaking countries, so data formats, keyboard layouts, etc. were developed with a bias favoring English, a language with an alphabet without diacritical marks. This has led to fears internationally that the marks and accents may be made obsolete to facilitate the worldwide exchange of data.[citation needed] Efforts have been made to create internationalized domain names that further extend the English alphabet (e.g., "pokémon.com").

Depending on the keyboard layout, which differs amongst countries, it is more or less easy to enter letters with diacritics on computers and typewriters. Some have their own keys; some are created by first pressing the key with the diacritic mark followed by the letter to place it on. Such a key is sometimes referred to as a dead key, as it produces no output of its own but modifies the output of the key pressed after it.

In modern Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems, the keyboard layouts US International and UK International feature dead keys that allow one to type Latin letters with the acute, grave, circumflex, diæresis, tilde, and cedilla found in Western European languages (specifically, those combinations found in the ISO Latin-1 character set) directly: ¨+e gives ë, ~+o gives õ, etc. On Apple Macintosh computers, there are keyboard shortcuts for the most common diacritics; Option-e followed by a vowel places an acute accent, Option-u followed by a vowel gives an umlaut, option-c gives a cedilla, etc. Diacritics can be composed in most X Window System keyboard layouts, as well as other operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, using additional software.

On computers, the availability of code pages determines whether one can use certain diacritics. Unicode solves this problem by assigning every known character its own code; if this code is known, most modern computer systems provide a method to input it. With Unicode, it is also possible to combine diacritical marks with most characters.

Languages with letters containing diacritics[edit]

The following languages have letters that contain diacritics that are considered independent letters distinct from those without diacritics.

Germanic
  • Faroese uses acutes and other special letters. All are considered separate letters and have their own place in the alphabet: á, í, ó, ú, ý, and ø.
  • Icelandic uses acutes and other special letters. All are considered separate letters, and have their own place in the alphabet: á, é, í, ó, ú, ý, and ö.
  • Danish and Norwegian uses additional characters like the o-slash ø and the a-overring å. These letters come after z and æ in the order ø, å. Historically the å has developed from a ligature by writing a small superscript a over a lowercase a; if an å character is unavailable, some Scandinavian languages allow the substitution of a doubled a. The Scandinavian languages collate these letters after z, but have different collation standards.
  • Swedish uses a-diaeresis (ä) and o-diaeresis (ö) in the place of ash (æ) and slashed o (ø) in addition to the a-overring (å). Historically the diaeresis for the Swedish letters ä and ö, like the German umlaut, developed from a small Gothic e written above the letters. These letters are collated after z, in the order å, ä, ö.
Celtic
  • Irish uses acutes, called fadas, to indicate vowel length. These are the following vowels á, é, í, ó, ú.
  • Welsh uses the circumflex, diaeresis, acute, and grave on its seven vowels a, e, i, o, u, w, y.
  • Following spelling reforms since the 1970s, Scottish Gaelic uses graves only, which can be used on any vowel (à, è, ì, ò, ù). Formerly acute accents could be used on á, ó and é, which were used to indicate a specific vowel quality. With the elimination of these accents, the new orthography relies on the reader having prior knowledge of pronunciation of a given word.
  • Manx uses the single diacritic ç combined with h to give the digraph çh (pronounced /tʃ/) to mark the distinction between it and the digraph ch (pronounced /h/ or /x/). Other diacritics used in Manx included â, ê, ï, etc. to mark the distinction between two similarly spelled words but with slightly differing pronunciation.
  • Some orthographies of Cornish such as Kernowek Standard and Unified Cornish use diacritics, while others such as Kernewek Kemmyn and the Standard Written Form do not.
Romance
Slavic
  • Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian Latin alphabet have the symbols č, ć, đ, š and ž, which are considered separate letters and are listed as such in dictionaries and other contexts in which words are listed according to alphabetical order. They also have one digraph including a diacritic, , which is also alphabetized independently, and follows d and precedes đ in the alphabetical order. The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet has no diacritics, instead it has a grapheme (glyph) for every letter of its Latin counterpart (including Latin letters with diacritics and the digraphs dž, lj and nj).
  • The Czech alphabet contains 27 graphemes (letters) when written without diacritics and 42 graphemes when written including them. Czech uses the acute (á é í ó ú ý), caron (č ď ě ň ř š ť ž), and for one letter (ů) the ring.
  • Polish has the following letters: ą ć ę ł ń ó ś ź ż. These are considered to be separate letters, each of them is placed in alphabet right after its Latin counterpart (i.e. ą between a and b), ź and ż are placed after z in this order.
  • The Slovak alphabet uses the acute (á é í ó ú ý ĺ ŕ), caron (č ď ľ ň š ť ž), umlaut (ä) and circumflex accent (ô).
  • The basic Slovene alphabet has the symbols č, š, and ž, which are considered separate letters and are listed as such in dictionaries and other contexts in which words are listed according to alphabetical order. Letters with a caron are placed right after the letters as written without the diacritic. The letter đ may be used in non-transliterated foreign words, particularly names, and is placed after č and before d.
Baltic
  • Latvian has the following letters: ā, ē, ī, ū, č, ģ ķ, ļ, ņ, š, ž.
  • Lithuanian. In general usage, where letters appear with the caron (č, š and ž) they are considered as separate letters from c, s or z and collated separately; letters with the ogonek (ą, ę, į and ų), the macron (ū) and the superdot (ė) are considered as separate letters as well, but not given a unique collation order.
Finno-Ugric
  • Estonian has a distinct letter õ, which contains a tilde. Estonian "dotted vowels" ä, ö, ü are similar to German, but these are also distinct letters, not like German umlauted letters. All four have their own place in the alphabet, between w and x. Carons in š or ž appear only in foreign proper names and loanwords. Also these are distinct letters, placed in the alphabet between s and t.
  • Finnish uses dotted vowels (ä and ö). As in Swedish and Estonian, these are regarded as individual letters, rather than vowel + umlaut combinations (as happens in German). It also uses the characters å, š and ž in foreign names and loanwords. In the Finnish and Swedish alphabets, å, ä and ö collate as separate letters after z, the others as variants of their base letter.
  • Hungarian uses the umlaut, the acute and double acute accent (unique to Hungarian): ö ü, á é í ó ú and ő ű. The acute accent indicates the long form of a vowel (in case of i/í, o/ó, u/ú) while the double acute performs the same function for ö and ü. The acute accent can also indicate a different sound (more open, like in case of a/á, e/é). Both long and short forms of the vowels are listed separately in the Hungarian alphabet but members of the pairs a/á, e/é, i/í, o/ó, ö/ő, u/ú and ü/ű are collated in dictionaries as the same letter.
  • Livonian has the following letters: ā, ä, ǟ, , ē, ī, ļ, ņ, ō, ȯ, ȱ, õ, ȭ, ŗ, š, ț, ū, ž.
Turkic
  • Azerbaijani includes the distinct Turkish alphabet letters Ç, Ğ, I, İ, Ö, Ş and Ü.
  • Crimean Tatar includes the distinct Turkish alphabet letters Ç, Ğ, I, İ, Ö, Ş and Ü. Unlike Standard Turkish (but like Cypriot Turkish), Crimean Tatar also has the letter Ñ.
  • Gagauz includes the distinct Turkish alphabet letters Ç, Ğ, I, İ, Ö and Ü. Unlike Turkish, Gagauz also has the letters Ä, Ê Ș and Ț. Ș and Ț are derived from the Romanian alphabet for the same sounds. Sometime the Turkish Ş may be used instead of Ș.
  • Turkish uses a G with a breve (Ğ), two letters with an umlaut (Ö and Ü, representing two rounded front vowels), two letters with a cedilla (Ç and Ş, representing the affricate /tʃ/ and the fricative /ʃ/), and also possesses a dotted capital İ (and a dotless lowercase ı representing a high unrounded back vowel). In Turkish each of these are separate letters, rather than versions of other letters, where dotted capital İ and lower case i are the same letter, as are dotless capital I and lowercase ı. Typographically, Ç and Ş are often rendered with a subdot, as in ; when a hook is used, it tends to have more a comma shape than the usual cedilla. The new Azerbaijani, Crimean Tatar, and Gagauz alphabets are based on the Turkish alphabet and its same diacriticized letters, with some additions.
  • Turkmen includes the distinct Turkish alphabet letters Ç, Ö, Ş and Ü. In addition, Turkmen uses A with diaeresis (Ä) to represent /æ/, N with caron (Ň) to represent the velar nasal /ŋ/, Y with acute (Ý) to represent the palatal approximant /j/, and Z with caron (Ž) to represent /ʒ/.
Other
  • Albanian has two special letters Ç and Ё upper and lowercase. They are placed next to the most similar letters in the alphabet, c and e correspondingly.
  • Esperanto has the symbols ŭ, ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ and ŝ, which are included in the alphabet, and considered separate letters.
  • Hawaiian uses the kahakô (macron) over vowels, although there is some disagreement over considering them as individual letters. The kahakô over a vowel can completely change the meaning of a word that is spelled the same but without the kahakô.
  • Kurdish uses the symbols Ç, Ê, Î, Ş and Û with other 26 standard Latin alphabet symbols.
  • Maltese uses a C, G, and Z with a dot over them (Ċ, Ġ, Ż), and also has an H with an extra horizontal bar. For uppercase H, the extra bar is written slightly above the usual bar. For lowercase H, the extra bar is written crossing the vertical, like a t, and not touching the lower part (Ħ, ħ). The above characters are considered separate letters. The letter 'c' without a dot has fallen out of use due to redundancy. 'Ċ' is pronounced like the English 'ch' and 'k' is used as a hard c as in 'cat'. 'Ż' is pronounced just like the English 'Z' as in 'Zebra', while 'Z' is used to make the sound of 'ts' in English (like 'tsunami' or 'maths'). 'Ġ' is used as a hard 'G' like in 'geometry', while the 'G' sounds like a soft 'G' like in 'log'. The digraph 'għ' (called għajn after the Arabic letter name ʻayn for غ) is considered separate, and sometimes ordered after 'g', whilst in other volumes it is placed between 'n' and 'o' (the Latin letter 'o' originally evolved from the shape of Phoenician ʻayin, which was traditionally collated after Phoenician nūn).
  • Vietnamese uses the horn diacritic for the letters ơ and ư; the circumflex for the letters â, ê, and ô; the breve for the letter ă; and a bar through the letter đ.
  • Lakota alphabet uses the caron for the letters č, ȟ, ǧ, š, and ž. It also uses the acute accent for stressed vowels á, é, í, ó, ú, áŋ, íŋ, úŋ.
Cyrillic alphabets
  • Belarusian has a letter ў.
  • Belarusian, Bulgarian, Russian and Ukrainian have the letter й.
  • Belarusian and Russian have the letter ё. In Russian, this letter is usually replaced by е, although it has a different pronunciation. The use of е instead of ё does not affect the pronunciation. Ё is always used in children's books and in dictionaries. A minimal pair is все (vs'e, "everybody" pl.) and всё (vs'o, "everything" n. sg.). In Belarusian the replacement by е is a mistake, in Russian, it is possible to use either е and ё in place of ё but the former is more common.
  • The Cyrillic Ukrainian alphabet has the letters й and ї. Ukrainian Latynka has many more.
  • Macedonian has the letters ќ and ѓ.
  • In Bulgarian the possessive pronoun ѝ (ì, "her") is spelled with a grave accent in order to distinguish it from the conjunction и (i, "and").
  • The acute accent " ́" above any vowel in Cyrillic alphabets is used in dictionaries, books for children and foreign learners to indicate the word stress, it also can be used for disambiguation of similarly spelled words with different lexical stresses.

Diacritics that do not produce new letters[edit]

Blackboard used in class at Harvard shows students' efforts at placing the ü and acute accent diacritic used in Spanish orthography.

English[edit]

English is one of the few European languages that does not have many words that contain diacritical marks. Exceptions are unassimilated foreign loanwords, including borrowings from French and, increasingly, Spanish; however, the diacritic is also sometimes omitted from such words. Loanwords that frequently appear with the diacritic in English include café, résumé or resumé (a usage that helps distinguish it from the verb resume), soufflé, and naïveté (see English terms with diacritical marks). In older practice (and even among some orthographically conservative modern writers) one may see examples such as élite and rôle.

English speakers and writers once used the diaeresis more often than now in words such as coöperation (from Fr. coopération), zoölogy (from Grk. zoologia), and seeër (now more commonly see-er or simply seer), but this practice has become far less common; The New Yorker magazine is one of the few major publications that still use it.

A few English words can only be distinguished from others by a diacritic or modified letter, including animé, exposé, lamé, maté, öre, øre, pâté, piqué, rosé, and soufflé. The same is true of résumé, alternately resumé, but nevertheless it is sometimes spelled resume in the US, and saké, which is more commonly spelled sake. In a few words, diacritics that did not exist in the original have been added for disambiguation, as in maté (from Sp. and Port. mate) and Malé (from Dhivehi މާލެ).

The acute and grave accents are occasionally used in poetry and lyrics: the acute to indicate stress overtly where it might be ambiguous (rébel vs. rebél) or nonstandard for metrical reasons (caléndar), the grave to indicate that an ordinarily silent or elided syllable is pronounced (warnèd, parlìament).

In certain personal names such as Renée and Zoë, often two spellings exist, and the preference will be known only to those close to the person themselves. Even when the name of a person is spelled with a diacritic, like Charlotte Brontë, this may be dropped in less careful sources such as webpages. They also appear in some worldwide company names and/or trademarks such as for instance Nestlé or Citroën.

Other languages[edit]

The following languages have letter-diacritic combinations that are not considered independent letters.

Transliteration[edit]

Several languages that are not written with the Roman alphabet are transliterated, or romanized, using diacritics. Examples:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Henry Sweet (1877) A Handbook of Phonetics, p 174–175: "Even letters with accents and diacritics [...] being only cast for a few founts, act practically as new letters. [...] We may consider the h in sh and th simply as a diacritic written for convenience on a line with the letter it modifies."
  2. ^ OED
  3. ^ Academia de la Llingua Asturiana, Gramática de la Llingua Asturiana, tercera edición, Oviedo: Academia de la Llingua Asturiana (2001), ISBN 84-8168-310-8, http://www.academiadelallingua.com/diccionariu/gramatica_llingua.pdf (page 16, section 1.2)
  4. ^ (Dutch) van Geloven, Sander (2012). Diakritische tekens in het Nederlands. Utrecht: Hellebaard. 

External links[edit]