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Re: character sets

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  • Antoine J. Mechelynck
    ... According to my Petit Robert , tréma comes not from Latin tremor (quiver) but from Greek trêma (hole, markings on dice) (which explains why you use
    Message 1 of 24 , Feb 5, 2004
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      Alejandro Lopez-Valencia <dradul@...> wrote:
      > Tobias C. Rittweiler scribbled on Thursday, February 05, 2004 9:42 AM:
      > >
      > > Mhh, yes it seems like english misses trema and uses diaeresis
      > > instead with same semantics. Even though diaeresis, as I learned it
      > > in Latin & old Greek, is *actually* the grammatical phenomenon
      > > while trema is the typographical sign---as stated by Antoine above
      > > as well.
      > Sorry to butt in late in this discussion, but I just couldn't let my
      > gall bladder strangle no more. As per my Cassel's German-English, my
      > Langenscheidts German-Spanish dictionaries, my sanguine German
      > language teacher from Salzburg (yup, German passport) and my uniquely
      > eccentric Great-Uncle from Stuttgart, Trema means diaeresis, no more,
      > no less. ;-)
      > BTW, German is, among Germanic languages, the one that resisted
      > Latinization the most during the middle ages and therefore took in
      > most Latin words late, during the Renaissance, Baroque and generally
      > during the Enlightment and later, as part of the flowering of the
      > intellectual culture whose revolution can be appreciated from Martin
      > Luther through Goethe to Heidegger and Wittgenstein. Thus, most Latin
      > words are used almost as in the original language. Trema is for the
      > Latin "tremorus"[1]: to be brief or to quiver. As such, it is
      > equivalent to diaeresis in a twisted sort of sense: to make a
      > diphtonge shorternby breathing less. (Many Tremata are no more under
      > the "Neue Regelung", if I understand the Duden correctly).
      > On the other hand, English had an earlier desaxonification
      > (defleaing? :-) at the hands of Willy the Conqueror and his gang from
      > Normandy, who never spoke anything but the Normandy version of the
      > "Langue d'Oil", presently known as French. No, he didn't drink
      > canola, perhaps olive?
      > And having veered off from off-topic to what my compatriot, the Nobel
      > laurate, calls "Macondo" and literary critics "magic realism", I'll
      > shut up now.
      > Cheers,
      > Alejo
      > [1] Do forgive the spelling. To say that my Latin is rusty is an
      > understatement.

      According to my "Petit Robert", tréma comes not from Latin tremor (quiver)
      but from Greek trêma (hole, markings on dice) (which explains why you use
      "tremata" as its plural, a typical Greek form). As for the diaeresis being
      used, as one earlier poster wrote, "in various Germanic languages" to mark a
      vowel that must be pronounced separately, AFAIK the only Germanic languages
      using it that way are English and Dutch. In German and in some Scandinavian
      languages (Swedish, at least), as well as in some non-Indo-European
      languages like e.g. Finnish, Hungarian and Turkish, the same sign is used to
      mean that a vowel's sound must change: the Germans call it Umlaut (literal
      meaning IIUC: "by-sound").

      I've read somewhere (I don't know who said it, but his mother language was
      English) that the English language is one of the products of the Norman
      men-at-arms' efforts to make dates with Saxon farmer's-daughters, and no
      more legitimate than the other offspring of those same efforts.

      As for German, even now it still hesitates between borrowing and
      translating: see e.g. Telefon vs. Fernsprecher, Grammatik vs. Sprachlehre,

      As I wrote in an earlier post, F. tréma means E. diaeresis, but E. diaeresis
      can mean either F. tréma (Typogr.), or F. diérèse (Phon.).

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