AskDefine | Define dieresis

Dictionary Definition

dieresis n : a diacritical mark (two dots) placed over a vowel in German to indicate a change in sound [syn: umlaut, diaeresis] [also: diereses (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



From sc=polytonic.


  • /ˈdaɪə(ɹ)ˌɪisɪs/ /"daI@(r)%i:sIs/ a UK


Alternative spellings


In the context of "US}}

Extensive Definition

In linguistics, diaeresis, or dieresis (US), is the pronunciation of two adjacent vowels in two separate syllables rather than as a diphthong. An example is the first two vowels in cooperate (also spelled co-operate, or dated coöperate). The opposite phenomenon is known as synaeresis.
The word diaeresis comes from Greek διαίρεσις diairesis, noun from verb diairein.


Diaeresis, or trema from French, is also the name of the diacritic mark ( ¨ ) which indicates the separation of two vowels, as in Noël and naïve. (It looks the same as the umlaut, which changes the sound of a single vowel, as in German schön.)
Phonological diaeresis is sometimes indicated with other diacritics, such as the acute accent in Spanish and Portuguese. For example, the Portuguese words saia [ˈsai̯ɐ] "skirt" and saía [saˈiɐ] "I used to leave" (Brazilian pronunciation) differ in that the sequence /ai/ forms a diphthong in the former (synaeresis), but is a hiatus in the latter (diaeresis).



  • Bringhurst, Robert (1992 [2004]). The Elements of Typographic Style, version 3.0. Vancouver, Hartley & Marks. ISBN 0-88179-133-4.
dieresis in Breton: Diarezenn
dieresis in German: Diärese
dieresis in Esperanto: Dierezo
dieresis in Spanish: Dialefa
dieresis in Galician: Diérese
dieresis in Dutch: Trema in de Nederlandse spelling
dieresis in Portuguese: Diérese
dieresis in Swedish: Dieresis
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