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It's been a while since I've posted so I thought I would bring up an
interesting topic we can discuss (well, *I* think it's interesting)!!
Most people know what an umlaut is. I've even heard it referred to on
TV shows (I think I recall an episode of "Ellen"). However, are we all
using this term incorrectly? Are we confusing an umlaut with a
diaeresis (alternate spelling: dieresis)?
Following are the definitions for each:
Diaeresis - Indicates that a vowel is to be pronounced separately
rather than being silent or part of a diphthong.
Umlaut - Occurs in German, Swedish, and Finnish. Used only over the
vowels "a", "o", and "u" and indicates that the vowel is to be
pronounced farther forward in the mouth. Thus ":o" (o with the dots)
is pronounced like "eh" with the lips rounded.
It seems to me that we should really be using the term "diaeresis"
commonly. Most people are referring to pronouncing the vowel
separately when using the term, no?
And I can't seem to figure out into which category "cooperate" fits
(although people generally don't use the dots anymore).
burhennk -at- liebert -dot- com