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needs explanation of "vowel assimilation", and "partial assimilation", perhaps under "assimilate"

(This comment also on dieresis and umlaut)

  1. The diaeresis doesn't just serve the purpose mentioned here. It's used differently in Spanish (possibly also Catalan), and differently again in Russian. It's also used in Chinese Pinyin, Swedish, Hungarian, pedants in English, and in place of macrons in transliterations.
  2. I'm with you on disliking the confusion with umlaut but that doesn't stop almost everybody using it as a synonym, and in fact it is more common than this word amongst people I know by a wide margin. Other dictionaries accept this so we should too. — Hippietrail 14:51, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I still think this article is wrong. I see "umlaut" used in standard and technical speech all the time. It's overwhelmingly more common. Unicode calls it an umlaut and that's pretty technical, for one example. "di(a)eresis" seems to be used when speaking of the vowel disambiguation function technically except in regards French where the term "trema" may be more common. I still don't like it but if we're describing the language then this is the way it's used. — Hippietrail 01:14, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I've been looking at this article too, and have made a few changes. The word for the actual diacritic is trema. Diaeresis describes the usage in English and French, of applying a trema to the second of two sequential vowels. Umlaut is a linguistic phenomenon best known in German, but Turkish also has a form of it. Yes, just about everyone calls the trema an umlaut: fine, but mention the fine distinctions. Umlaut is on my 'most abused words' list, along with enormity and decimate. It's a losing battle, but I still fight on. The actual definitions also need revising in light of the wikipedia article. --Allamakee Democrat 02:49, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
The problem with blanket statements of correctness like "The word for the diacritic is ..." is that they are unreferenced. A bit of research can be surprising. Of the online dictionaries AHD, Collins, Encarta, and M-W, none has an entry for trema. All 4 have at least one sense for diaeresis/dieresis given as being the diacritical mark. All 4 have at least one sense for umlaut given as being the diacritical mark.
I used to correct people who called the mark an umlaut, but since I worked on these words in Wiktionary some time ago I don't do so anymore. — Hippietrail 03:29, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Wiktionary:Requests for verification - kept[edit]

Kept. See archived discussion of September 2007. 15:02, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Difference of meaning[edit]

The history of the article traces at least two verbose definitions:

Link Position Definition
[1] 1
  1. Germanic umlaut, a phonological phenomenon where an earlier vowel takes on the quality of a second vowel. Mildly formative in Modern German by analogy, present in English only as irregular fossils.
[2]: 4
  1. (linguistics) The sound-change of a sequential vowel to reflect an earlier vowel (the first vowel is changed). English once had umlaut: odd plurals like mouse-mice, goose-geese are its fossils. German still has it, but only weakly, and only by analogy.

Being a non-linguist, I am unsure whether the currently first definition, taken from Wikipedia, defines a substantially different meaning from the currently second definition, which reads:

  1. A partial assimilation of a vowel.

The current second definion, just mentioned, has once been the first definition.

--Daniel Polansky 10:29, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

The two definitions are essentially the same. Umlaut is a type of vowel harmony where a back vowel (a, o, u) is fronted (ä, ö, ü) when the following syllable has a front vowel (e, i): Zahn, Zähne; Ton, Töne; Mund, Münder. Or in English, from an earlier time when a final -e was pronounced, mouse (mous), mice; goose (gos), geese. —Stephen 19:56, 24 February 2008 (UTC)