The circumflex (ˆ) (often called a "caret", from the non-diacritical sign (^) of a similar shape) is a diacritic mark used in written Serbian, Croatian, Esperanto, French, Frisian, Norwegian, Romanian, Slovak, Vietnamese, Romanized Japanese, Romanized Persian, Welsh, Portuguese, Italian, Afrikaans, Turkish and other languages. It received its English name from Latin circumflexus (bent about)—a translation of the Greek περισπωμένη (perispōménē). In French, it usually denotes the absence of a trailing "s" (as in côte, which means coast in English).
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 takes the form of a tilde or an inverted breve. Since Modern Greek has a stress accent instead of a pitch accent, this diacritic has been replaced with an acute accent in the modern monotonic orthography. The circumflex accent placed over a vowel symbol may also indicate, in some languages, that the vowel or the syllable containing it is to be pronounced in a certain way. For example, in French, the mark ^ indicates that the vowel so marked is both of a certain quality and long. In Albanian, ˘ indicates that the vowel is nasalized and stressed. In Classical Greek, the mark ~ shows that the syllable beneath bears the word accent and is pronounced, according to the ancient grammarians, with a rise and fall in pitch.
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 faites. 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).
- Turkish. According to Turkish Language Association orthography, düzeltme işareti ("correction mark") over a and u is primarily 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 lengthens a vowel (a, e, i, o, u, w, y), 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.
In Old Tupi, the circumflex indicated a semivowel.
The circumflex is also used to indicate the relative height of some vowels:
- Portuguese â, ê, and ô are higher vowels than á, é, and ó, respectively. The circumflex is only used on stressed vowels.
- Vietnamese â, ê, and ô are higher vowels than a, e, and o . The circumflex can appear together with a tone mark on the same vowel, as in the word Việt Nam. Vowels with circumflex are considered separate letters from the base vowels.
- In Bulgarian, when transliterated with the Latin alphabet (in systems used prior to 1989), 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 . Unlike English or French, but similar to Romanian and Afrikaans, it can be stressed. The Cyrillic letter 'ъ' (er goljam) sometimes is transliterated as 'â' or 'ŭ'; often it is just written as 'a' or 'u'.
- In Chichewa, ŵ denotes the voiced bilabial fricative, 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 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, 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 .
In some African languages, the grave accent is used to indicate a falling tone.
Other regular uses
- In Afrikaans it simply marks a vowel with an irregular pronunciation that is typically stressed. Examples of circumflex use in Afrikaans are sê (to say), wêreld (world), môre (tomorrow) and brûe (bridges).
- In Croatian and Serbian it is mostly found above the letter a. Its function is to distinguish homophones. Examples include sam (am) versus sâm (alone). Thus the correct translation of "I am alone" is Ja sam sâm. This indicates a falling pitch, albeit less vital than other tonal languages. Another example: da (yes), dâ (gives).
- In French, it generally marks the former presence of the letter s in the spelling of the word - for example, hôpital (hospital), hôtel (hostel), 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; the s is seen in the English word defenestrate derived from that Latin root. 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 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;, (kâğıt, gâvur, mahkûm, Gülgûn) or alveolar lateral (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, sinema → camerâu, dramâu, operâu, sinemâu.
- 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".
- In Italian, î is sometimes used in the plural of nouns and adjectives ending with -io, 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 ("various") can be spelt vari, varî, varii; the pronunciation will usually stay with only one .
- In Norwegian, it is used, with the exception of loan words, on ô and ê, almost exclusively in the words "fôr" (from Norse fóðr), meaning "animal food", to differentiate it from for (the preposition); lêr, meaning "skin" (Norse leðr) and "vêr" (Norse veðr), meaning "weather", both lêr and vêr only in the Nynorsk Norwegian.
- In Swedish, when transcribing dialectal speech, the circumflex is often used to denote an a or o which is pronounced dialectally as if it has been written ä or ö .
- In Interlingua, the circumflex is rare. Interlingua has no diacritics except in foreign loanwords.
- J. R. R. Tolkien would use the circumflex to denote a long vowel when transcribing words from his fictional languages.
The circumflex is also used to identify unit vectors; for instance î (colloquially read "i-hat") stands for a unit vector in the direction of the x-axis, ĵ ("j-hat") for one on the y-axis, and k̂ ("k-hat," not directly supported in Unicode) for one on the z-axis.
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 with the code points U+0302.
- http://www.tdk.gov.tr/TR/BelgeGoster.aspx?F6E10F8892433CFFAAF6AA849816B2EF4EC2F94D94121ECE www.tdk.gov.tr