Monday, November 19, 2012

< VV > :diphthongs, monophthongs, diaeresis, synaerisis

Monophthongs: boot, beat, scoop, goat, seen, etc
Diphthongs: louder, Brian
Diaeresis: naive, cooperate, reenter
Synaresis: nation, execution
mute: Caesar, caesarian, George

Pedro added an answer.
It is an issue of correspondence between vowel digraphs and sound(s). For adigraph , there are five possible sound correspondences.

1. = monophthong; cf. boot, beat, boat, beet, head, coup, etc
2. = diphthong: cf. louder, bow, etc
3. = first V has no value (mute): cf: George, sergeant, guilt, guild, guinea, Caesar, caesura, synaeresis (BrE), etc
4. = second V has no value = Brian, Ryan, movie, priest, etc
5. = diaeresis: cf:  (a) naive, Louisville; (b) cooperate, deactivate, , reenter, biology, zoology,  all {de, re, co, etc}+V type words
6. = syneresis = nation, patial, inertia, negotiable, tendential, etc

English does not have contrastive words like naïve and naive; co-operate vs coo-perate; etc (however, French does: cf. aiguë vs aigu). The other reasons for why those diacritics are not used:

A. Print media or style guides do not dictate how people spell. Instead, editing and auto-correction programs like wordpress, blogger, Microsoft Office dictate whether one uses those diacritics or not.

B. Keyboards in English speaking countries do not have those diacritics. So, ordinary users don't bother typing those trema diacritics. Instead, they use hyphens. 

C. People know what these words are without a trema or a hyphen. So, it does not cause a problem at all.

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