- Not to be confused with Cyrillic Ё
Ë, ë (e-diaeresis) is a letter in the Albanian, Kashubian and Ladin alphabets. This letter also appears in Afrikaans, Dutch, French, Abruzzese dialect (especially its version Ascolano) and Luxembourgish as a variant of letter "e". The letter is used in Seneca, in Taiwanese Hokkien, in Turoyo and in Uyghur when written in Latin script.
Usage in various languages
In Afrikaans, the trema (Afrikaans: deelteken) is mostly used to indicate that the vowel should not be diphthongised, for example "geër" (giver) is pronounced /xɪəɪr/, whilst "geer" (a wedge-shaped piece of fabric) is pronounced /xɪər/. There are some cases where the deelteken does nothing to the pronunciation, like in "reën" (rain), which is pronounced /rɪən/, but "reen" (no meaning) would be pronounced the same. The only reason for the deelteken in this case is for traditional reasons, because the archaic form of "reën" is "regen" and the deelteken just indicates that the g was removed. Some older people do pronounce "reën" in two syllables /rɪəɪn/.
The deelteken does exactly what it says ("deelteken" being Afrikaans for "separation mark"). It separates syllables, as it indicates the start of a new one. An example of this is the word "voël" (bird). It gets pronounced in two syllables. Without it the word becomes "voel" (feel), pronounced in one syllable.
Ë is the 8th letter of the Albanian alphabet and represents the vowel /ə/. It is the most commonly used letter of the language comprising 10 percent of all writings.
Ë is a phonetic symbol also used in the transcription of Abruzzese dialects, especially in its northern variant in the Province of Ascoli Piceno (it:Dialetto ascolano#Zona ascolana) and it's called "mute E": sounds like an é but just hummed. It's important for the prosody of the dialect itself.
Use of the character Ë in the English language is relatively rare. Some publications, such as the American magazine The New Yorker, use it more often than others. It is used to indicate that the "e" is to be pronounced: separately from the preceding vowel (e.g. in the word "reëntry", the girl's name "Chloë" or in the boy's name "Raphaël"), or at all - like in the name of the Brontë sisters, where without diaeresis the final "e" would be mute.
French and Dutch
Ë appears in words like French 'Noël' and Dutch 'koloniën'. This so-called trema is used to indicate that the vowel should not be diphthonged. For example, "Noël" is pronounced /noɛl/, whilst "Noel" would be pronounced /nœl/. Likewise, "koloniën" is pronounced /koloniən/, whilst "kolonien" would be pronounced /kolonin/.
Ë is the 9th letter of the Kashubian alphabet and represents /ə/.
Although not used in standard Ladin, Ë is used in some local dialects. It represents /ɜ/.
In many editions of Latin texts, the diaeresis is used to indicate that ae and oe form a hiatus, not a diphthong (in the Classical pronunciation) or a monophthong (in traditional pronunciations). Examples: aër 'air', poëta 'poet', coërcere 'to coerce'.
In Luxembourgish, ⟨ë⟩ is used for stressed schwa /ə/ like in the word <ëmmer> (always). It is also used to indicate a morphological plural ending after two ⟨ee⟩ such as in ⟨Eeër⟩ 'eggs' or ⟨leeën⟩ 'lay'.
In the modern orthography of Mayan languages, the letter ë represents /ə/, as in Albanian.
In Seneca the letter ë is used to represent /ẽ/, a front mid unrounded nasalized vowel.
In Latin-script Turoyo (Syriac) the letter ë gives a schwa. In grammar, sometimes it is a replacement for the other, original vowels (a, o, e, i, u). Example words that have ë: knoţër (he is waiting), krëhţi (they are running), krëqdo (she is dancing), sxërla (she has closed), gfolëḥ (he will work), madënḥo (east), mën (what), ašër (believe).