Ö

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Ö ö

Ö, or ö, is a character used in several extended Latin alphabets, or the letter O with umlaut to denote the front vowels [ø] or [œ]. In languages without umlaut, the character is also used as an "O with diaeresis" to denote a syllable break, wherein its pronunciation remains an unmodified [o].

O-umlaut[edit]

The letter Ö, standing for "Österreich", i.e. Austria in German, on a boundary stone at the border between Austria and Germany.

The letter O with umlaut appears in the German alphabet. It represents the umlauted form of o, resulting in [œ] or [ø]. The letter is collated together with O in the German alphabet. The letter also occurs in some languages that have adopted German names or spellings, but is not normally a part of these alphabets. In Danish and Norwegian, Ö was previously used in place of Ø in older texts and to distinguish between open and closed ö-sounds. It is also used when confusion with other symbols could occur, on maps for instance. The Dano-Norwegian Ø is like the German Ö a development of OE, to be compared with the French Œ.

In other languages that do not have the letter as part of the regular alphabet or in limited character sets such as ASCII, O-umlaut is frequently replaced with the digraph "oe".

Letter Ö in other languages[edit]

The letter Ö also occurs in two other Germanic languages: Swedish and Icelandic, but it is regarded there as a separate letter, not as an umlauted version of O. Apart from Germanic languages, it occurs in the Uralic languages Finnish, Karelian, Veps, Estonian, Southern Sami, and Hungarian, in the Turkic languages such as Azeri, Turkish, Turkmen, Uyghur (Latin script), Crimean Tatar, and in the Uto-Aztecan language Hopi, where it represents the vowel sounds [ø, œ]. Its name in Finnish, Swedish, Icelandic, Estonian, Azeri, Turkish, Turkmen, Uyghur, Crimean Tatar, Hungarian, and Votic is Öö [øː], not "O with two dots", since /ø/ is not a variant of the vowel /o/, but a distinct phoneme.

Note that unlike the O-umlaut, the letter Ö cannot be written as "oe". Minimal pairs exist between 'ö' and 'oe' (and also with 'oo', 'öö' and 'öe'). Consider Finnish eläinkö "animal?" (interrogative) vs. eläinkoe "animal test" (cf. Germanic umlaut). In the case the character Ö is unavailable, O is substituted and context is relied upon for inference of the intended meaning.

In Seneca "ö" is used to represent [ɔ̃], a back mid rounded nasalized vowel.

Last letter of some alphabets[edit]

It is collated as an independent letter, sometimes by placing it at the end of the alphabet, such as in Swedish and Icelandic; and in Finnish, after Z, Å and Ä, thus fulfilling the place of "omega", for example in the Finnish expression aasta ööhön "from A to Z". However, in Hungarian, Turkish and other Turkic alphabets that have Ö, it is an independent letter between O and P.

O-diaeresis[edit]

O with diaeresis occurs in several languages which use diaereses. In these languages the letter represents a normal O, and the pronunciation does not change (e.g. in the Dutch/Afrikaans word coöperatief [cooperative]).

In English[edit]

Some writers and publications, such as The New Yorker[1] use it in English words such as zoölogy and coöperate to indicate that the letter is pronounced separately. It is also commonly employed in names such as Laocoön, and in of the constellation Boötes.

Usage in phonetic alphabets[edit]

In the Rheinische Dokumenta, a phonetic alphabet for many West Central German, the Low Rhenish, and few related vernacular languages, "ö" represents the close-mid front rounded vowel with the IPA notation [ø].

The Uralic phonetic alphabet uses Ö as in Finnish to denote the front vowel [ø].

Codes for computing[edit]

Character Ö ö
Unicode name LATIN CAPITAL LETTER O WITH DIAERESIS LATIN SMALL LETTER O WITH DIAERESIS
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 214 U+00D6 246 U+00F6
UTF-8 195 150 C3 96 195 182 C3 B6
Numeric character reference Ö Ö ö ö
Named character reference Ö ö
EBCDIC family 236 EC 204 CC
ISO 8859-1/2/3/4/9/10/13/14/15/16 214 D6 246 F6
Keyboard entry
System Uppercase Ö Lowercase ö Notes
Unix-like Ctrl+ Shift+(U00D6) Ctrl+ Shift+(U00F6) For ISO-8859-1- and UTF-8-based locales
Icelandic keyboard layout Shift+Ö ö Separate key for Ö (and Ð, Þ and Æ)
Swedish keyboard layout Shift+Ö ö Separate key for Ö (and Å and Ä)
OS X Shift+ Option+D Option+D Typed by activating the US Extended keyboard layout
Microsoft Windows Alt+(0214) Alt+(0246)

Typography[edit]

Johann Martin Schleyer proposed an alternate form for Ö in Volapük but it was rarely used.

Historically[when?] O-diaeresis was written as an O with two dots above the letter. O-umlaut was written as an O with a small e written above in cursive old German (Gothic) script: this minute e is represented by two vertical bars connected by a slanted line, which then degenerated to two vertical bars in early modern handwritings. In most later handwritings these bars in turn nearly became dots. The origin of the letter Ö was a similar ligature for the digraph OE: e was written above o and degenerated into two small dots.[citation needed]

In some inscriptions and display typefaces, Ö may be represented as an O with a small letter E inside.[example needed]

In modern typography there was insufficient space on typewriters and later computer keyboards to allow for both an O-with-dots (also representing Ö) and an O-with-bars. Since they looked nearly identical, the two glyphs were combined, which was also done in computer character encodings such as ISO 8859-1. As a result there was no way to differentiate between the different characters.

The Unicode code point for ö is U+00F6. Ö is U+00D6. It can also be created by compositing the character U+0308 "COMBINING DIAERESIS" with an "o" or "O". Though rarely used, as of version 3.2.0, Unicode also provides "COMBINING LATIN SMALL LETTER E" at U+0364 which can produce the older umlaut typography.

In TeX, Ö and ö are produced using \"{O} and \"{o} respectively.

Other alphabets containing this letter[which?] include the Azerbaijani alphabet, Welsh alphabet, Luxembourgian alphabet, Slovenian alphabet, Turkmen alphabet, Yapese alphabet and Dinka alphabet. The Hungarian alphabet contains both ö and ő: double acute o is the longer pair of ö. See double acute accent.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]