Diaeresis and Umlaut

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Diaeresis (known as tréma in French) and umlaut both employ the same character. But there is a difference of use between diaeresis and umlaut. Letters with umlaut stand for completely different sounds than their non-accented counterparts. For example in Swedish Oo represents /u/ while Öö represents /ø/. Diaeresis on the other hand does not change the sound value of a letter, but instead marks that a vowel is not part of a diphthong or digraph. Both are also known under the general name trema.

The diaeresis and umlaut characters have different origins. Diaeresis was borrowed from the Greek alphabet,[1] while umlaut began as a small e placed on top of Aa, Oo or Uu. This e then later evolved into the same shape as diaeresis.[2]

Diaeresis/Umlaut in Unicode

Characters with Diaeresis/Umlaut
¨ ◌̈ Ä ä Ǟ ǟ Ë ë Ï ï
U+00A8 U+0308 U+00C4 U+00E4 U+01DE U+01DF U+00CB U+00EB U+1E26 U+1E27 U+00CF ​ U+00EF U+1E2E
Diaeresis Combining Diaeresis Latin Capital Letter A With Diaeresis Latin Small Letter A With Diaeresis Latin Capital Letter A With Diaeresis And Macron Latin Small Letter A With Diaeresis And Macron Latin Capital Letter E With Diaeresis Latin Small Letter E With Diaeresis Latin Capital Letter H With Diaeresis Latin Small Letter H With Diaeresis Latin Capital Letter I With Diaeresis Latin Small Letter I With Diaeresis Latin Capital Letter I With Diaeresis And Acute
Ö ö Ȫ ȫ Ü ü Ǖ ǖ Ǘ
U+1E2F U+00D6 U+00F6 ​ U+022A U+022B U+1E4E U+1E4F U+1E97 U+00DC ​ U+00FC U+01D5 U+01D6 U+01D7
Latin Small Letter I With Diaeresis And Acute ​ Latin Capital Letter O With Diaeresis Latin Small Letter O With Diaeresis ​ Latin Capital Letter O With Diaeresis And Macron Latin Small Letter O With Diaeresis And Macron Latin Capital Letter O With Tilde And Diaeresis Latin Small Letter O With Tilde And Diaeresis Latin Small Letter T With Diaeresis Latin Capital Letter U With Diaeresis Latin Small Letter U With Diaeresis Latin Capital Letter U With Diaeresis And Macron Latin Small Letter U With Diaeresis And Macron ​ Latin Capital Letter U With Diaeresis And Acute
ǘ Ǚ ǚ Ǜ ǜ Ÿ ÿ
U+01D8 U+01D9 U+01DA U+01DB U+01DC U+1E7A U+1E7B U+1E84 U+1E85 U+1E8C U+1E8D U+0178 U+00FF
Latin Small Letter U With Diaeresis And Acute Latin Capital Letter U With Diaeresis And Caron Latin Small Letter U With Diaeresis And Caron Latin Capital Letter U With Diaeresis And Grave Latin Small Letter U With Diaeresis And Grave Latin Capital Letter U With Macron And Diaeresis Latin Small Letter U With Macron And Diaeresis Latin Capital Letter W With Diaeresis Latin Small Letter W With Diaeresis Latin Capital Letter X With Diaeresis Latin Small Letter X With Diaeresis Latin Capital Letter Y With Diaeresis Latin Small Letter Y With Diaeresis

Diaeresis/Umlaut in Natlangs

Uses of Diaeresis or Umlaut
Usage Language Letters Notes
Central vowel Moro Ëë /ˈəː/ This letter represents a "long or stressed ‘ə’",[3] but the phonemicity of it is contested.[4] The orthography for Moro did not have capital letters originally.[3]
Change of place of articulation Malagasy N̈n̈ /ŋ/ This letter is used in some dialects. It may optionally be replaced by Ññ or Ng ng.[5] Note that N̈n̈ is not a precomposed letter.
Front version of back vowel (this includes Ää even though its unaccented version is not a back vowel in all of these languages) Estonian Ää /æ/, Öö /ø/, Üü /y/
Finnish Ää /æ/, Öö /ø/ Usage borrowed from Swedish.
German Ää /ɛ/, Öö /ø/, Üü /y/ The umlaut evolved from the letter e in the digraphs ae, oe and ue.
Hungarian Öö /ø/, Üü /y/
Icelandic Öö /œ/
Livonian Ää /æ/, Ǟǟ /æː/
Mandarin (Pinyin romanization) Üü /y/, Ǖǖ /y˥/, Ǘǘ /y˧˥/, Ǚǚ /y˨˩˦/, Ǜǜ /˥˩/ Üü without tone markings may stand for the so called neutral tone,[6] or it is simply due to no tone marks being used in the given text.[7] Note that these tone values are based on the Beijing dialect.[8]
Slovak Ää /æ~ɛ/ /æ/ is archaic or dialectal pronunciation.[9]
Swedish Ää /ɛ/, Öö /ø/, Üü /y/ The umlaut evolved from the letter e in the digraphs ae[10] and oe.[11] Üü is not really a part of the Swedish alphabet, but is used in some loanwords and in many surnames.
Hiatus Catalan Ïï /i/, Üü /u/ Diaeresis on an Ii or Uu following another vowel marks that the two vowels are in different syllables. Without diaresis, the Ii or Uu would stand for a semivowel.[12]
French Ëë, Ïï, Üü, Ÿÿ
Non-silent vowel Catalan Üü /w/ Diaresis on an Uu that is between Gg or Qq and a front vowel marks that this letter stands for /w/. Otherwise it would be a part of the digraph Gu gu /g/ or Qu qu /k/ that is used before front vowels.[12]
Raised vowel Hungarian Ëë /e/ Unaccented Ee stands for /ɛ/. Ëë is not really a part of the Hungarian alphabet however; it is used when writing down spoken or sung language in a dialect that has this phoneme.
Other Arabic (ISO 233 romanization) T̈ẗ /a(t)/ This letter is used for transcribing the Arabic letter ة which is used for a suffix which may or may not include a /t/, depending on context.[13] Note that there is no precomposed form of capital T̈.

Diaeresis/Umlaut in Conlangs

Uses of Diaeresis or Umlaut
Usage Language Creator Letters Notes
Digraph disambiguation Lhueslue (external romanization) Qwynegold Ëë /e/ The diaeresis is used when /e/ follows another vowel, and signals that these two vowel letters do not form a digraph. These two vowels are pronounced as a diphthong.[14]
Front version of back vowel Qwynegold (Qwadralónia dialect) Qwynegold Ää /æ, ɛ/, Ä́ä́ /æˑ, ɛˑ/, Ā̈ā̈ /æː, ɛː/, Öö /ø, œ/, Ö́ö́ /øˑ, œˑ/, Ō̈ō̈ /øː, œː/ Ä́ä́, Ā̈ā̈, Ö́ö́, Ō̈ō̈ have no precomposed forms.
Songulda (external romanization) Qwynegold Öö /ø/, Üü /y/ Unaccented Oo, Uu stand for /o, u/.[15]
Stress Seebee (external romanization) Qwynegold ȷ̈ /ˈj/ Normally a dot is placed below the first letter of a stressed syllable, but in the case of lower case j, umlaut is used instead because there is not space for a dot neither below or above the letter otherwise. Note that ȷ̈ is not a precomposed letter, but a combination of dotless ȷ and combining diaeresis.

See Also

References

  1. Diaeresis, Diaeresis, History at Wikipedia.
  2. Diaeresis, Umlaut, History at Wikipedia.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Guest, Elizabeth. 1997. Moro Phonology.
  4. Blench, Roger. 2005. A dictionary of the Moro language of the Nuba hills, Sudan .
  5. Malagasy language, Diacritics at Wikipedia.
  6. Pinyin, Numerals in place of tone marks at Wikipedia.
  7. Pinyin at Wikipedia.
  8. Mandarin Chinese, Tones at Wikipedia.
  9. Slovak language at Wikipedia.
  10. Ä at Wikipedia.
  11. Ö at Wikipedia.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Catalan alphabet, Diaeresis at Wikipedia.
  13. Taw, Tāʼ marbūṭah at Wikipedia.
  14. Lhueslue, Romanization at FrathWiki.
  15. Songulda language, Romanization and pronunciation at FrathWiki.