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Adding a letter, was: Silent E

From:Vasiliy Chernov <bc_@...>
Date:Friday, October 5, 2001, 15:49
On Thu, 4 Oct 2001 22:54:03 EDT, David Peterson <DigitalScream@...>

> I don't think a language >ever created an orthography with the intention of, say, adding a letter
>had a sound in some positions which would make no sound if you put after >another vowel but would change that vowel, like English's silent "e"; these >things just happen over time if your orthography doesn't keep up with the >sound changes.
IIRC, the umlaut dots in German originate from superscript {e}, still earlier simply {e}, denoting the modified vowel quality. OTOH it may have stemmed from {ue} standing for the umlaut of {uo}, both being originally diphthongs, later monophthongs. I am not sure if Middle High German {ae} (umlaut of long {â}) and oe (umlaut of long {ô}) were intended to denote diphthongs at some point. If you consider consonants, English {gh} was indeed invented to denote the specific English sound lacking in Old French. OTOH this invention rested on a long established tradition of using {h} as a modifying letter in Old French and other Romance langs. Basilius


Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Tristan Alexander McLeay <zsau@...>