Douglas G. Wilson
douglas at NB.NET
Tue Apr 24 13:22:10 UTC 2001
>The AHD4 entry maintains the distinction I mention above: umlaut for
>fronted vowels, di(a)eresis for separately pronounced vowels. In
>French, only the latter occurs and it's a "diarèse" or something of
>the sort. There's evidently a newer sense, not yet in AHD4 or the
>OED, shared by Mark with Bill Safire, in which an umlaut is any
>diacritic consisting of two dots over a vowel, whatever its
>significance. Me, I think I'll pull out my old prescriptivist garb
>and start a "Save the Diaeresis" groundswell. It's a fine old term
>for the anti-diphthongization device, dating back to a cite from
>1611, and I object to its anschluss by "umlaut".
It seems to me that French uses "diérèse" for the process, but "tréma" for
the diacritical mark (in either application). I think "diéresis" in Spanish
covers both applications. I may be misremembering; any expert, please
I'll join the crusade if the dues are small.
Just remember, "diuresis" is something different!
-- Doug Wilson
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