Natlang Uses of Diacritics in the Latin Alphabet

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This is a collection of articles that list different uses of diacritical marks that have natlang precedence. Conlangers can use this to find inspiration for their own conlang's orthography or transliteration. These articles could also be used as reference for those designing a keyboard layout.

Conlangs and transcription systems are also included in these articles. If you want to contribute with your own conlangs, or natlang examples, please read first the design guidelines on the talk page.

List of Articles on Natlang Usage of Latin Alphabet Diacritics
Diacritic name Other names Character Notes
Acute accent Kreska ˊ Although Łł is considered to be an Ll with kreska in Polish typography, this letter is listed under stroke.
Acute accent below ˏ
Bar Stroke, horizontal bar, middle tilde ◌̵ Eth (Ðð) and capital African D (Ɖ) are listed here. See also stroke.
Breve ˘
Breve below ◌̮
Candrabindu Chandrabindu, chandravindu, candravindu, chôndrobindu ◌̐
Caron Háček, haček ˇ
Cedilla ¸ Some of the letters included here have in practice comma below, but Şş and Ţţ are listed under comma below.
Circumflex ˆ
Circumflex below ◌̭
Comma above Psilòn pneûma, psilon pneuma, psilí, psili, spīritus lēnis, spiritus lenis ᾿ Actually a greek script diacritic, but used in some Latin alphabets.
Comma above right ◌̕
Comma below ◌̦ This article includes Şş and Ţţ, but not other letters containing a comma looking diacritic. Instead, see cedilla.
Descender
Diaeresis/umlaut Tréma, trema ¨
Diaeresis below ◌̤
Dot above Overdot, anusvāra, anusvara ˙
Dot above right ◌͘
Dot below Underdot ◌̣
Double acute accent Hungarumlaut ˝
Double grave accent ​ ◌̏
Double ring below ​ ◌͚
Double vertical line above ​ ◌̎
Grave accent ˋ
Grave accent below ˎ
Hook above Dấu hỏi ◌̉
Horn Dấu móc ◌̛
Inverted breve Arch ◌̑
Low line Underline, underscore ◌̲ This diacritic is very similar to macron below.
Macron ˉ
Macron below Line below, low macron ˍ
Middle dot Interpunct, interpoint, centered dot, centred dot, space dot ·
Ogonek ˛
Palatalized hook ◌̡
Retroflex hook Hook, tail ◌̢
Right half ring ʾ
Ring above ˚
Ring below ˳
Stroke Diagonal stroke, solidus, strikethrough ◌̷ Bar may also be called stroke. Eth (Ðð) is not listed here, but under bar.
Tilde ˜
Tilde below ˷
Tilde overlay ◌̴
Vertical line above ˈ
Vertical line below ˌ
Vertical tilde ◌̾

Layout Overview

An example of a Unicode table, from the article Natlang Uses of Caron. Notice character similarity warnings both in the article text above, and as a note in the table itself.

In these articles combining (non-spacing) diacritics are attached to a ◌. Diacritics without a ◌, like ¨ for example, are non-combining (spacing). Non-combining diacritics are sometimes called modifier letters in Unicode. The non-combining forms may for example be used when writing about a conlang's orthography, when one wants to refer to a diacritic without using any base letter with it. Some natlangs even use some diacritics as stand alone characters!

When a letter is referred to without concerning about case, it is displayed like so: Ťť. This is for clarity's sake because some diacritics may look different depending on the letter's case, as in the previous example. When either only an upper case or a lower case letter is used in an article, it usually refers to that specific case variant. But it can also refer to a character which has only one case.

Sometimes it may be necessary to refer to a digraph, for example Ŀl in Catalan. When a digraph is referenced to without concerning about case, it is written like this: Ŀl ŀl; with a space between the letters. Different languages' orthographies may have different rules about capitalization of the first letter of a word. In most languages, only the first letter of a digraph is capitalized; but there are languages where both letters are capitalized. Which rule a particular orthography, that is examplified in these articles, follows, can thus be discerned from how the article writes the digraph.

These articles show first which precomposed letter plus diacritic combinations exist in Unicode, and what their codepoints and Unicode names are. The different forms of the stand alone diacritics are also shown. For example the tilde has three different forms: An "ASCII form" ~, which is used in programming among other things, where the tilde is centered; a non-combining diacritic form ˜, where the tilde has the same position it would have when combined with a base letter; and a combining form ◌̃.

Many diacritics or accented letters look very similar to other characters, for example caron ˇ and breve ˘. These cases are warned about either in the text at the beginning of the article, or in notes at the table that lists the precomposed characters. It is desirable that all the diacritics in one orthography can be easily told apart, so conlangers devising new orthographies should be careful about this. A conlanger may also mistakenly copypaste a similar looking but wrong character from somewhere to a conlang project, so thereful the articles also list characters that would otherwise be unlikely to normally appear in the same orthography, such as Latin Capital Letter O With Stroke, Ø (U+00D8); and Empty Set, ∅ (U+2205) for example. Cases such as the one with caron ˇ and breve ˘, which concern essentially all characters with this accent, are notified about in the text at the beginning of the article. Cases such as Ø and ∅, which only concern an individual pair of characters, are notified about in the Unicode table.

Uses of Ring Above
Use Language Letters Notes
Back version of front vowel. Often also rounded. Chamorro Åå /ɑ/
Danish, Norwegian Åå /ɔ/ From an earlier digraph aa representing /ɔ/, which in turn came from /aː/.[1]
Swedish Åå /o/ From an earlier digraph aa representing /ɔ/, which in turn came from /aː/.[2]
Long vowel Czech Ůů /uː/ This comes from a diphthong /uo/, where the o was sometimes written as a ring above the u. A sound change then turned /uo/ into /uː/.[3]

After the precomposed characters have been presented, comes examples of how natlangs use the diacritic. (Natromanizations of other scripts are also included.) For each language, the letters and the phonemes they represent are listed. The notes may contain a short history of why the characters are used in this way in the given language. These explanations are very short though, so often times one can read more about it by clicking the reference link ([1], [2] or [3] above). The notes may also give more information about a characters usage, when it is not quite straight forward, or when it differs a little from the other characters in the same group.

Further reading