Does English have an "accent mark" ( ¨ ) ??

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Does English have an "accent mark" ( ¨ ) ??

Post by mikay » Sat Jul 22, 2006 11:57 pm

The problem is that you’re trying to include diaeresis as an “accent” which it clearly is not.

However I'm not an expert, I take my lead from such authorities as Cambridge University's “Encyclopedia of the English Language”, from which we learn that diaeresis is, historically, actually a punctuation mark, later, c.1670, described as diacritic, one of the rhetorical and grammatical functions of ‘pointing’ (first dealt with by John Hart, 1551) and the OED.

But apparently even the Welsh know better than the English word wizards, e.g.

accent
1: an articulative effort giving prominence to one syllable over adjacent syllables. 2: a mark used in writing or printing to indicate a specific sound value, stress, or pitch, to distinguish words otherwise identically spelled, or to indicate that an ordinarily mute vowel should be pronounced. People with different accents might use an accent mark to indicate they accent a different syllable.

diaeresis
two dots placed side-by-side over a vowel. The two dots can have one of two meanings: (1) the vowel is considered a separate vowel, even though it would normally be considered part of a diphthong, or (2) you need to have the paten of your laser printer cleaned.
See http://www.cs.cf.ac.uk/fun/welsh/Glossary.html

However you will find in the Adobe glyph list the following:

F6CC;DieresisAcute;CAPITAL DIAERESIS ACUTE ACCENT
F6CD;DieresisGrave;CAPITAL DIAERESIS GRAVE ACCENT

So maybe diaeresis is an accent by association in languages other than English, e.g.Greek?
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Does English have an "accent mark" ( ¨ ) ??

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Jul 23, 2006 5:21 am

Michael, your cited (but unattributed) definition for 'accent' clearly does cover the purpose of the diaeresis: "2: a mark used in writing or printing to indicate a specific sound value, stress, or pitch, to distinguish words otherwise identically spelled, or to indicate that an ordinarily mute vowel should be pronounced."

The word 'Noël' (i.e. Christmas) is an example of a word in which both apply: the diaeresis distinguishes it from the single-syllable given name Noel (as in Noel Coward), and it indicates that the ordinarily mute E should be pronounced.

M-w.com has the following definition for 'diacritic':

Main Entry: di·a·crit·ic
Pronunciation: "dI-&-'kri-tik
Function: noun
: a mark near or through an orthographic or phonetic character or combination of characters indicating a phonetic value different from that given the unmarked or otherwise marked element

The diaeresis thus appears to be both an accent and a diacritic.

Finally, being curious to see what such an animal looks like, I used Google to search for the terms Adobe glyph list "CAPITAL DIAERESIS ACUTE ACCENT". I found plenty of character codes, but not a single representation of the beast in any of the 18 hits that resulted. It must therefore remain mythical.
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Does English have an "accent mark" ( ¨ ) ??

Post by mikay » Sun Jul 23, 2006 11:44 am

Eric,

Unicode 0344
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Does English have an

Post by Phil White » Sun Jul 23, 2006 3:20 pm

The point I was trying to make was that two serious linguists at least (Crystal, indeed also wrote the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language and the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language) do indeed recognize the word "accent" as an informal synonym for a "diacritic".

The glossary entries for "diacritic" and "accent" in the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language cross reference each other, and the following sentence from the same work (talking about the modern English 26-letter alphabet) suggests that Crystal at least sees the diaresis as an accent.

One of the distinctive features of this alphabet is its lack of diacritics, apart from the dot over lower-case i and j and the occasional use of accents in loan words where a pronunciation would otherwise be unclear (e.g. resumé, naïve).
In all my reading in my undergraduate days and all my work since, I don't remember coming across anyone making a systematic distinction. The tradition for my own field (Germanic languages) has always been to refer to "diacritics" rather than "accents", whereas I suspect that the tradition for Romance languages has been to use "accent".
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Does English have an "accent mark" ( ¨ ) ??

Post by gdwdwrkr » Sun Jul 23, 2006 6:16 pm

Better to diacritic, than to live never having cared at all.
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Does English have an "accent mark" ( ¨ ) ??

Post by mikay » Sun Jul 23, 2006 7:32 pm

Phil White

I knew David Crystal previously from his 1971 book "Linguistics". I don't know the second serious linguist.

I understand that the dots used as superscripts in the i, j graphemes are nowadays referred to as Formal (non-diacritical) marks.

gdwdwrkr
Like Iago, "I am nothing if not(dia)critical".
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Does English have an "accent mark" ( ¨ ) ??

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Jul 23, 2006 9:07 pm

Michael, in the MS Character Map utility, Unicode 0344 (alias U+037E) maps to what that program describes as 'Greek Question Mark', which looks exactly like a semi-colon. However, from previous experience, the interplay between all the various fonts, alphabets, character sets, individual characters, operating systems and hardware has produced a confusing quagmire of different conventions and permutations that only strict necessity, naïve curiosity or an übergeeky personality would be liable to make one venture into.
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Does English have an "accent mark" ( ¨ ) ??

Post by mikay » Mon Jul 24, 2006 4:44 pm

Tut, tut, Erik, you should drink a little deeper at the Pierian spring before getting ever-so-slghtly imsulting.

Visit http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~pinax/gre ... acters.pdf
to see the real thing.
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Does English have an "accent mark" ( ¨ ) ??

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Jul 24, 2006 5:09 pm

No imsult intended, Michael. I have been sticking to the facts.

So which of the characters on that page is the 'capital dieresis acute accent'? They are not labelled, which is scarcely helpful.
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Does English have an "accent mark" ( ¨ ) ??

Post by mikay » Mon Jul 24, 2006 8:18 pm

Erik,

Page 1 of the pdf,

Line 14,

Second character: CAPITAL diaeresis acute accent,

Third character CAPITAL diaeresis grave accent.
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Does English have an "accent mark" ( ¨ ) ??

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Jul 24, 2006 9:21 pm

Thanks.
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Does English have an "accent mark" ( ¨ ) ??

Post by haro » Tue Jul 25, 2006 12:22 am

Sorry Mike, those are not CAPITALS. In Greek, the diaresis is not used on capitals. See line 5 on the second page of that .pdf file to find the possible accents used on capital iota. No diaresis there. Same with upsilon, as you may notice. Let keen eyesight rule.

Erik, I assume the Greek question mark, which indeed looks exactly like a semi-colon, got a separate Unicode because it must be handled in a different manner, for instance by grammar checkers and the like. After a Greek question mark, the next character must be capitalized, which is not the case after a semi-colon.
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Does English have an "accent mark" ( ¨ ) ??

Post by mikay » Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:09 am

Haro,

See Arial Unicode MS Greek Capital I and Y with "Dialytica",synonymous with diaeresis.
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Does English have an "accent mark" ( ¨ ) ??

Post by haro » Tue Jul 25, 2006 9:33 am

Mike, since Unicode is a clearly numbered system, why don't you just provide the Unicode number so I can look it up? None of my Greek Unicode lists mentions a capital iota or upsilon with dialytika (not 'dialytica').

By the way, Arial is a Micro$oft product. Actually it was stolen from a font named Helvetica, which was designed when Billyboy Gates was wetting his diapers. All M$ did was changing a few absolutely minor features and giving it a different name. Normal people would call it plagiarism. And they are doing exactly the same now with their new font for the wonderful next version of Windoze (the one that will solve all the Windoze problems that have plagued mankind for 15 years, ya know): They took a popular font (again one designed by a Swiss, but I guess that's just a coincidence), made the square dot over the i round and now call it Segoe. Do you really think such folks care about languages?
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Does English have an "accent mark" ( ¨ ) ??

Post by tony h » Tue Jul 25, 2006 12:29 pm

A curse on the Swiss for Helvetica : an unusable but elegant design. Arial : unusable, inelegant, a rude face. Bring back the serif and style.

Bring back pens
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With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

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