I thought M-Webster was a dictionary of English, not French.
What is the third letter in the word "naïve" please?
Are there any rules of usage of letter characters that are not among 26 English letters for writing in English? Please help me to find an appropriate link or other reference.
Some foreign sounds(foreign for English language sound) are represented by the same signs as in the continental languages(like Fjord and Bjorg etc.).
Please read some standard unabridged dictionary for the same, like Websters' Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary or Cambridge Dictionary. It would help you a lot.
Okay. Here is some more help.
It's not really the English alphabet, it's the Roman. The French use it too, sometimes with accents and diacritic marks.
After the Norman Conquest of 1066 A.D., Old English changed to Middle English and we began a gradual absorption of vocabulary, losing 70% of our Anglo-Saxon words and taking in 26% of our words from French, and 26% from Latin through French. Nowadays half of our words are French-Latin in origin.
Yes, château and naïve are French, but they are now English words as well.
The ^ is a circumflex accent. It normally does not alter the pronunciation, though it frequently does. It usually signifies that there used to be an S after the vowel in question in Vulgar Latin or Old French. Château < castel (castle, an example of us borrowing both a French and Latin word pair).
The two dots above the i in naïve are in fact NOT an umlaut, which is a German accent. They are a trema, a French diacritic which does not alter vowel quality, as the umlaut does in German, but rather, it signifies that the vowel is separately pronounced from the preceding one. "Ai" is normally pronounced [e], but with the trema, it is pronounced [a:i] instead.
The accents and diacritics are optional in English words of French origin.
Ah, konungursvia - your response is such a breath of spring.
Just to add to the fun, there are also the (grave) accent sometimes added to the "e" in words like "naked", and the acute sometimes added to fiance(e).
Last edited by orangutan; 12-May-2009 at 16:10. Reason: html entity references didn't work