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Evolution from Visigothic ssZ to modern Ç.

Ç, ç (c-cedilla) is a Latin script letter, used in the Albanian, Azerbaijani, Manx, Portuguese, Tatar, Turkish, Turkmen, Kurdish and Zazaki alphabets. Romance languages that use this letter include Catalan, French, Friulian, Ligurian, Occitan, and Portuguese as a variant of the letter C. It is also occasionally used in Crimean Tatar. It is also used in Tajik when written in the Latin Script to represent the /ʤ/ sound. 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 (). The 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 the 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]

Unless otherwise specified, in the following languages, ç 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):

  • 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 ç are amenaça "menace", torçat "twisted", xoriço "chorizo", forçut "strong", dolç "sweet" and caça "hunting". A well-known word with this character is Barça, a common Catalan diminutive for FC Barcelona, also used across the world, including the Portuguese and Spanish-language media.
  • French (cé cédille): français "French", garçon "boy", façade "frontage", grinçant "squeaking", leçon "lesson", reçu "received" (past participle). French does not use the character at the end of a word but it can occur at the beginning of a word (ça "that").[1]
  • 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): torçut "twisted", çò "this", ça que la "nevertheless", braç "arm", brèç "cradle", voraç "voracious". It can occur at the beginning of a word.
  • Portuguese (cê cedilhado or cê-cedilha): it is used before a, o, or u: taça "cup", braço "arm", açúcar "sugar". Modern Portuguese never uses the character at the beginning or at the end of a word (the nickname for Conceição is São, not Ção).
  • 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 (known as ze hautsia in Basque) is used in loanwords such as façade and limaçon (although often, the cedilla mark is dropped in English: facade). In modern Spanish it can appear in loanwords, especially in Catalan proper nouns.
  • In Dutch, it can be found in some words from French and Portuguese, such as façade, reçu, Provençaals and Curaçao.

Usage as a separate letter in various languages[edit]

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

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

A similarly-shaped letter is used in the Cyrillic alphabets of Bashkir and Chuvash to represent /θ/ and /ɕ/ respectively.


Character Ç ç
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 199 U+00C7 231 U+00E7
UTF-8 195 135 C3 87 195 167 C3 A7
Numeric character reference Ç Ç ç ç
Named character reference Ç ç


On Albanian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish 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:

See also[edit]


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