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Orienos
Nervous Wreck (II) Inmate

From: Dans le ciel, avec les étoiles...
Insane since: May 2003

posted posted 05-28-2003 23:51

Did the English language use accent marks in the early days? I only know of two instances in modern times where they are appropriate, but not necessary(The word spelled cooperation is technically supposed to contain diaerasis: coöperation. Also when pronouncing blessed like *blessid* opposed to *blessd* there used to be a grave accent over the last 'e': blessèd).I don't know if any of you guys know (or even like) etemology... I am almost convinced that when Middle English transformed into Modern English (during the Norman occupation of England) that the scolars who spoke English adopted more than just words from the French language during this time. Does anyone know anything on the history of accents? Care to shed some light.

Moon Shadow
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Rouen, France
Insane since: Jan 2003

posted posted 05-29-2003 10:30

As far as goes my knowledge of the english language, I don't think it used accents, even in the past. Well, the English language contains a lot of French words. For a lot of them, they used a new pronunciation that differs from the French one, but for some they kept it like they were. But each time they removed our accents. I have an example for you : "deja-vu", it's spelled "déjà-vu" in French. So I believe that the English removed our accents when they were invaded by Normans.

The exceptions you gave are..different. First, "blessed" is not a French word, even not a latin one. I figure why you use this type of accent for the pronunciation, but it originally has nothing to do with the French language. On the other side, "coöperation" is a French word, but in French it is spelled "coopération". There are no double dots on the "o" in French. In French we clearly pronunce them twice, so we don't have to use the ¨ . I think this was too an invention, or a copy from the French language to have the good pronunciations in English, but it originally doesn't come from french.

Suho1004
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Seoul, Korea
Insane since: Apr 2002

posted posted 05-29-2003 15:26
quote:
So I believe that the English removed our accents when they were invaded by Normans.



This is correct, actually. It is said that William was annoyed at the extra delay caused by the accents when writing messages, and did away with them in a fit of impatience. After his decisive victory at Hastings, everyone in England decided they would just be better off without the accents.

Other notes:

1. Blessed comes from an Old English word, so MS is correct on that, too.

2. The umlaut is not used on "cooperation" in English...

bodhi23
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Greensboro, NC USA
Insane since: Jun 2002

posted posted 05-29-2003 17:49

Come to think of it, I don't think the umlaut is used on any English word, if the word is strictly english.

Bodhi - Cell 617

St. Seneca
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: 3rd shelf, behind the cereal
Insane since: Dec 2000

posted posted 05-29-2003 19:56

You also have to remeber that even though there is a large French influence on the modern English language due to Medieval monarchies, and a lot of Latin influence due to it's prominant place in intelligencia, English IS a Germanic language.

The Angles and the Saxons were German. The people of Britain spoke essentially German until time and distance caused the two languages to diverge from one.

German and hence Old and Middle English didn't have accent marks.

Orienos
Nervous Wreck (II) Inmate

From: Dans le ciel, avec les étoiles...
Insane since: May 2003

posted posted 05-29-2003 22:35

I speak both English and French. I realised that 'blessed' was not a French word. It was an example from Shakespeare, who used the accent grave to express blessèd with the pronounciation *blessid*. Cooperation in English may contain 'diaeresis' (in French 'trèma' i believe) in fact it should and did. It is the same conecpt as Noël in French: it is used to separate the vowel sounds. Some people in English spell this co-operation, hence the term co-op. The umlaut looks identical to the diaeresis, but is a totally different concept. Thanks for your imput. I just posted this to clear up that cooperation used diaeresis, not an umlaut: there is a difference.

It seems strange that there is no diaeresis over 'coopération.' French seems very strict with accents, but i would think there would be one there too!

Moon Shadow, je ne sais pas si vous avez entendu, mais les anglophones prononcent 'déjà-vu' comme 'déjà-vous,' pas comme déjà-'view'

Suho1004
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Seoul, Korea
Insane since: Apr 2002

posted posted 05-30-2003 02:59

So don't leave me hanging here--what does the diaresis do? I know what an umlaut does, but I'm not familiar with the diaresis.

Orienos
Nervous Wreck (II) Inmate

From: Dans le ciel, avec les étoiles...
Insane since: May 2003

posted posted 05-30-2003 04:30

Diaeresis basically separate two vowel sounds that are next to one another. I have several examples to help you understand. I am sure you know the French word for Christmas: Noël. Noël is pronounced *NO-EL*, if there were no diaeresis above the 'e' it would be pronounced *NOLE*. The name Joel has no diaeresis and is pronounced *JOLE*. Another example is a popular play called Aïda. Aïda is pronounced *I-E-da* if it had no accent marks, it would be *ayda*. Do you follow? Maybe now you can understand the purpose of the seldom used coöperation. It is really the only frequently used word in the English language that uses the accent, though people never put it there.

Suho1004
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Seoul, Korea
Insane since: Apr 2002

posted posted 05-30-2003 06:48

Ah, OK, I guess I knew that, I just never really thought about it. I've never seen the diaresis used in "cooperation." I doesn't even appear that way in the dictionary.

Moon Shadow
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Rouen, France
Insane since: Jan 2003

posted posted 05-30-2003 19:38

Well I know our accents are really annoying for foreigners who want to learn French.

Orienos, the examples you gave were really good, I have almost nothing to say about that. Just a little clarification : "Joel" is spelled "Joël" in French and therefore is pronunced "JO-EL".

About the word "coopération", I think we don't use a trèma because the vowels are the same. There are just a few other French words that use a double "o" (it is rarer than in English), like "coordination" or "coordonnées", and for all of them we pronunce the double "o" without writing a trèma. However for the other words we write a trèma.

I already heard that Orienos... My girlfriend is American, and God know it is hard for me to understand her on the phone (the contrary is also true ), but I've already heard her saying that, that was terribly funny English speaking persons don't pronunce the "u" like we do, this sound doesn't exist at all in English, so they say "you" or "ou". This is one of the reasons Americans speaking in French have such a cute funny accent.

Edit : haha improving my English.

[This message has been edited by Moon Shadow (edited 05-30-2003).]

Byron
Obsessive-Compulsive (I) Inmate

From: San Antonio, Texas
Insane since: Jun 2003

posted posted 06-03-2003 04:29

Me, I love the diaeresis. English spelling is tough enough; the more specific we make it, the better. Besides, it looks cool.
Moon Shadow, I have the same problem. My girlfriend is French. She only understands my French over the phone about half the time, and she *never* understands my German. (All right, my German is very bad.) I'm lucky her English is very good... I blame the American educational system; it takes four years just to get mediocre. The only other language I'm really good at is Spanish, and that's just because I live in San Antonio. Everybody speaks Spanish here.

Voltaire
Obsessive-Compulsive (I) Inmate

From: Greely, ON CANADA
Insane since: Jun 2003

posted posted 06-04-2003 20:56

The only word I would REALY like to use the diaeresis on is "Coördinator" for much the same reason as one might use it on "Coöperation". Anyone agree with me? I don't have a copy of Oxford Correct English Spelling, perhaps someone else has.

"Ecrasez l'infâme!" [Voltaire]

Fey
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From: The Netherlands
Insane since: May 2003

posted posted 06-04-2003 21:33

The Oxford dictionary I have spells it like co-operation and co-ordination. So no diaresis, but a separation mark (or whatever that's called in English)
Dutch also has tons of those silly rules. But for some reason the people here feel compelled to change our spelling essentially about every ten years And then they wonder why people dislike Dutch so much ,,,

Orienos
Nervous Wreck (II) Inmate

From: Dans le ciel, avec les étoiles...
Insane since: May 2003

posted posted 06-05-2003 05:08

I discovered a lot of accents also. Of course the all famous French accent marks (famous for me =). The accents grave and acute, cedilla, circumflex and trema (diaeresis). I want to know more about the umlaut and what that is used for. There is also another called the caron, it looks like an upside down circumflex: Ž <--it seems that it isn't only for vowels. The caron also has a form that looks like an apostrophe seen here: &#357; &#317;. Also an 'ogonek' which is similar to a cedilla: &#370; <--i have also seen it with consonants. There is the breve (&#276 and the macron(&#332 , i know that they are used in pronounciation in english, but also i have seen it above letters like &#286;. And finally there is the double acute, which i have only seen above an 'o':&#336;. If you have any info on this, it would be cool if you would share. There are even some of them that contain more than one mark per letter, but you will have to go to your character map to see those.

Fey
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From: The Netherlands
Insane since: May 2003

posted posted 06-05-2003 08:47

the umlaut is to change, often lengthen, the sound of a vowel (the o, u and a)
I know it from my German classes and I believe the languages it is most present in are Scandinavian and German

an "o" with an umlaut sounds like an "u" as in "burglary"
an "a" sounds like "eh" in "bed"
the "u" in German is pronounced like "ooh" but with an umlaut it becomes an "u" like in future

Hope this helps

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