Æ

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Æ
Æ æ
Æ in Times New Roman
Usage
Writing systemLatin script
TypeTypographic ligature
Language of originLatin language
Phonetic usage[æ]
[ai]
[i]
[e]
History
Development
  • Æ æ
Other
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.
Æ in Helvetica and Bodoni
Æ alone and in context

Æ (lowercase: æ) is a character formed from the letters a and e, originally a ligature representing the Latin diphthong ae. It has been promoted to the status of a letter in some languages, including Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese. It was also used in Old Swedish before being changed to ä. Today, the International Phonetic Alphabet uses it to represent the near-open front unrounded vowel (the sound represented by the 'a' in the English word cat). Diacritic variants include Ǣ/ǣ, Ǽ/ǽ, Æ̀/æ̀, Æ̂/æ̂ and Æ̃/æ̃.[a]

As a letter of the Old English Latin alphabet, it was called æsc, "ash tree",[1] after the Anglo-Saxon futhorc rune which it transliterated; its traditional name in English is still ash, or æsh if the ligature is included.

Vanuatu's domestic airline operated under the name Air Melanesiæ in the 1970s.
Æ on the Katholische Hofkirche in Dresden (at the beginning of "ÆDEM")

Languages[edit]

Latin[edit]

In Classical Latin, the combination AE denotes the diphthong [ae̯], which had a value similar to the long i in fine as pronounced in most dialects of Modern English.[2] Both classical and present practice is to write the letters separately, but the ligature was used in medieval and early modern writings, in part because æ was reduced to the simple vowel [ɛ] during the Roman Empire. In some medieval scripts, the ligature was simplified to ę, an e with ogonek, called the e caudata (Latin for "tailed e"). That was further simplified into a plain e, which may have influenced or been influenced by the pronunciation change. However, the ligature is still relatively common in liturgical books and musical scores.

French[edit]

In the modern French alphabet, æ (called a "e-dans-l'a" ("e in the a")) is used to spell Latin and Greek borrowings like curriculum vitæ, et cætera, ex æquo, tænia, and the first name Lætitia. It is mentioned in the name of Serge Gainsbourg's song Elaeudanla Téïtéïa, a reading of the French spelling of the name Lætitia: "L, A, E dans l'A, T, I, T, I, A."[citation needed]

English[edit]

The name Ælfgyva, on the Bayeux Tapestry

In English, usage of the ligature varies between different places and contexts, but it is fairly rare. In modern typography, if technological limitations make the use of æ difficult (such as in use of typewriters, telegraphs, or ASCII), the digraph ae is often used instead.

In the United States, the issue of the ligature is sidestepped in many cases by use of a simplified spelling with "e", as happened with œ as well. Usage, however, may vary; for example, medieval is now more common than mediaeval (and the now old-fashioned mediæval) even in the United Kingdom,[3] but archaeology is preferred over archeology, even in the US.[4]

Given their long history, ligatures are sometimes used to show archaism or in literal quotations of historic sources; for instance, in those contexts, words such as dæmon and æther are often so spelled.

The ligature is seen on gravestones of the 19th century, short for ætate ("at the age (of)"): "Æ xxYs, yyMs, zzDs." It is also common[citation needed] in formal typography (invitations, resolutions, announcements, and some government documents); for example, the Court Circular has continued to use the spelling orthopædic[5][better source needed] well into the 21st century.

In numismatics, "Æ" is used as an abbreviation for "bronze",[6] derived from the Latin aes (aere in the ablative, "from bronze").

In Old English, æ represented a sound between a and e (/æ/), very much like the short a of cat in many dialects of Modern English. If long vowels are distinguished from short vowels, the long version /æː/ is marked with a macron (ǣ) or, less commonly, an acute (ǽ).

Other Germanic languages[edit]

In Old Norse, æ represents the long vowel /ɛː/. The short version of the same vowel, /ɛ/, if it is distinguished from /e/, is written as ę.

In most varieties of Faroese, æ is pronounced as follows:

  • [ɛa] when simultaneously stressed and occurring either word-finally, before a vowel letter, before a single consonant letter, or before the consonant-letter groups kl, kr, pl, pr, tr, kj, tj, sj, and those consisting of ð and one other consonant letter, except for ðr when pronounced like gr (except as below)
  • a rather open [eː] when directly followed by the sound [a], as in ræðast (silent ð) and frægari (silent g)
  • [a] in all other cases

One of its etymological origins is Old Norse é (the other is Old Norse æ), which is particularly evident in the dialects of Suðuroy, where Æ is [eː] or [ɛ]:

In Icelandic, æ represents the diphthong [ai], which can be long or short.

In Danish and Norwegian, æ is a separate letter of the alphabet that represents a monophthong. It follows z and precedes ø and å. In Norwegian, there are four ways of pronouncing the letter:

  • /æː/ as in æ (the name of the letter), bær, Solskjær, læring, æra, Ænes, ærlig, tærne, Kværner, Dæhlie, særs, ærfugl, lært, trær ("trees")
  • /æ/ as in færre, æsj, nærmere, Færder, Skjærvø, ærverdig, vært, lærd, Bræin (where æi is pronounced as a diphthong /æi/)
  • /eː/ as in Sæther, Næser, Sæbø, gælisk, spælsau, bevæpne, sæd, æser, Cæsar, væte, trær ("thread(s)" [verb])
  • /e/ as in Sæth, Næss, Brænne, Bækkelund, Vollebæk, væske, trædd
West of the red line through Jutland, classic Danish dialects use æ as the definite article. Additionally, the northernmost and southernmost of that area use Æ as the first person singular pronoun I. The two words are different vowels.

In many northern, western, and southwestern Norwegian dialects and in the western Danish dialects of Thy and Southern Jutland, the word "I" (Norwegian: jeg, Danish: jeg) is pronounced /æː/.[citation needed] Thus, when this word is written as it is pronounced in these dialects (rather than the standard), it is often spelled with the letter "æ".

In western and southern Jutish dialects of Danish, æ is also the proclitic definite article: æ hus (the house), as opposed to Standard Danish and all other Nordic varieties which have enclitic definite articles (Danish, Swedish, Norwegian: huset; Icelandic, Faroese: húsið [the house]).

The equivalent letter in German, Swedish, and Finnish is ä, but it is not located at the same place within the alphabet. In German, it is not a separate letter from "A" but in Swedish, it is the second-to-last letter (between å and ö).

In the normalized spelling of Middle High German, æ represents a long vowel [ɛː]. The actual spelling in the manuscripts varies, however.

Ossetic[edit]

Ossetic Latin script; part of a page from a book published in 1935

Ossetic used the letter æ when it was written using the Latin script from 1923 to 1938. Since then, Ossetian has used a Cyrillic alphabet with an identical-looking letter (Ӕ and ӕ). It is pronounced as a mid-central vowel (schwa).

South American languages[edit]

The letter æ is used in the official orthography of Kawésqar spoken in Chile and also in that of the Fuegian language Yaghan.

International Phonetic Alphabet[edit]

The symbol [æ] is also used in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to denote a near-open front unrounded vowel like in the word cat in many dialects of Modern English, which is the sound that was most likely represented by the Old English letter. In the IPA, it is always in lowercase. U+10783 𐞃 MODIFIER LETTER SMALL AE is a superscript IPA letter[7]

The Uralic Phonetic Alphabet (UPA) uses four additional æ-related symbols, see Unicode table below.[8]

Cyrillic[edit]

The Latin letters are frequently used in place of the Cyrillic Ӕ and ӕ in Cyrillic texts (such as on Ossetian sites on the Internet).

Typing the character[edit]

Nordic+Danish keyboard with keys for Æ and Ø. Danish layout uses the white and the Norwegian layout the green ones.
The Æ character is accessible using AltGr+z on a US-International keyboard.
  • The HTML entities are Æ and æ
  • Windows: Alt+0198 or Alt+146 for uppercase, Alt+0230 or Alt+145 for lowercase.
  • In the TeX typesetting system, ӕ is produced by \ae.
  • Microsoft Word: Ctrl+⇧ Shift+& followed by A or a.
  • X: Composeae and ComposeAE can be used.
  • In all versions of the Mac OS (Systems 1 through 7, Mac OS 8 and 9, OS X, macOS 11 and 12, and the current macOS 13): æ: ⌥ Option+' (apostrophe key), Æ: ⌥ Option+⇧ Shift+'.
  • On the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, as well as phones running Google's Android OS or Windows Mobile OS and on the Kindle Touch and Paperwhite: hold down "A" until a small menu is displayed.
  • On US-International keyboards, Æ is accessible with AltGr+z (X sometimes uses AltGr+a.
  • The Icelandic keyboard layout has a separate key for Æ (and Ð, Þ and Ö).
  • The Norwegian keyboard layout also has a separate key for Æ, rightmost of the letters, to the right of Ø and below Å.

Unicode[edit]

  • U+00C6 Æ LATIN CAPITAL LETTER AE
  • U+00E6 æ LATIN SMALL LETTER AE
  • U+01E2 Ǣ LATIN CAPITAL LETTER AE WITH MACRON
  • U+01E3 ǣ LATIN SMALL LETTER AE WITH MACRON
  • U+01FC Ǽ LATIN CAPITAL LETTER AE WITH ACUTE
  • U+01FD ǽ LATIN SMALL LETTER AE WITH ACUTE
  • U+06D5 ە ARABIC LETTER AE
  • U+0E41 THAI CHARACTER SARA AE
  • U+1162 HANGUL JUNGSEONG AE
  • U+16C5 RUNIC LETTER LONG-BRANCH-AR AE
  • U+17C2 KHMER VOWEL SIGN AE
  • U+19B6 NEW TAI LUE VOWEL SIGN AE
  • U+1A1B BUGINESE VOWEL SIGN AE
  • U+1A6F TAI THAM VOWEL SIGN AE
  • U+1B86 SUNDANESE LETTER AE
  • U+1D01 LATIN LETTER SMALL CAPITAL AE (UPA)
  • U+1D02 LATIN SMALL LETTER TURNED AE (UPA)
  • U+1D2D MODIFIER LETTER CAPITAL AE (UPA)
  • U+1D46 MODIFIER LETTER SMALL TURNED AE (UPA)
  • U+1DD4 COMBINING LATIN SMALL LETTER AE
  • U+3150 HANGUL LETTER AE
  • U+318E HANGUL LETTER ARAEAE
  • U+A4EF LISU LETTER AE
  • U+A79A LATIN CAPITAL LETTER VOLAPUK AE
  • U+A79B LATIN SMALL LETTER VOLAPUK AE
  • U+FFC3 HALFWIDTH HANGUL LETTER AE
  • U+10783 𐞃 MODIFIER LETTER SMALL AE (IPA)
  • U+10B06 𐬆 AVESTAN LETTER AE
  • U+10C02 𐰂 OLD TURKIC LETTER YENISEI AE
  • U+16F73 𖽳 MIAO VOWEL SIGN AE
  • U+1E2AB 𞊫 TOTO LETTER AE
  • U+1E2AC 𞊬 TOTO LETTER BREATHY AE

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ More information may be found at their entries on Wiktionary (Wiktionary-logo-en-v2.svg ǣ, Wiktionary-logo-en-v2.svg , etc.), and on the appendix page there entitled Wiktionary-logo-en-v2.svg Variations of ae.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harrison, James A.; Baskervill, W. M., eds. (1885). "æsc". A Handy Anglo-Saxon Dictionary: Based on Groschopp's Grein. A. S. Barnes. p. 11.
  2. ^ James Morwood (1999). Latin Grammar, Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-860199-9, p. 3
  3. ^ The spelling medieval is given priority in both Oxford and Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Accessed September 22, 2014.
  4. ^ Merriam-Webster Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Accessed September 22, 2014.
  5. ^ Online search, February 2021[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ David Sear. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. Spink Books, 1982. ISBN 9781912667352 p. xxxv.
  7. ^ Miller, Kirk; Ashby, Michael (2020-11-08). "L2/20-252R: Unicode request for IPA modifier-letters (a), pulmonic" (PDF).
  8. ^ Everson, Michael; et al. (2002-03-20). "L2/02-141: Uralic Phonetic Alphabet characters for the UCS" (PDF).

Further reading[edit]