silent accent mark

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silent accent mark

Post by jstrswild » Sun Dec 10, 2006 6:23 pm

Is there a list of accent marks and what they do to a word. In basic, I am looking for the accent mark to make a letter silent.

Thanks in advance.
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silent accent mark

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Dec 10, 2006 9:25 pm

What a given accent mark signifies depends on the language in which it occurs. For instance, an acute accent in French (as in 'vétérinaire') modifies the sound of a vowel, whereas in Spanish the same mark (as in 'hidráulico') indicates where the stress is placed in the word. So what looks like the same mark does not always do the same job.

In general, accents are a tool for adapting the alphabet so that it is capable of expressing all the sounds that occur in a given language without requiring the addition of some entirely new letters. A familiar example from Spanish is the attaching of a tilde (~) to an N in order to nasalise it (ñ).

Though I am open to being corrected on this point, I therefore doubt that there is an accent mark in any language whose purpose is to silence the letter to which it is attached. That aim is usually achieved either by simply treating the letter in question as though it did not exist (as with the letter T in 'epistle') or dropping the letter from the spelling of the word (which may ultimately happen in American English to the second letter I in 'missile').
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silent accent mark

Post by zmjezhd » Mon Dec 11, 2006 6:37 pm

There is a diacritic mark in IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) called the under-ring, which when placed under phones denotes devoicing. Japanese has devoiced vowels, where the vocal tract assumes the shape of the vowel (i.e., manner of articulation), but phonation does not take place (i.e., the glottis does not vibrate). To an anglophone ear, this sounds like the vowel is silent, or not pronounced. You can see an under-ring at the bottom of the page of this Wikipedia article on Naming Conventions of the International Phonetic Alphabet.
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