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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, Dutch, Filipino, French, Luxembourgish, 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, [ˈdiəl.tiəkən]) is mostly used to indicate that the vowel should not be diphthongised, for example geër ("giver") is pronounced [χeər], whilst geer (a wedge-shaped piece of fabric) is pronounced [χiːr]. There are some cases where the deelteken does nothing to the pronunciation, like in reën ("rain"), which is pronounced [reən]. The non-existent word *reen would be pronounced the same. The deelteken in this case has only a historical background; the archaic form of reën is regen and the deelteken indicates that the g was removed. Some older people still pronounce reën in two syllables ([ˈreː.ən]).

The deelteken does exactly what it says (deelteken being Afrikaans for "separation mark"). It separates syllables, as it indicates the start of a new one. An example of this is the word voël ("bird"), which is pronounced in two syllables. Without it, the word would become voel ("feel"), which is pronounced in one syllable.


Ë is the 8th letter of the Albanian alphabet and represents the vowel /ə/. It is the most commonly used letter of the language, comprising 10 percent of all writings.


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.


Ë is used in Romagnol to represent [ɛː~ɛə], e.g. fradël [fraˈdɛəl~fraˈdɛːl] "brother". 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.[2] 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.


French and Dutch[edit]

Ë appears in words like French Noël and Dutch koloniën. This so-called trema is used to indicate that the vowel should not be monophthonged. For example, Noël is pronounced [nɔɛl], whilst *Noel would be pronounced [nœl]. Likewise, "koloniën" is pronounced [koːˈloːniən], whilst "*kolonien" would be pronounced [koːˈloːnin].


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 some local dialects. 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".[3]


In Luxembourgish, ⟨ë⟩ is used for stressed schwa /ə/ like in the word ëmmer ("always"). It is also used to indicate a morphological plural ending after two ⟨ee⟩ such as in eeër ("eggs") or leeën ("lay").

Mayan languages[edit]

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


In some Latin transliterations of Russian, 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/.

Character mappings[edit]

Character information
Preview Ë ë
Encodings decimal hex decimal 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. ^ The New Yorker – Style Notation
  3. ^ "Lenape Talking Dictionary".