Re: three questions about alphabet files at Michael Everson site

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Thu Nov 10 2005 - 15:12:01 CST

  • Next message: Charles Levert: "Re: three questions about alphabet files at Michael Everson site"

    Regarding ü/Ü, you're definetely right. It's needed for French, although it
    is rare (but much less rare than ÿ/Ÿ which seems to occur only in proper
    names). The "tréma" (french name for diaeresis, not for umlaut) can occur on
    all vowels, because its role in French is most often to avoid the creation
    of vocaling digraphs:
    - "au" is a single phonem, "aü" is two separate vowels
    - "gue" is a consonnantal digraph "gu" (pronounced /g/, where a "u" is
    required before "e", as "ge" is pronounced /je/) followed by the (possibly
    unheard) vowel "e" (or schwa), but "guë" (or "güe" with the new orthograph)
    is the consonnant "g", the vowel "u", and a feminine mark "e" (normally not
    audible, except for emphasis of the feminine).
    - same thing for "guï" (three phonems including two distinct vowel sounds)
    face to "gui" (two phonems with a single vowel sound).
    - same thing with "oë" (phased out, except in frequent proper names like
    "Noël"): without it, "oe" is normally a single phoneme, normally written
    with a ligature. So you would write "coëxister" in a old orthography, but
    now it is more frequently written without the tréma "coexister", given that
    the ligature "œ" is rare and occurs in wellknown words without ambiguity.
    - same thing for "aï" and "aïn" (two vowel sounds before the normal vocalic
    n) face to "ain" (single vowel sound)
    - generally the tréma is written over the second vowel.

    The tilde is definitely not French, and used only when writing foreign words
    with their original orthograph rather than a French orthograph (this is not
    exceptional, cañon is accepted, even if canyon is prefererred). So it should
    be between square brackets rather than between parentheses.

    The circumflex over î/Îand û/Û is currently being phased out in most words
    (now "île" = "ile", "aout"="août", "gout" = "goût", and both forms are
    correct), but still needed because they are used in alternate orthographies
    (but they are still required for some cases, including in the standard
    conjugaison of verbs -- at indicative simple past, and at subjonctive
    present or past).

    The circumflex over ô/Ô is absolutely required in French, as it affects
    pronunciation in a very audible way (there's more difference between o/O and
    ô/Ô, than between è/È and ê/Ê where the difference is almost never heard).
    But I think that it will soon be phaseout too because many do not pronounce
    the difference in some regions, and because the phonetic difference is
    already not written consistently (in words where the present of single or
    double consonnant after o is not enough to determine whever "o" should be
    pronounced with an open o "o"r like the closed "ô").

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Charles Levert" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2005 9:11 AM
    Subject: Re: three questions about alphabet files at Michael Everson site

    > Hello.
    > * On Wednesday 2005-11-09 at 22:05:08 +0200, Cristian Secară wrote:
    >> 2. The French alphabet (same site) includes the "N capital/small letter
    >> with tilde" surrounded by (round) parenthesis.
    >> How important is this character for the French language? I have not
    >> found any reference for this character elsewhere (well, after a
    >> moderate search).
    > Alphabet from <>:
    > ]
    > ] A a (Â â, À à), (Æ æ), B b, C c (Ç ç), D d, E e (É é, Ê ê, È è,
    > ] Ë ë), F f, G g, H h, I i (Î î, Ï ï), J j, K k, L l, M m, N n
    > ] (Ñ ñ), O o (Ô ô), (Œ œ), P p, Q q, R r, S s, T t, U u (Û û, Ù ù),
    > ] V v, W w, X x, Y y (Ÿ ÿ), Z z
    > This list is missing (Ü ü) which can be found in French words
    > (i.e., commonly accepted as such in French dictionaries) such as:
    > Words appearing in French dictionaries and containing (Ñ ñ) and
    > others not on this list are usually marked as still being foreign
    > words, but not yet French words of foreign origin. For example:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Nov 10 2005 - 15:14:35 CST