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Ā ā
Ǟ ǟ
Ǡ ǡ
Ǣ ǣ
Ē ē
Ī ī
Ō ō
Ȫ ȫ
Ǭ ǭ
Ȭ ȭ
Ȱ ȱ
Ū ū
Ǖ ǖ
Ȳ ȳ

A macron, from the Greek μακρόv (makrón), meaning "long", is a diacritic placed above a vowel (and, more rarely, under or above a consonant). It was originally used to mark a long syllable in Græco-Roman metrics, but now also indicates that the vowel is long. (This is the opposite of a breve ˘, used to indicate originally a short syllable and now also a short vowel.) Distinctions between long and short vowels are often phonemic. In the International Phonetic Alphabet the macron is used to indicate mid tone; the sign for a long vowel is a modified triangular colon.

Contents

Syllable weight

In Græco-Roman metrics and in the description of the metrics of other literatures, the macron was introduced and is still widely used to mark a long (i.e., heavy) syllable. Even the best and relatively recent classical Greek and Latin dictionaries[1] are still only concerned with indicating the length (i.e., weight) of syllables; that is why most still do not indicate the length of vowels in syllables that are otherwise metrically determined. Though many textbooks about ancient Rome and Greece employ the macron, it was not actually used at that time.

Vowel length

The following languages or transliteration systems use the macron to mark long vowels:

  • Slavicists use the macron to indicate a non-tonic long vowel, or a non-tonic syllabic liquid, such as on l, lj, m, n, nj, and r. Languages with this feature include standard and jargon varieties of Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian[citation needed], Slovak[citation needed], Bulgarian.[2]
  • Transcriptions of Arabic typically use macrons to indicate long vowels — ا (alif when pronounced as /aː/), و (waw, when pronounced as /uː/), and ي (ya', when pronounced as /iː/). Thus the Arabic word ثلاثة (three) is transliterated ṯalāṯah.
  • Some modern dictionaries of classical Greek and Latin, where the macron is sometimes used in conjunction with the breve. However, many such dictionaries still have ambiguities in their treatment and distinction of long vowels or heavy syllables.
  • The Hepburn romanization system of Japanese. Examples: kōtsū (交通) "traffic" as opposed to kotsu () "bone" or "knack" (fig.)
  • Latvian. "Ā", "ē", "ī", "ū" are separate letters that sort in alphabetical order immediately after "a", "e", "i", "u" respectively. Ō was also used in Latvian, but it was discarded as of 1957.
  • Lithuanian. "Ū" is a separate letter but given the same position in collation as the unaccented "u". It marks a long vowel; other long vowels are indicated with an ogonek (which used to indicate nasalization, but no longer does): "ą", "ę", "į", "ų", "o" being always long in Lithuanian except for some recent loanwords. For the long counterpart of "i", "y" is used.
  • Transcriptions of Nahuatl (spoken in Mexico). Since Nahuatl (Nāhuatl) (Aztecs' language) did not have a writing system, when Spanish conquistadors arrived, they wrote the language in their own alphabet without distinguishing long vowels. Over a century later, in 1645, Horacio Carochi defined macrons to mark long vowels ā, ē, ī and ō, and short vowels with grave (`) accents. This is rare nowadays since many people write Nahuatl without any orthographic sign and with the letters /k/, /s/ and /w/, not present in the original alphabet. Some projects prefer macron-based writing, as in Nahuatl Wikipedia.
  • Modern transcriptions of Old English.
  • Latin transliteration of Pali and Sanskrit.
  • Polynesian languages:
    • Hawaiian. The macron is called kahakō, and it indicates vowel length, which changes meaning and the placement of stress.
    • Māori. Early writing in Māori did not distinguish vowel length. Some — notably Professor Bruce Biggs[3] — have advocated that double vowels be written to mark long vowel sounds (e.g., Maaori), but he was more concerned that they be marked at all than with the method. The Māori Language Commission (Te Taura Whiri o te Reo Māori) advocates that macrons be used to designate long vowels. The use of the macron is widespread in modern Māori, although sometimes the diaeresis mark is used instead (e.g. "Mäori" instead of "Māori") if the macron is not available for technical reasons [1]. The Māori words for macron are pōtae "hat", or tohuto.
    • Tongan. Called the toloi, its usage is similar to that in Māori, including its substitution by a diaeresis.

Tone

The following languages or alphabets use the macron to mark tones:

  • In Pinyin, macrons are used over a, e, i, o, u, ü (ā, ē, ī, ō, ū, ǖ) to indicate the first tone of Mandarin Chinese. The alternative to macron is the number 1 after the syllable, e.g. tā = ta1.

Other uses

  • In French, in comic books that are hand-lettered in all-capitals, sometimes the macron replaces the circumflex[citation needed].
  • In some German handwriting the a macron is used to distinguish u from n or instead of the umlaut.
  • In some Finnish and Swedish comic books that are hand-lettered, or in handwriting, the macron is used instead of ä or ö, sometimes known colloquially as a "lazy man's umlaut".
  • In older handwriting such as the German Kurrentschrift, the macron over an a-e-i-o-u or ä-ö-ü stood for an n, or over an m or an n meant that the letter was doubled. This continued into print in English in the sixteenth century. Over a u at the end of a word, the macron indicated um as a form of scribal abbreviation.
  • In Russian handwriting, a lowercase Т looks like a lowercase m, and a macron is often used to distinguish it from Ш, which looks like a lowercase w. Some writers also underline the letter ш to reduce ambiguity further.
  • In music, the tenuto marking resembles the macron.

Non-diacritical usage

  • In medical prescriptions and other handwritten notes, macrons mean:
    • over c, with, abbreviating the Latin word cum;
    • over p, after, abbreviating post;
    • over q, every, abbreviating quisque (inflected forms: quoque/quaque);
    • over s, without, abbreviating sine;
    • over x, except, formed by analogy, and not specifically from any Latin.
  • In statistics, mathematics and physics the macron is often used to indicate:
    • x̄ a mean (e.g., \bar{x} as the average value of xi)
  • In mathematics it may denote:
    • the conjugate of a complex number, so that if x = a + ib, then \overline{x} = a - ib.
  • In mathematics and physics it may denote:
    • A vector, so that \overline x=|x|\hat x, although boldface and arrows commonly are also used.
  • In Old English texts a macron above a letter indicates the omission of an m or n that would normally follow that letter.

Technical notes

additional
diacritic
character Unicode HTML
Latin
Ā
ā
U+0100
U+0101
Ā
ā
Ē
ē
U+0112
U+0113
Ē
ē
Ī
ī
U+012A
U+012B
Ī
ī
Ō
ō
U+014C
U+014D
Ō
ō
Ū
ū
U+016A
U+016B
Ū
ū
Ȳ
ȳ
U+0232
U+0233
Ȳ
ȳ
Ǣ
ǣ
U+01E2
U+01E3
Ǣ
ǣ

U+1E20
U+1E21
Ḡ
ḡ
diaeresis Ǟ
ǟ
U+01DE
U+01DF
Ǟ
ǟ
Ȫ
ȫ
U+022A
U+022B
Ȫ
ȫ
Ǖ
ǖ
U+01D5
U+01D6
Ǖ
ǖ

U+1E7A
U+1E7B
Ṻ
ṻ
dot above Ǡ
ǡ
U+01E0
U+01E1
Ǡ
ǡ
Ȱ
ȱ
U+0230
U+0231
Ȱ
ȱ
dot below
U+1E38
U+1E39
Ḹ
ḹ

U+1E5C
U+1E5D
Ṝ
ṝ
ogonek Ǭ
ǭ
U+01EC
U+01ED
Ǭ
ǭ
tilde Ȭ
ȭ
U+022C
U+022D
Ȭ
ȭ
acute
U+1E16
U+1E17
Ḗ
ḗ

U+1E52
U+1E53
Ṓ
ṓ
grave
U+1E14
U+1E15
Ḕ
ḕ

U+1E50
U+1E51
Ṑ
ṑ
Cyrillic
Ӣ
ӣ
U+04E2
U+04E3
Ӣ
ӣ
Ӯ
ӯ
U+04EE
U+04EF
Ӯ
ӯ
Greek

U+1FB9
U+1FB1
Ᾱ
ᾱ

U+1FD9
U+1FD1
Ῑ
ῑ

U+1FE9
U+1FE1
Ῡ
ῡ

In Unicode, "combining macron" is a combining character with the code U+0304 (in HTML, ̄ or ̄). This is different from the "macron" at U+00AF ¯, from the "modifier letter macron" at U+02C9 ˉ and from the combining overline at U+0305 ̅. There are several precomposed characters; their HTML/Unicode numbers are as in the table to the right. In LaTeX a macron is created with the command "\=", for example: M\=aori.

The row before the last is the letter Uu with diaeresis (Ü ü) and macron, used in pinyin. The final row is the letter Yy with macron, used sometimes in teaching Old English and Latin.

See also

The basic modern Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Letters using macron sign

history palaeography derivations diacritics punctuation numerals Unicode list of letters ISO/IEC 646

References

  1. ^ P.G.W. Glare (ed.), Oxford Latin Dictionary (Oxford at the Clarendon Press 1990), p. xxiii: Vowel quantities. Normally only long vowels in a metrically indeterminate position are marked.
  2. ^ Годечкият Говор от Михаил Виденов,Издателство на българската академия на науките,София, 1978, p. 19: ...характерни за всички селища от годечкия говор....Подобни случай са характерни и за книжовния език-Ст.Стойков, Увод във фонетиката на българския език , стр. 151..
  3. ^ Yearbook of the Academy Council - 2000, Royal Society of New Zealand

External links


Basic Latin alphabet
  Aa Bb Cc Dd  
Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj
Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp
Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv
  Ww Xx Yy Zz  

E is the fifth letter in the Latin alphabet. Its name in English (pronounced /iː/) is spelled e; the plural is ees, though this is rare.[1] The letter E is the most commonly used letter in the Czech,[2] Danish,[2] Dutch,[2] English,[3] French,[4] German,[5] Hungarian,[2] Latin,[2] Norwegian,[2] Spanish,[6] and Swedish languages.[2]

Contents

History

Egyptian hieroglyph
E’
Proto-Semitic
H
Phoenician
H
Etruscan
E
Greek
Epsilon
Roman/Cyrillic
E
A28 [[File:]] [[File:|64x64px]] File:Alfabeto File:Epsilon uc [[File:|Roman E]]

E is derived from the Greek letter epsilon which is much the same in appearance (Ε, ε) and function. In etymology, the Semitic probably first represented a praying or calling human figure (hillul jubilation), and was probably based on a similar Egyptian hieroglyph that was pronounced and used quite differently. In Semitic, the letter represented /h/ (and /e/ in foreign words), in Greek became Εψιλον (Epsilon) with the value /e/. Etruscans and Romans followed this usage. Arising from the Great Vowel Shift, English usage is rather different, namely /iː/ (derived from /eː/ in "me" or "bee") whereas other words like "bed" are closer to Latin and other languages in usage.

Usage

Like other Latin vowels, E came in a long and a short variety. Originally, the only difference was in length but later on, short e represented /ɛ/. In other languages that use the letter E or e, it represents various other phonetic values, sometimes with accents to indicate contrasts (e ê é è ë ē ĕ ě ẽ ė ẹ ę ẻ).

Digraphs starting with E are common in many languages to indicate diphthongs and monophthongs, such as EA or EE for /iː/ or /eɪ/ in English, EI for /aɪ/ in German, or EU for /ø/ in French or /ɔɪ/ in German.

At the end of a word, E is very often silent in English (silent e), where old noun inflections have been dropped, although even when silent at the end of a word, it often causes vowels in the word to be pronounced as diphthongs, conventionally called long vowels (compare as a noun rat and as a verb rate).

The letter 'E' is the most common (or highest frequency) letter in the English language (starting off the typographer's phrase ETAOIN SHRDLU) and many other related languages, which has implications in both cryptography and data compression. This makes it a difficult and popular letter to use when writing lipograms. Ernest Vincent Wright's Gadsby (1939), is considered a "dreadful" novel, and that "at least part of Wright's narrative difficulties were caused by language restrictions imposed by the lack of E."[7] Both Georges Perec's novel A Void (La Disparition) (1969) and its English translation by Gilbert Adair omit the letter E and are considered better works.[8]

Codes for computing

Alternative representations of E
NATO phonetic Morse code
Echo ·
Signal flag Flag semaphore Braille

In Unicode the capital E is codepoint U+0045 and the lower case e is U+0065.

The ASCII code for capital E is 69 and for lower case e is 101; or in binary 01000101 and 01100101, respectively.

The EBCDIC code for capital E is 197 and for lowercase e is 133.

The numeric character references in HTML and XML are "E" and "e" for upper and lower case, respectively.

In British Sign Language (BSL), the letter 'e' is represented as extended index of right hand touching the tip of index on the left hand. All fingers of left hand should be open.

See also

See E (disambiguation) for uses of the letter E

Similar Latin letters:

  • Ɛɛ : Latin epsilon

Similar non-Latin letters:

Similar phonetic symbols:

Special symbols similar to the letter E:

References

  1. ^ "E" Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (1993). Ees is the plural of the name of the letter; the plural of the letter itself is E's, Es, e's, or es.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Kelk, Brian. "Letter frequencies". UK Free Software Network. http://www.bckelk.ukfsn.org/words/etaoin.html. Retrieved on 2008-06-25. 
  3. ^ Lewand, Robert. "Relative Frequencies of Letters in General English Plain text". Cryptographical Mathematics. Central College. http://pages.central.edu/emp/LintonT/classes/spring01/cryptography/letterfreq.html. Retrieved on 2008-06-25. 
  4. ^ "Frequency of Occurrence of Letters in French". Santa Cruz Public Libraries. http://www.santacruzpl.org/readyref/files/g-l/ltfrqfr.shtml. Retrieved on 2008-06-25. 
  5. ^ "Frequency of Occurrence of Letters in German". Santa Cruz Public Libraries. http://scplweb.santacruzpl.org/readyref/files/g-l/ltfrqger.shtml. Retrieved on 2008-06-25. 
  6. ^ "Frequency of Occurrence of Letters in Spanish". Santa Cruz Public Libraries. http://www.santacruzpl.org/readyref/files/g-l/ltfrqsp.shtml. Retrieved on 2008-06-25. 
  7. ^ Ross Eckler, Making the Alphabet Dance: Recreational Word Play. New York: St. Martin's Press (1996): 3
  8. ^ Eckler (1996): 3. Perec's novel "was so well written that at least some reviewers never realized the existence of a letter constraint."
The Basic modern Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Letter E with diacritics
ÉéÈèĔĕÊêẾếỀềỄễỂểĚěËëẼẽĖėȨȩḜḝĘęĒēḖḗḔḕẺẻȄȅȆȇẸẹỆệḘḙḚḛɆɇ
Two-letter combinations
Ea Eb Ec Ed Ee Ef Eg Eh Ei Ej Ek El Em En Eo Ep Eq Er Es Et Eu Ev Ew Ex Ey Ez
EA EB EC ED EE EF EG EH EI EJ EK EL EM EN EO EP EQ ER ES ET EU EV EW EX EY EZ
Letter-digit & Digit-letter combinations
    E0 E1 E2 E3 E4 E5 E6 E7 E8 E9     0E 1E 2E 3E 4E 5E 6E 7E 8E 9E    

history palaeography derivations diacritics punctuation numerals Unicode list of letters ISO/IEC 646



Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Translingual

The Latin script
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Variations of letter E

Éé Èè Êê Ěě Ĕĕ Ėė Ëë Ēē Ȩȩ Ęę Ɇɇ Ȅȅ ế Ềề Ễễ Ểể Ḝḝ Ḗḗ Ḕḕ Ȇȇ Ệệ Ææ Ǽǽ Ǣǣ Œœ

Letters using macron sign or underline sign

Āā Ǟǟ Ēē Ḡḡ Īī Ōō Ūū Ȳȳ Ǣǣ

Letter

Ē upper case (lower case ē)

  1. The letter E with a macron.

Simple English

The Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd
Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj
Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp
Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv
Ww Xx Yy Zz

For the drug sometimes referred to E, see Ecstasy.

E is the fifth (number 5) letter in the English alphabet.

Meanings for E








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