circumflex

The circumflex (ˆ) (often also called a "caret", from a non-diacritical sign with similar shape (^); also "hat" or "uppen") is a diacritic mark used in written Greek, French, Frisian, Esperanto, Norwegian, Romanian, Slovak, Vietnamese, Romanized Japanese, Welsh, Portuguese, Italian, Afrikaans, Turkish and other languages. It received its English name from Latin circumflexus (bent about)—a translation of the Greek περισπωμένη (perispomeni).

Diacritical marks
accent
acute accent ( )
double acute accent ( ˝ )
grave accent ( ` )
double grave accent (  ̏ )
breve ( ˘ )
caron / hček ( ˇ )
cedilla ( )
circumflex ( ^ )
diaeresis / umlaut ( )
dot ( )
anunaasika ( ˙ )
anusvara (  ̣ )
chandrabindu (   ँ   ঁ   ઁ   ଁ ఁ )
hook / dấu hỏi (  ̉ )
horn / dấu mc (  ̛ )
macron ( )
ogonek ( ˛ )
ring / kroužek ( ˚, ˳ )
rough breathing / spiritus asper (  ῾ )
smooth breathing / spiritus lenis (  ᾿ )
Marks sometimes used as diacritics
apostrophe ( )
bar ( | )
colon ( : )
comma ( , )
hyphen ( ˗ )
tilde ( ~ )
titlo (  ҃ )

Pitch

The circumflex accent was first used in the polytonic orthography of Ancient Greek, where it occurred (subject to certain rules) on the accented syllable of a word, on long vowels, and where there was a rise and then a fall in pitch. Sometimes it took the form of a tilde. Since Modern Greek has a stress accent instead of a pitch accent, this diacritic has been replaced with an acute accent mark in the modern monotonic orthography.

Length

The circumflex accent marks a long vowel in the orthography or transliteration of several languages.
  • Akkadian. In the transliteration of this language, the circumflex indicates a long vowel resulting from an aleph contraction.
  • French. The circumflex is used on â, ê, î, ô, û, and, in some varieties of the language, such as in Belgian pronunciation, these vowels are often long; fête "party" is longer than fait "fact". See also below.
  • Standard Friulian.
  • Japanese. In the Kunrei-shiki system of Romanization, and occasionally in the Hepburn system (as a surrogate for the macron).
  • Jèrriais.
  • Turkish. According to Turkish Language Association orthography, düzeltme işareti ("correction mark")http://www.tdk.gov.tr/TR/BelgeGoster.aspx?F6E10F8892433CFFAAF6AA849816B2EF4EC2F94D94121ECE over a and u is primarily (see below) used to indicate a long vowel on a basis of disambiguation. For example ama (but) against âmâ (blind), şura (that place, there) against şûra (council). Although official, the required system is complex and younger generations gradually decline using it.
  • Welsh. The circumflex is colloquially known as the to bach — "little roof". It gives a vowel (a, e, i, o, u, w, y) a long sound, and is used particularly to differentiate between homographs, e.g. tan and tân, ffon and ffôn, pin and pîn, gem and gêm, cyn and cŷn, or gwn and gŵn.

Letter extension

Ââ
Cc
Êê
Gg
Hh
Îî
Jĵ
Ôô
Ss
Ûû
Ww
Yy
  • In Bulgarian, when transliterated with the Latin alphabet, the sound represented in Bulgarian by 'â', although called a schwa (misleadingly suggesting an unstressed lax sound), is more accurately described as a mid back unrounded vowel /ɤ/. Unlike English or French, but similar to Romanian and Afrikaans, it can be stressed. The Cyrillic letter 'ъ' (er goljam) is often transliterated as 'â' or sometimes as a 'ŭ', often it is just written as 'a' or 'u'.
  • In Chichewa, ŵ denotes the voiced bilabial fricative /β/, hence the name of the country Malaŵi.
  • In Esperanto, it is used on ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, ŝ. It indicates a completely different consonant from the unaccented form, and is considered a separate letter for purposes of collation. See Esperanto orthography.
  • In pinyin romanized Mandarin Chinese, the circumflex occurs only on ê, which is used to represent the sound /ɛ/ in isolation. This sound occurs rarely and is only used as an exclamation.
  • In Romanian, the circumflex is used on the vowels â and î to mark the vowel /ɨ/, similar to Russian yery. The names of these accented letters are â din a and î din i, respectively. Note: the letter â appears only in the middle of words; thus, its majuscule version appears only in all-capitals inscriptions.
  • In Slovak, the circumflex (vokáň) turns the letter o into a diphthong ô /u̯o/.

Height

In Portuguese and Vietnamese, the circumflex indicates the relative height of some vowels:
  • Portuguese â /ɐ/, ê /e/, and ô /o/ are higher vowels than á /a/, é /ɛ/, and ó /ɔ/, respectively. The circumflex is only used on stressed vowels.
  • Vietnamese â /ɐ/, ê /e/, and ô /o/ are higher vowels than a /ɑ/, e /ɛ/, and o /ɔ/. The circumflex can appear together with a tone mark on the same vowel, as in the word Việt Nam.

Other regular uses

  • In Afrikaans it simply marks a vowel with an irregular pronunciation, without indicating precisely what this pronunciation might be. Examples of circumflex use in Afrikaans are (to say), wêreld (world), môre (tomorrow) and brûe (bridges).
  • In French, it generally marks the former presence of the letter s in the spelling of the word – for example, hôpital (hospital), forêt (forest), rôtir (to roast), côte (coast), pâte (paste). Since the older spelling is often one on which English words are based, as in the foregoing examples, the circumflex provides a helpful guide to Anglophone readers of French. Fenêtre (window), for instance, is derived from the Latin word fenestra. Certain close homophones are distinguished by the circumflex, for instance cote ("level", "mark") and côte ("rib" or "coast"). The letter ê is also normally pronounced open, like è. In the usual pronunciations of central and northern France, ô is pronounced close, like eau; in Southern France, no distinction is made between close and open o. See also Use of the circumflex in French.
  • In Old Tupi, the circumflex indicated a semivowel.
  • In Turkish, the circumflex over a and u is used to indicate when a preceding consonant ("k", "g", "l") is to be pronounced as a palatal plosive; [c], [ɟ] (kâğıt, gâvur, mahkûm, Gülgûn) or alveolar lateral [l] (Elâzığ, Halûk). The circumflex over i is used to indicate a nisba suffix (millî, dinî).
  • In Welsh, the circumflex, apart from being used as a lengthening sign (see above), is sometimes used with plural forms, notably where the singular ends in an a, to indicate the stressed syllable (which would normally be on the penultimate syllable), e.g. camera, drama, opera, sinemacamerâu, dramâu, operâu, sinemâu.

Exceptional use

  • In English the circumflex, like other diacriticals, is sometimes retained on loanwords that used it in the original language; for example, rôle. In Britain in the eighteenth century—before the cheap penny post and an era in which paper was taxed—the circumflex was used in postal letters to save room in an analogy with the French use. Specifically, the letters "ugh" were replaced when they were silent in the most common words, e.g., "thô" for "though", "thorô" for "thorough", and "brôt" for "brought" — similar to the way in which people today abbreviate words in text messages. This could have led to spelling simplification, but did not.
  • In Italian, î is sometimes used in the plural of nouns and adjectives ending with -io [jo], although the spelling with a normal i is by far the most usual one. Other possible spellings are -ii and obsolete -j or -ij. For example, the plural of vario ['vaːrjo] ("various") can be spelt vari, varî, varii; the pronunciation will usually stay ['vaːri] with only one [i].
  • In Norwegian, it is used, with the exception of loan words, on ô and ê, almost exclusively in the words "fôr" (from Norse fóğr), meaning "animal food", to differentiate it from for (the preposition); lêr, meaning "skin" (Norse leğr) and "vêr" (Norse veğr), meaning "weather", both lêr and vêr only in the Nynorsk Norwegian.

In science

  • The circumflex (or caret) character is used to represent exponentiation in ASCII: 2^3 = 8.
  • The circumflex (or caret) character is used in word-processing systems such as Word as a prefix to letters to create or search for special characters: ^t = tab, ^p = paragraph, ^l = line feed, ^h = backspace. ^h may be used in plain text to pretend to conceal one's first thoughts. "My opponent is an idio^h^h^h sadly mistaken." The number of ^hs need not correspond exactly to the number of backspaces required.
  • The circumflex (or caret) character is used to represent xor in ANSI C (and other languages based on C, like JavaScript and PHP): 2^3 = 1.
  • In statistics, a caret over the name of a variable represents an estimator.
  • In mathematics, a caret over a letter represents a unit vector.
  • The circumflex (or caret) character is also used in Regular Expressions.

In typography

A caret is used by editors to indicate on a where something should be inserted. It is placed below the line in question for a line-level punctuation mark (e.g., a comma) or above for a higher character (e.g., an apostrophe). The material to be inserted can be placed inside the caret, in the margin, or opposite the caret above the word.

A caret is also used to center characters vertically. In such cases carets are placed both under and above the character facing opposite directions.

Technical notes

The ISO-8859-1 character encoding includes the letters â, ê, î, ô, û, and their respective capital forms. Dozens more letters with the circumflex are available in Unicode. Unicode also uses the circumflex as a combining character.

See also

External links

The ISO basic Latin alphabet
AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIiJjKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRrSsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz
Z
Letters using circumflex sign
ĈĉĜĝĤĥĴĵŜŝŴŵŶŷẐẑ
Caret is the name for the symbol ^ in ASCII and some other character sets. Its Unicode code point is U+005E, and its ASCII code in hexadecimal is 5E. Strictly speaking, the caret character in common use is actually referred to in the Unicode standard as the "CIRCUMFLEX ACCENT"; the
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Caret is the name for the symbol ^ in ASCII and some other character sets. Its Unicode code point is U+005E, and its ASCII code in hexadecimal is 5E. Strictly speaking, the caret character in common use is actually referred to in the Unicode standard as the "CIRCUMFLEX ACCENT"; the
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A diacritical mark or diacritic, also called an accent, is a small sign added to a letter to alter pronunciation or to distinguish between similar words.
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ISO 639-1: eo
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ISO 639-2:
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Vietnamese (tiếng Việt, or less commonly Việt ngữ[1]), formerly known under the French colonization as Annamese (see Annam), is the national and official language of Vietnam.
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The romanization of Japanese is the use of the Latin alphabet (called rōmaji (ローマ字|
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A diacritical mark or diacritic, also called an accent, is a small sign added to a letter to alter pronunciation or to distinguish between similar words.
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double acute accent ( ˝ ) is a diacritic mark of the Latin script used primarily in written Hungarian. Consequently, it is also known as Hungarumlaut.[1] The signs formed with diacritic marks count as letters of their own right in the Hungarian alphabet.
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The double grave accent is a diacritic used in scholarly discussions of the Serbo-Croatian language complex and sometimes Slovenian. It is also used in the International Phonetic Alphabet.
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dot is usually reserved for the Interpunct ( · ), or to the glyphs 'combining dot above' (  ̇ ) and 'combining dot below' (  ̣
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Anusvara (Dev: अनुस्वार anusvāra
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