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Ë ë
É é, Ẽ ẽ
Writing systemLatin script
Phonetic usage
Unicode codepointU+00CB, U+00EB
  • Ë ë
VariationsÉ é, Ẽ ẽ
This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and  , see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

Ë, ë (e-diaeresis) is a letter in the Albanian, Kashubian, Emilian, Romagnol, Ladin, and Lenape[1] alphabets. As a variant of the letter e, it also appears in Acehnese, Afrikaans, Belarusian, Breton, Dutch, English, Filipino, French, Luxembourgish, Piedmontese, Russian, the Abruzzese dialect of the Neapolitan language, and the Ascolano dialect. The letter is also used in Seneca, Taiwanese Hokkien, Turoyo, and Uyghur when written in Latin script.

Usage in various languages[edit]


In Acehnese, ë is used to represent /ə/ (schwa), a mid central vowel.


In Afrikaans, the trema (Afrikaans: deelteken, [ˈdɪəl.tɪəkən]) is used mostly to indicate that the vowel should not be diphthongised. The deelteken does exactly what it means in Afrikaans ("separation mark") by marking the beginning of a new syllable and by separating it from the previous one. For example, voël ("bird") is pronounced in two syllables. Without the deelteken, the word would become voel ("feel"), which is pronounced in one syllable.

Sometimes, however, the deelteken does not change the pronunciation. For example, in reën ("rain"), which is pronounced [rɪən]. The nonexistent word *reen would have been pronounced identically, and the deelteken is only etymological since the archaic form of reën is regen. The deelteken indicates the removal of g, and some older people still pronounce reën in two syllables ([ˈreː.ən]). Likewise, geër ("giver") and geer (a wedge-shaped piece of fabric) are both nowadays pronounced [χɪər].


Ë is the 8th letter of the Albanian alphabet and represents the vowel /ə/, like the pronunciation of the ⟨a⟩ in "ago". It is the fourth most commonly used letter of the language, comprising 7.74 percent of all writings.[2]


Ë is used in the romanization of Classical or Eastern Armenian to represent the letter Ը/ը (ët’).


Ë is a phonetic symbol also used in the transcription of Abruzzese dialects and in the Province of Ascoli Piceno (the Ascolano dialect). It is called "mute E" and sounds like a hummed é. It is important for the prosody of the dialect itself.


In Dutch, ë appears in the plural form of most words that end in -ie or -ee, like kolonie -> koloniën, zee -> zeeën, and knie -> knieën (Dutch-language rules stipulate an extra e before the ë in plurals if the accent falls on the syllable containing the ë). This so-called trema indicates that the vowel letter does not form a digraph with the preceding vowel letter but is pronounced separately. For example, koloniën is pronounced [koːˈloːniən], but kolonien would be pronounced [koːˈloːnin].


In some peripheral Emilian dialects, ë is used to represent [ə], e.g. strëtt [strətː] "narrow".


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.[3] It is used to indicate that the e is to be pronounced separately from the preceding vowel (e.g. in the word "reëntry", the feminine name "Chloë" or in the masculine name "Raphaël"), or at all – like in the name of the Brontë sisters, where without diaeresis the final e would be mute.


Ë represents the schwa sound in loanwords from Maranao, Pangasinan, Ilocano, and other Cordillera languages in the Philippines.[4]


Ë is used in the linguistic reconstructions of Proto-Finnic to denote an unrounded (mid?) back vowel [ɤ~ɤ̞~ʌ] the back counterpart to [e] for Proto-Finnic's system of vowel harmony. It is also used in the allophonic diphthong [ɤu] – ëu.


Ë appears in words like French Noël. Like in Dutch, it is used to indicate that the vowel letter does not form a digraph with the preceding vowel letter but is pronounced separately. For example, Noël is pronounced [nɔɛl], whilst Noel would be pronounced [nwɛl].


E-diaeresis in the word Poësie

Ë does not occur in the official German alphabet. However, a diaeresis above e in German occurs in a few proper names and ethnonyms, such as Ferdinand Piëch, Bernhard Hoëcker, Alëuten, Niuë, Uëa. Occasionally, a diaeresis may be used in some well-known names, such as Italiën, which is usually written as Italien. Without a diaeresis, ie would be [iː] instead of [iə]; eu would be [ɔʏ] instead of [eu] and ae, oe, ue would be alternative representations of respectively ä, ö, ü.


Ë does not belong to the official Hungarian alphabet, but is usually applied in folklore notations and sometimes also in stylistic writing, e.g. is extensively used in the vocal oeuvre of Kodály. The reason is that open e (close to English hat, cat, cap) and closed ë (close to Spanish e) are distinguished in most spoken dialects, but is not indicated in writing because of the history of writing and due to little but observable areal variation.


Ë is the 9th letter of the Kashubian alphabet and represents /ə/.


Although not used in standard Ladin, Ë is used in the local variations gherdëina, badiot and fodom. 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 English pronunciations). Examples: aër "air", poëta "poet", coërcere "to coerce".


In the Lenape language, the letter ë is used to represent the schwa vowel. An example of its use is the word mikwën, which means "feather". It can also be found in more complex words, such as ntëmpëm, which means "my brain".[5]


In Luxembourgish, ë is used to indicate stressed schwa /ə/ as in the word ëmmer [ˈəmɐ] ("always"). Otherwise, a stressed e is pronounced as [æ] (e.g. sechs [zæks] ("six")), [ɛ] (e.g. Verb [vɛχp] ("verb")) or [eː] (e.g. Prefix [ˈpʀeːfiks] ("prefix")).

It is also used to indicate an unstressed schwa in the following cases:

1. Before or after a double ee, pronounced [eː], to indicate that the ë does not form a digraph with the preceding or following vowel letter but is pronounced separately, for example: gëeegent [ɡəˈʔeːʑənt] ("suitable"), Eeër [ˈeːɐ] ("eggs") or leeën [ˈleːən] ("to lay"). This also applies to French loanwords ending in -ée, e.g. Musée [ˈmyːzeː] ("museum"), n-plural: Muséeën [ˈmyːzeːən], n-less plural: Muséeë [ˈmyːzeːə]. About usage of plural forms with and without -n, see Eifeler Regel.

2. To indicate that the word-final -e is pronounced in the n-less plural form of words whose singular ends in a mute -e, e.g. Orange [ˈoʀɑ̃ːʃ] ("orange", singular), Orangen [ˈoʀɑ̃ːʃən] (plural with -n), Orangë [ˈoʀɑ̃ːʃə] (plural without -n).

3. In feminine nouns with a word-final mute -e denoting a female person, an extra ë is added in the plural to distinguish it from the plural of the corresponding masculine noun:

  • Cliente [ˈkliɑ̃ːt] ("customer" [female], feminine, singular), Clienteën [ˈkliɑ̃ːtən] (plural with -n), Clienteë [ˈkliɑ̃ːtə] (plural without -n) vs.
  • Client [ˈkliɑ̃ː] ("customer" [male or gender-neutral], masculine, singular), Clienten [ˈkliɑ̃ːən] (plural with -n), Clientë [ˈkliɑ̃ːə] (plural without -n).

4. In the corresponding masculine nouns the diaeresis is used in the n-less plural form to distinguish it from the singular of the corresponding feminine noun: Clientë [ˈkliɑ̃ːə] ("customers" [male or gender-neutral], masculine, plural without -n) vs. Cliente [ˈkliɑ̃ːt] ("customer" [female], feminine, singular).

Mayan languages[edit]

In the modern orthography of Mayan languages, the letter Ë represents /ə/.


Ë represents the mid central vowel /ə/ in the modern orthography of Piedmontese language.


In constructed language Quenya diaeresis indicates that a vowel is not part of a diphthong, for example in ëa or ëo, while final ë is marked with a diaeresis to remind English-speakers that it is not silent.


Ë is used in Romagnol to represent [ɛː~ɛə], e.g. fradël [fraˈdɛəl~fraˈdɛːl] "brother".


In some Latin transliterations of Russian such as ISO 9, ë is used for its homoglyph ё, representing a /jo/, as in Potëmkin to render the Cyrillic Потёмкин. Other translations use yo, jo or (ambiguously) simply e.


In the romanization of Syriac, the letter Ë gives a schwa. In some grammatical constructions, it is a replacement for the other, original vowels (a, o, e, i, u). Example words that have Ë: knoṭër ("he is waiting"), krëhṭi ("they are running"), krëqdo ("she is dancing"), ŝërla ("she has closed"), gfolëḥ ("he will work"), madënḥo ("east"), mën ("what"), ašër ("believe"). Turoyo and Assyrian languages may utilize this diacritic, albeit rarely.


In Seneca, the letter Ë is used to represent /ẽ/, a close-mid front unrounded nasalized vowel.


In Tagalog and its standardized form Filipino, Ë is used to represent the schwa, particularly in words originating from other Philippine languages, for instance Maranao (Mëranaw), Pangasinan, Ilocano, and Ibaloi. Before introduction of this letter, schwa was ambiguously represented by A or E.


Ë is the 6th letter of the Uyghur Latin alphabet and represents close-mid front unrounded vowel /e/ (while plain E stands for /ɛ/ or /æ/).

Character mappings[edit]

Character information
Preview Ë ë
Encodings decimal hex dec hex
Unicode 203 U+00CB 235 U+00EB
UTF-8 195 139 C3 8B 195 171 C3 AB
Numeric character reference Ë Ë ë ë
Named character reference Ë ë
ISO 8859-1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16 203 CB 235 EB

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lenape Talking Dictionary".
  2. ^ Trost, Stefan. "Alphabet and Character Frequency: Albanian (Shqip)". www.sttmedia.com. Retrieved 2023-04-04.
  3. ^ The New Yorker – Style Notation
  4. ^ Almario, Virgilio (2014). KWF Manwal sa Masinop na Pagsulat (PDF). Manila: Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino.
  5. ^ "Lenape Talking Dictionary".