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« Dictionary Index « Definitions under A

Accented Letters

“In English, the accentual marks are chiefly used in spelling-books and dictionaries, to mark the syllables which require a particular stress of the voice in pronunciation.

“The stress is laid on long and short syllables indiscriminately. In order to distinguish the one from the other, some writers of dictionaries have placed the grave on the former, and the acute on the latter, in this manner: ‘Mìnor, míneral, lìvely, líved, rìval, ríver.’

“The proper mark to distinguish a long syllable is this ¯: as, ‘Rōsy’ and a short one thus ˇ: as ‘Fǒlly.’ This last mark is called a breve.

“A diaeresis, thus marked ¨, consists of two points placed over one of the two vowels that would otherwise make a diphthong, and parts them into two syllables: as, ‘Creätor, coädjutor, aërial.’

“A circumflex, thus marked ^, when placed over some vowel of a word, denotes a long syllable: as, ‘Euphrâtes.’ ”

The c à la queue, or the c with a tail, is a French sort, and sounds like ss, when it stands before a o u, as in ça, garçon. To make a tail to a capital C, a small figure of 5 with the top dash cut away, thus ʖ, and justified close to the bottom of the letter, answers the purpose, when it is required; for the letter-founders do not cast this letter with a tail, neither in the capitals nor small capitals. Ç.

The ñ is used in the Spanish language, and is pronounced like a double n, or rather like ni ; but short and quick, as in España. It is a sort which is used in the middle of words, but rarely at the beginning.

In the Welsh language, ŵ and ŷ, as well as the other circumflex letters, are used either to direct the pronunciation, as in yngŵydd, in presence; ynghŷd, together; or else for distinction sake; as, mwg, a mug; mŵg, smoke; hyd, to, until; hŷd, length.

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