How do these symbol diacritic or accent marks sound?

How do these selective letters sound?

è, ì, ò,

é, í, ó,

ê, î, ô,


ë, ï, ö,


8 Answers

  • Jallan
    Lv 7
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    It depends on the language.

    But generally the acute accent (´) indicates a longer and more tense version of the vowel sound. For example, French, a regular “e” has the sound heard in English “let” while “é” is close to that found in English “laid”. In Ancient Greek where the acute accent originated, it is believed to have been invented to indicate a rising tone on the vowel.

    The grave accent or stress mark (`) just indicates the vowel is not silent, for example, in a transcribing a ballad one might write “he steppèd up to her” to show that the “e” in “stepped' is to be pronounced. In Ancient Greek, where the stress mark originated, it was believed to have indicated a falling tone on the vowel. It is often used in non-English languages to indicated the stressed syllable in a word.

    The circumflex accent (ˆ) is approximately the same as the acute accent (´). Some languages use one and some use another. In French it marks a place where the vowel was once followed by the latter “s” which has since dropped out in prounciation. That is, in French, in the word “isle”, the “s” was at one time pronounced, but came to be dropped, so the word came to be spelled “iˢle” to indicate this and the “ˢ” was eventually smudged into a circumflex accent (ˆ). In Ancient Greek, where it originated, it was believed to have indicate a rising-falling tone on the vowel.

    The circumflex accent is also used sometimes in transliteration of Semitic languages to indicate a vowel which was derived from an earlier vowel followed by a congruent consonant and so does not change from long to short when a prefix or suffix is added to the word of which it is part. In such transliterations a normal long vowel is indicated by a macron (ˉ): ā Ā, ǣǢ, ē Ē, ī Ī, ō Ō, ǭ Ǭ, ū Ū, ȳ Ȳ.

    The tilde (˜) was originally used in Spanish and Portuguese and was at first identical in appearance to the macron. In Spanish it was used over “n” as “ñ” to indicate a sound something like “ny” as in “cañon”, adapted into English as “canyon” or “canion”. But in Portuguese, it was used to indicate that the vowels “a” or “o” were nasalized. See . This trick was then adapted into a few other newer Latin-letter transcriptions invented later for other languages.

    The symbol (¨) has two separate sources and two separate meanings.

    In Ancient Greek, it was known as the diaeresis, and was placed on top of a vowel to indicate that it was to be pronounced distinctly, not merged into a diphthong with the previous vowel. This is used sometimes in English: Hermionë, coӧperate. It is used very often in French, for example in “haïr” ‘to hate’.

    In German, the vowel combinations “ae”, “oe”, and “ue” were very common and were at one time pronounced in two syllables. But eventually they became slurred into a single syllable, the basic sound being that of “e” but the lips pronouncing the first vowel. The “e”, to indicate this, was written as a superscript (aᵉ, oᵉ, uᵉ) and then later placed on top of the first letter (aͤ, oͤ, uͤ), and finally the overprinted small “e” became slurred into two overdots (ä, ö, ü). (You may not see all these transitions properly if you are not using Firefox and if Firefox is not using fonts that can perform these gyrations.) It is still considered correct but overly formal and somewhat archaic to spell “ä” as “ae” or “æ”, “ö” as “oe” or “œ, and “ü” as “ue”. The use of “¨” was then applied in other languages for letters that had the same sounds as the German letters, even though in the other languages the letters often did not derive from another vowel with e-coloring. See .

    The symbol “å” supposedly represents “ao”, the “o” having become reduced to a ring diacritic. But in fact it developed from “aa”, the second “a”, when reduced, being slurred into “˚”. Nowadays, it indicates the “a” is to be pronounced as “o”. See .

    Languages all have their own ways of doing things and I know, in some cases, that my descriptions above do not fit the use of some of the diacritics in the spelling of some languages.

  • arlina
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    O With Accent Mark

  • solarz
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    I Accent

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    It totally varies depending on the phonology of the language in question.

    "ï" used to be used in English and a few other European languages.

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  • Rose
    Lv 4
    5 years ago


  • 10 years ago

    Its depends of the language.

  • ferne
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Searching for an answer on this too

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    It depends on what language you are talking about.

    I've never seen ï used. EVER.

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