Re: Tildes on vowels

From: Andrew C. West (andrewcwest@alumni.princeton.edu)
Date: Thu Aug 08 2002 - 06:40:39 EDT


"Anto'nio Martins-Tuva'lkin" wrote:

> I think our brazilian correspondant is thinking about old portuguese;
> the tilde was quite usual atop "u" and "e" in Middle Age texts (before
> any kind of orthographic stabilization, mind). I'm not quite sure about
> tiles on "i" and "y", but I wouldn't be surprised.
>

And in other European languages, a tilde above a vowel was a common abbreviation for vowel plus "n"
or "m". For instance, in a French 1649 pamphlet that I have recently transcribed
(http://uk.geocities.com/muddytailedturtle/Mazarinades/ApologieCurieuse.html), , ẽ and are
frequently found in place of "an", "en" and "on", apparently because the typesetter wanted to
squeeze the text onto a single line, and tildesizing a vowel was an easy way to reduce the text by
one letter. I guess that if you look hard enough you'll also find examples of ĩ, ũ and
ỹ for "in", "un" and "yn".

Andrew West



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