Grave accent

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`
Grave accent
Diacritics
accent
acute( ´ )
double acute( ˝ )
grave( ` )
double grave(  ̏ )
breve( ˘ )
inverted breve(  ̑ )
caron, háček( ˇ )
cedilla( ¸ )
circumflex( ˆ )
diaeresis, umlaut( ¨ )
dot( · )
hook, hook above(   ̡   ̢  ̉ )
horn(  ̛ )
iota subscript(  ͅ  )
macron( ¯ )
ogonek, nosinė( ˛ )
perispomene(  ͂  )
ring( ˚, ˳ )
rough breathing( )
smooth breathing( ᾿ )
Marks sometimes used as diacritics
apostrophe( )
bar( ◌̸ )
colon( : )
comma( , )
hyphen( ˗ )
tilde( ~ )
Diacritical marks in other scripts
Arabic diacritics
Early Cyrillic diacritics
titlo(  ҃ )
Gurmukhī diacritics
Hebrew diacritics
Indic diacritics
anusvara( )
chandrabindu( )
nukta( )
virama( )
chandrakkala( )
IPA diacritics
Japanese diacritics
dakuten( )
handakuten( )
Khmer diacritics
Syriac diacritics
Thai diacritics
Related
Dotted circle
Punctuation marks
Logic symbols

The grave accent ( ` ) (/ˈɡrv/ or UK /ˈɡrɑːv/)[1] is a diacritical mark used in many written languages, including Breton, Catalan, Corsican, French, Greek (until 1982; see polytonic orthography), Haitian Creole, Italian, Macedonian, Mohawk, Norwegian, Occitan, Portuguese, Ligurian, Scottish Gaelic, Vietnamese, Welsh, Romansh and Yoruba.

Uses[edit]

Pitch[edit]

Greek[edit]

The grave accent was first used in the polytonic orthography of Ancient Greek to mark a lower pitch than the high pitch of the acute accent. In modern practice, it is used to replace an acute accent in the last syllable of a word when the word is followed immediately by another word in the sentence. The grave and circumflex have been replaced with an acute accent in the modern monotonic orthography.

Stress[edit]

The grave accent marks the stressed vowels of words in Maltese, Catalan and Italian.

A general rule is that in Italian, words ending with stressed -a, -i, -o, or -u must be marked with a grave accent. Words ending with stressed -e may bear either an acute accent or a grave accent, depending on whether the final e sound is closed or open, respectively. Some examples of words with a final grave accent are: città ("city"), morì ("[he/she] died"), virtù ("virtue"), Mosè ("Moses"), and portò ("[he/she/it] brought/carried"). A typist using a keyboard without accented characters who is unfamiliar with input methods for typing accented letters will sometimes use a separate backtick or even an apostrophe instead of the proper accent, though this is an error. This is especially common when typing capital letters, thus E` or E’ instead of È ("[he/she/it] is"). Other mistakes arise from the misunderstanding of truncated and elided words: for example, the phrase un po’ ("a little"), which is the truncated version of un poco, is infrequently spelled as un pò. In Italian there are many pairs of words, one with an accent marked and the other not, with different pronunciation and meaning, such as pero ("pear tree") and però ("but"), and Papa ("Pope") and papà ("dad"); the last example is also valid for Catalan.[citation needed]

In Bulgarian and Macedonian, the grave accent is used on the vowels а, о, у, е, и and ъ (ъ exists in Bulgarian only) to mark stress. It is particularly used in books for children or foreigners, or to distinguish between near-homophones: па̀ра ("steam/vapour") and пара̀ ("cent/penny, money"), въ̀лна ("wool") and вълна̀ ("wave"). In a few cases (mostly on the vowels е and и), the stress mark is orthographically required to distinguish words which are homonyms. For example, the Macedonian negation particle не is a homonym with the short-form of the direct object personal pronoun нe – thus нѐ. The grave in these cases forces the stress on the accented word-syllable, instead of having a different syllable in the stress group get accented. In turn, this changes the pronunciation and the whole meaning of the group.

In Ukrainian, Rusyn, Belarusian and Russian, a similar system was in use until the first half of the 20th century. Now the main stress is preferably marked with an acute, and the role of grave is limited to marking secondary stress in compound words (in dictionaries and linguistic literature).

In the descendants of Serbo-Croatian and in Slovene, the stressed syllable can be short or long, as well as having rising or falling tone. To show this, these languages use (in dictionaries, orthography, and grammar books, for example) four different stress marks (grave, acute, double grave and circumflex). The system is identical both in Latin and Cyrillic scripts.

In modern Church Slavonic, there are three stress marks (acute, grave and circumflex). There is no phonetical distinction between them, only the orthographical one. Grave is typically used when the stressed vowel is the last letter of a multi-letter word.

In Ligurian, the grave accent marks the accented short vowel of a word in à (sound [a]), è (sound [ɛ]), ì (sound [i]) and ù (sound [y]). In the case of ò, it is used for the short sound of [O], but it may not be the stressed vowel of the word.[citation needed]

Height[edit]

The grave accent marks the height or openness of the vowels e and o, indicating that they are pronounced open: è [ɛ] (as opposed to é [e]); ò [ɔ] (as opposed to ó [o]), in several Roman languages:

  • Catalan uses the accent on three letters (a, e, and o).
  • French uses the accent on three letters (a, e, and u), but only with e does it serve to indicate a pronunciation change. For example, the accent mark in lève [lεv], indicates that it is not pronounced as a schwa, like in lever [ləve].
  • Italian
  • Occitan
  • Ligurian, which also uses the grave accent to distinguish the sound [o], written ò, from the sound [u], written ó.

Disambiguation[edit]

The grave accent is used in several languages to distinguish homophones, or words that otherwise would be homographs:

  • Catalan, where it distinguishes, for example, ma ("my") from ("hand").
  • French. The grave accent on the letters a and u has no effect on pronunciation and only serves to distinguish homonyms that are otherwise spelled the same. It distinguishes the preposition à ("to/belonging to/towards") from the verb a (the third-person singular present tense of avoir), as well as the adverb ("there") and the feminine definite article la; it is also used in the words déjà ("already"), deçà (preceded by en or au and meaning "closer than" or "inferior to (a given value)"), the phrase çà et là ("hither and thither"; without the accents, it would literally mean "it and the") and its functional synonym deçà, delà. It is used on the letter u only to distinguish ("where") and ou ("or"). È is rarely used to distinguish homonyms, except in dès/des ("since/some"), ès/es ("in/are"), and lès/les ("near/the").
  • Italian, where it distinguishes, for example, the conjunction e ("and") from the verb è ("he/she/it is"), the feminine article la from the adverb ("there"), or the conjuction se ("if") from the reflexive pronoun ("itself"). The first two examples involve two homographs, while the latter involves two homophones.
  • In Norwegian (both Bokmål and Nynorsk), the grave accent is used to separate words which would otherwise be identical, for instance og (and) and òg (too). Popular usage, possibly because Norwegian rarely uses diacritics, often leads to a grave accent being used in place of an acute accent.
  • Romansh, where it distinguishes (in the "Rumantsch Grischun" standard) e ("and") from the verb form è ("he/she/it is") and en ("in") from èn ("they are"). The grave also marks distinctions of stress (gia "already" vs. gìa "violin") and of vowel quality (letg "bed" vs. lètg "marriage").

Length[edit]

In Welsh, the accent is used to denote a short vowel sound in a word which would otherwise be pronounced with a long vowel sound, for example mẁg [mʊɡ] "mug" versus mwg [muːɡ] "smoke".

In Scottish Gaelic, it denotes a long vowel. The use of acute accents to denote the rarer close long vowels, leaving the grave accents for the open long ones, is seen in older texts, but is no longer allowed according to the new orthographical conventions.

Tone[edit]

In some tonal languages such as Vietnamese and Mandarin Chinese (when written in Hanyu Pinyin or Zhuyin Fuhao), the grave accent is used to indicate a falling tone. The alternative to the grave accent in Mandarin is the numeral 4 after the syllable: pà = pa4.

In African languages, the grave accent is often used to indicate a low tone, e.g. Nobiin jàkkàr ("fish-hook"), Yoruba àgbọ̀n ("chin"), Hausa màcè ("woman").

The grave accent is used to represent the low tone in Kanien'kéha or Mohawk.

Other uses[edit]

In Portuguese, the grave accent indicates the contraction of two consecutive vowels in adjacent words (crasis). For example, instead of a aquela hora ("at that hour"), one says and writes àquela hora.

In Hawaiian, the grave accent (alone, not placed over another character) is sometimes encountered as a typographically easier substitute for the ʻokina, e.g. Hawai`i instead of Hawaiʻi.

English[edit]

The grave accent, although not commonly applied to any English words, is sometimes used in poetry and song lyrics to indicate that a vowel usually silent is to be pronounced, in order to fit the rhythm or meter. Most often, it is applied to a word ending with -ed. For instance, the word looked is usually pronounced /ˈlʊkt/ as a single syllable, with the e silent; when written as lookèd, the e is pronounced: /ˈlʊk.ɨd/ look-ed). It can also be used in this capacity to distinguish certain pairs of identically spelled words like the past tense of learn, learned /ˈlɜrnd/, from the adjective learnèd /ˈlɜrn.ɨd/ (for example, "a very learnèd man").

Italics, with appropriate accents, are generally applied to foreign terms that are uncommonly used in or have not been assimilated into English: for example, vis-à-vis, pièce de résistance and crème brûlée.

The layout of some European PC keyboards combined with problematic keyboard driver semantics causes many users to use a grave accent or an acute accent instead of an apostrophe when typing in English (e.g. typing John`s or John´s instead of John's).[2]

Technical notes [edit]

additional
diacritic
character Unicode HTML
Latin
À
à
U+00C0
U+00E0
À
à
È
è
U+00C8
U+00E8
È
è
Ì
ì
U+00CC
U+00EC
Ì
ì
Ò
ò
U+00D2
U+00F2
Ò
ò
Ù
ù
U+00D9
U+00F9
Ù
ù
Ǹ
ǹ
U+01F8
U+01F9
Ǹ
ǹ

U+1E80
U+1E81
Ẁ
ẁ

U+1EF2
U+1EF3
Ỳ
ỳ
diaeresis Ǜ
ǜ
U+01DB
U+01DC
Ǜ
ǜ
double
grave
Ȁ
ȁ
U+0200
U+0201
Ȁ
ȁ
Ȅ
ȅ
U+0204
U+0205
Ȅ
ȅ
Ȉ
ȉ
U+0208
U+0209
Ȉ
ȉ
Ȍ
ȍ
U+020C
U+020D
Ȍ
ȍ
Ȑ
ȑ
U+0210
U+0211
Ȑ
ȑ
Ȕ
ȕ
U+0214
U+0215
Ȕ
ȕ
macron
U+1E14
U+1E15
Ḕ
ḕ

U+1E50
U+1E51
Ṑ
ṑ
circumflex
U+1EA6
U+1EA7
Ầ
ầ

U+1EC0
U+1EC1
Ề
ề

U+1ED2
U+1ED3
Ồ
ồ
breve
U+1EB0
U+1EB1
Ằ
ằ
horn
U+1EDC
U+1EDD
Ờ
ờ

U+1EEA
U+1EEB
Ừ
ừ
Cyrillic
Ѐ
ѐ
U+0400
U+0450
Ѐ
ѐ
Ѝ
ѝ
U+040D
U+045D
Ѝ
ѝ
Ѷ
ѷ
U+0476
U+0477
Ѷ
ѷ
Greek (varia)
` U+1FEF `

U+1FBA
U+1F70
Ὰ
ὰ

U+1FC8
U+1F72
Ὲ
ὲ

U+1FCA
U+1F74
Ὴ
ὴ

U+1FDA
U+1F76
Ὶ
ὶ

U+1FF8
U+1F78
Ὸ
ὸ

U+1FEA
U+1F7A
Ὺ
ὺ

U+1FFA
U+1F7C
Ὼ
ὼ
smooth
breathing
U+1FCD ῍

U+1F0A
U+1F02
Ἂ
ἂ

U+1F1A
U+1F12
Ἒ
ἒ

U+1F2A
U+1F22
Ἢ
ἢ

U+1F3A
U+1F32
Ἲ
ἲ

U+1F4A
U+1F42
Ὂ
ὂ


U+1F52

ὒ

U+1F6A
U+1F62
Ὢ
ὢ
rough
breathing
U+1FDD ῝

U+1F0B
U+1F03
Ἃ
ἃ

U+1F1B
U+1F13
Ἓ
ἓ

U+1F2B
U+1F23
Ἣ
ἣ

U+1F3B
U+1F33
Ἳ
ἳ

U+1F4B
U+1F43
Ὃ
ὃ

U+1F5B
U+1F53
Ὓ
ὓ

U+1F6B
U+1F63
Ὣ
ὣ
iota
subscript


U+1FB2

ᾲ


U+1FC2

ῂ


U+1FF2

ῲ
smooth
breathing,
iota
subscript

U+1F8A
U+1F82
ᾊ
ᾂ

U+1F9A
U+1F92
ᾚ
ᾒ

U+1FAA
U+1FA2
ᾪ
ᾢ
rough
breathing,
iota
subscript

U+1F8B
U+1F83
ᾋ
ᾃ

U+1F9B
U+1F93
ᾛ
ᾓ

U+1FAB
U+1FA3
ᾫ
ᾣ
diaeresis U+1FED ῭


U+1FD2

ῒ


U+1FE2

ῢ

The ISO-8859-1 character encoding includes the letters à, è, ì, ò, ù, and their respective capital forms. Dozens more letters with the grave accent are available in Unicode.

In the ASCII character set the grave accent is encoded as character 96, hex 60. Unicode also provides the grave accent as a combining character, encoded as 768, hex 300. Outside the US, character 96 is often replaced by accented letters. In the French ISO 646 standard, the character at this position is µ. Many older UK computers, such as the ZX Spectrum and BBC Micro, have the £ symbol as character 96, though the British ISO 646 variant ultimately placed this symbol at position 35 instead.

On many computer keyboards, the grave accent occupies a key by itself, and is meant to be combined with vowels as a multi-key combination or as a dead key to modify the following letter.

On a Mac, to get a character such as à, the user must type Option-` and then the vowel. For example, to make à, the user must type Option-` and then 'a', and to make À, the user must type Option-` and then Shift-a.

On a system running the X Window System, to get a character such as à, the user should press Compose, then `, then the vowel. The compose key on modern keyboards is usually mapped to a Windows key or shift+AltGR.[3]

On a US and UK QWERTY keyboard, the grave accent key is placed in the top left corner. In many PC based computer games, the key is used to open the console window, allowing the user to execute commands via a CLI.

On a CZ QWERTZ, the grave accent key is usually mapped to AltGR+ý.

Use in programming[edit]

Programmers have used the grave accent symbol as a separate character (i.e., not combined with any letter) for a number of tasks. In this role, it is known as a backquote or backtick.

When using TeX to typeset text, the backtick character is used as a syntax to represent curly opening quotes. For example, ` is rendered as single opening curly quote (‘) and `` is a double curly opening quote (“). It is also used for supplying the numeric ASCII value of an ASCII character wherever a number is expected.

Many of the Unix shells and the programming languages Perl, PHP, and Ruby use pairs of this character to indicate command substitution, that is, substitution of the standard output from one command into a line of text defining another command. For example, the code line:

echo It is now `date`

might result, after command substitution, in the command:

echo It is now Wed Dec 17 12:44:53 GMT 2014

which then on execution produces the output:

It is now Wed Dec 17 12:44:53 GMT 2014

It is sometimes used in source code comments to indicate code, e.g.

Use the `printf()` function.

This is also the format used by the Markdown formatter to indicate code.[4] Some variations of Markdown support "fenced code blocks" that span multiple lines of code, starting (and ending) with three backticks in a row (```).[5]

In the Bash shell, the `…` syntax is not recommended by style guides (though it is not formally deprecated), and the alternative syntax $(…) is preferred because it is more readable, especially for nested expressions.[6] The same is true of Z shell.[7]

In BBC BASIC, the back-quote character is valid at the beginning of or within a variable, structure, procedure or function name.

In D and Go, the back-quote is used to surround a raw string literal.

In F#, surrounding an identifier with double back-quotes allows the use of identifiers that would not otherwise be allowed, such as keywords, or identifiers containing punctuation or spaces.

In Haskell, surrounding a function name by back-quotes allows it to be used as an infix operator.

In Lisp macro systems, the back-quote character (called quasiquote in Scheme) introduces a quoted expression in which comma-substitution may occur. It is identical to the plain quote, except that symbols prefixed with a comma will be replaced with those symbols' values as variables. This is roughly analogous to the Unix shell's variable interpolation with $ inside double quotes.

In m4, it is used together with an apostrophe to quote strings (to suppress or defer macro expansion).

In MySQL, it is used in queries as a column, table and database classifier.

In OCaml, the back-quote is used to indicate polymorphic variants.

In Pico, the back-quote is used to indicate comments in the programming language.

Prior to Python 3.0, back-ticks were used as a synonym for the repr() function, which converts its argument to a string suitable for a programmer to view. However, this feature was removed in Python 3.0. Back-ticks are also used extensively in the reStructuredText plain text markup language (implemented in the Python docutils package).

Windows PowerShell uses the back-quote as the escape character. For example, a newline character is denoted `n. Most commonly used programming languages use a backslash as the escape character (e.g. \n) but because Windows allows the backslash as a path separator, it would have been impractical for PowerShell to use backslash for a different purpose. To get the ` character itself, two backticks are used. For example, the nullable boolean of .NET is specified in PowerShell as [Nullable``1[System.Boolean]].

In Tom, the backquote is used to create a new term or to call an existing term.

In Scala an identifier may also be formed by an arbitrary string between back-quotes. The identifier then is composed of all characters excluding the back-quotes themselves.[8]

In Unlambda, the back-quote character denotes function application.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oxford Dictionaries
  2. ^ Kuhn, Markus (7 May 2001). "Apostrophe and acute accent confusion". Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "Compose Key". Ubuntu Community Documentation. Retrieved 2010-10-29. 
  4. ^ http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax#code
  5. ^ https://help.github.com/articles/github-flavored-markdown#fenced-code-blocks
  6. ^ Why is $(…) preferred over `…` (backticks)?
  7. ^ An Introduction to the Z Shell – Command/Process Substitution
  8. ^ Odersky, Martin (2011-05-24), The Scala Language Specification Version 2.9 

External links[edit]