Non-pure abjads such as Hebrew and Arabic script and abugidas use diacritics for denoting vowels. Hebrew and Arabic also indicate consonant doubling and change with diacritics; Hebrew and Devanagari use them for foreign sounds. Devanagari and related abugidas also use a diacritical mark called a virama to mark the absence of a vowel.
Emoticons are commonly created with diacritic symbols, especially Japanese emoticons on popular imageboards. Alphabetization or collation[ edit ] Main article: Collation Different languages use different rules to put diacritic characters in alphabetical order. French treats letters with diacritical marks the same as the underlying letter for purposes of ordering and dictionaries. Languages that treat accented letters as variants of the underlying letter usually alphabetize words with such symbols immediately after similar unmarked words.
For instance, in German where two words differ only by an umlaut, the word without it is sorted first in German dictionaries e. However, when names are concerned e. For a comprehensive list of the collating orders in various languages, see Collating sequence. Generation with computers[ edit ] Modern computer technology was developed mostly in English-speaking countries, so data formats, keyboard layouts, etc. This has led to fears internationally that the marks and accents may be made obsolete to facilitate the worldwide exchange of data.
Depending on the keyboard layout , which differs amongst countries, it is more or less easy to enter letters with diacritics on computers and typewriters. Some have their own keys; some are created by first pressing the key with the diacritic mark followed by the letter to place it on.
Such a key is sometimes referred to as a dead key , as it produces no output of its own but modifies the output of the key pressed after it. On Apple Macintosh computers, there are keyboard shortcuts for the most common diacritics; Option-e followed by a vowel places an acute accent, Option-u followed by a vowel gives an umlaut, option-c gives a cedilla, etc.
Diacritics can be composed in most X Window System keyboard layouts, as well as other operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, using additional software. On computers, the availability of code pages determines whether one can use certain diacritics. Unicode solves this problem by assigning every known character its own code; if this code is known, most modern computer systems provide a method to input it.
With Unicode, it is also possible to combine diacritical marks with most characters. Languages with letters containing diacritics[ edit ] The following languages have letters that contain diacritics that are considered independent letters distinct from those without diacritics.
Baltic Latvian has the following letters: With the elimination of these accents, the new orthography relies on the reader having prior knowledge of pronunciation of a given word. Irish uses only acute accents to mark long vowels, following the spelling reform. Breton does not have a single orthography spelling system , but uses diacritics for a number of purposes. The circumflex is used to mark long vowels, but usually only when the vowel length is not predictable by phonology.
All four have their own place in the alphabet, between w and x. Also these are distinct letters, placed in the alphabet between s and t. Hungarian uses the umlaut, the acute and double acute accent unique to Hungarian: Livonian has the following letters: Germanic Faroese uses acutes and other special letters.
All are considered separate letters and have their own place in the alphabet: Icelandic uses acutes and other special letters. All are considered separate letters, and have their own place in the alphabet: The Scandinavian languages collate these letters after z, but have different collation standards.
These characters are collated after their non-diacritic equivalent. Portuguese uses the circumflex and the acute accent to indicate stress and vowel height whenever it is in an unpredictable location within the word.
They can also function as a way to distinguish a few homographs. None of these are considered separate letters. Polish has the following letters: These are considered to be separate letters: Letters with a caron are placed right after the letters as written without the diacritic.