Ç

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Evolution from Visigothic Z (Ꝣ) to modern Ç.

Ç, ç (c-cedilla) is a Latin script letter, used in the Albanian, Azerbaijani, Ligurian, Tatar, Turkish, Turkmen, Kurdish, and Zazaki alphabets. This letter also appears in Catalan, French, Friulian, Occitan and Portuguese as a variant of the letter "c". It is also occasionally used in Crimean Tatar, and Manx. It is often retained in the spelling of loanwords from any of these languages in English, Dutch, Spanish, Basque and other Latin script spelled languages.

It was first used for the sound of the voiceless alveolar affricate /t͡s/ in old Spanish and stems from the Visigothic form of the letter "z". This phoneme originated in Vulgar Latin from the palatalization of the plosives /t/ and /k/ in some conditions. Later, /t͡s/ changed into /s/ in many Romance languages and dialects. Spanish has not used this symbol since an orthographic reform in the 18th century (which replaced "ç" with the now-devoiced "z"), but it was adopted for writing other languages.

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, "[ç]" represents the voiceless palatal fricative.

Usage as a letter variant in various languages[edit]

It represents the "soft" sound /s/ where a "c" would normally represent the "hard" sound /k/ (before "a", "o", "u", or at the end of a word), in the following languages:

  • Catalan. Known as ce trencada (that is, "broken C") in this language, where it can be used before "a", "o", "u", or at the end of a word. Some examples of words with "c"-cedilla are: amenaça "menace", torçat "twisted", xoriço "chorizo", forçut "strong", dolç "sweet", caça "hunting". A well-known word with this character is Barça, a common Catalan diminutive for FC Barcelona, also used across the world, including by the Spanish-language media.
  • French (cé cédille). Examples: français "French", garçon "boy", façade "frontage", grinçant "squeaking", leçon "lesson", reçu "received" (past participle). French uses this character at the beginning of a word (ça "that")[1] or in the middle of a word, but never at the end. In French comic books that are hand-lettered in all-capitals, the cedilla is written as a slash crossing the center of the lower hook of the letter "C", at the angle of an acute accent.[citation needed] Also, the "ç" is used only in front of a, o and u letters. It is not needed before "e", "i" or "y" (the letter "c" denotes the unvoiced /s/ before "e", "i" and "y")—the same goes for the Dutch words as they are inherited from France.
  • Friulian (c cun cedilie). It represents the voiceless postalveolar affricate /t͡ʃ/ before "a", "o", "u" or at the end of a word.
  • Occitan (ce cedilha). Examples: torçut "twisted", çò "this", ça que la "nevertheless", braç "arm", brèç "cradle", voraç "voracious".
  • Portuguese (cê cedilhado or cê-cedilha). Denotes unvoiced /s/ before "a", "o", or "u". Examples: taça "cup", braço "arm", açúcar "sugar", coração "heart", pinça "pincers", maçã "apple", abraço "hug". Modern Portuguese never uses this character at the beginning or at the end of a word (e.g. the nickname for Conceição is São, not "Ção"), nor before "e", "i" or "y" (in this case, "c" denotes the unvoiced /s/). Handwritten Portuguese texts most often feature cedillas as comma-like or 90° rotated tildes.
  • In Manx, it is used in the digraph "çh", pronounced [t͡ʃ], to differentiate it from normal "ch", pronounced [x].

In loanwords only[edit]

  • In English and Basque, ç (called c-cedilla in English and ze hautsia in Basque) is used in loanwords like façade and limaçon (although normally the cedilla mark is dropped in English, e.g. facade). In Spanish it can also appear in loanwords, especially in Catalan names and toponymy.
  • It can also be found in the Dutch alphabet but the list of words using this character is small and these French and Portuguese words were merged into the language like façade, reçu, Provençaals and Curaçao. Original Dutch words with this character have a very low occurrence rate.

Usage as a separate letter in various languages[edit]

It represents the voiceless postalveolar affricate /t͡ʃ/ in the following languages:

It represented a voiceless palatal click /ǂ/ in Juǀʼhoansi and Naro, though the former has replaced it with ǂ and the latter with tc.

A letter that is identical to the C-cedilla is used in the Bashkir language's Cyrillic alphabet as the /θ/ sound and in the Chuvash language's Cyrillic alphabet as the /ɕ/ sound.

Computer[edit]

Charset Unicode ISO 8859-1, 2,
3, 9, 14, 15, 16
HTML
Majuscule Ç U+00C7 C7 Ç
Minuscule ç U+00E7 E7 ç

Input[edit]

On French, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian keyboards, Ç is directly available as a separate key; however, on most other keyboards, including the US/British keyboard, a combination of keys must be used:

  • In Mac OS, these are Opt+C and Opt+ Shift+C for lower and upper case, respectively.
  • In the X Window System and many Unix consoles, one presses sequentially Compose, , and either C or Shift+C. Alternatively, one may press AltGr+= and then either C or Shift+C.
  • In Microsoft Windows, these are Alt+0231 or Alt+135 for lower case and Alt+0199 or Alt+128 for upper case.
  • In Microsoft Word, these are Ctrl+, and then either C or Shift+C.
  • The HTML character entity references are ç and Ç for lower and upper case, respectively.
  • In TeX and LaTeX, \c is used for adding the cedilla accent to a letter, so \c{c} produces "ç".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The French Academy online dictionary also gives çà and çûdra.

External links[edit]