The reason englishspeakers still call it umlaut in Hungarian and Turksh i=
not because there is no name for them.  It is because the name isn't as
easily anglicized.  I like to call it an "if it isn't English, it doesn't
exist or we'll make it" approach.

Hungarians call it "kett=F5spont".  Same as a colon.  The word literally =

----- Original Message -----
From: Raymond Brown <[log in to unmask]>
To: Multiple recipients of list CONLANG <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 1999 10:35 AM
Subject: Re: TERMS: going dotty, twice over (was: TERMS: Umlaut-Ablaut)

At 12:54 pm -0800 15/11/99, Barry Garcia wrote:
>[log in to unmask] writes:
>Not sure, as "biling=FCe" is the only Spanish word I have learned so far=
>use diaresis. I just know that's how you spell it. The reason I thought =
>was called "umlaut" was my friend Ann told me that's what the diaresis w=
>called when I asked her "What are those two dots were for over the u in

I guess by now you'll have seen that things are rather confused in Englis=

Strictly speaking the two dots in Spanish mark di(a)eresis [we Brits keep
the 'a', the Americans omit it], and the dots are also called 'diaeresis'.
This was the original use of them and goes back to Hellenistic Greek

The French use them the same way, e.g. Mo=EFse (Moses), to show that it's
pronounced /moiz/ and not */mwaz/.

It has occasionally been used in English.  In verse you may meet "thou
se=EBst" to show that the second word is pronounced /'siEst/ and not /si:=
The Bront=EB sisters put the diaeresis on the final -e of their surname t=
show that it was pronounced and not silent as final -e usually is in

These are all examples of diaeresis.

The Germans used to (and occasionally still do) show the i-umlaut
modification of vowels by writing an 'e' after the vowel, e.g. Baer (B=E4=
Then they got into the habit of writing the 'e' smaller & above the lette=
This small, superscript 'e' then shrank away to leave two dots, hence the
modern German 'umlaut'.  The two dots over the 'a' in B=E4r are not diaer=
but show the umlaut modification of the vowel.  The modified 'u' in T=FCr=
of course, the high, rounded _front_ vowel [y] and not the =FC in Spanish

To complicate matters further, some orthographies (e.g. Hungarian &
Turkish) have then borrowed the German =F6, and =FC to rounded, front vow=
although they do not derive from any umlaut vowel gradation.  So strictly
the dots do not show umlaut in these languages; but we have no separate
name for them & would generally refer to them as 'umlauts' here (What do
the Hungarians & Turks call them?).

BTW it's always correct to say "u with two dots"   :)


A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
                   [J.G. Hamann 1760]