ⓘ Ö


ⓘ O

O, or o, is a character that represents either a letter from several extended Latin alphabets, or the letter "o" modified with an umlaut or diaeresis. In many languages, the letter "o", or the "o" modified with an umlaut, is used to denote the non-close front rounded vowels.


1. O -umlaut

The letter o with umlaut o appears in some Germanic languages alphabets, namely the German alphabet, Swedish alphabet and Icelandic alphabet. It represents the umlauted form of o, resulting in. The letter is often collated together with o in the German alphabet, but there are exceptions which collate it like oe or OE. The letter also occurs in some languages that have adopted German names or spellings, but it is not normally a part of those alphabets. In Danish and Norwegian, o was previously used in place of o in older texts to distinguish between open and closed o-sounds. It is also used when confusion with other symbols could occur, on maps for instance. The Dano-Norwegian o is, like the German o, a development of oe and can be compared with the French oe. 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. For example, in German horen hear/listen can be easily recognized even if spelled hoeren.


2. O in other languages

The letter o 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, Kazakh Kazinform alphabet, and in the Uto-Aztecan language Hopi, where it represents the vowel sounds, a back mid rounded nasalized vowel.

In Swedish, the letter o is also used as the one-letter word for an island, which is not to be mixed with the actual letter. O in this sense is also a Swedish-language surname.

In the Seri language, o indicates the labialization of the previous consonant, e.g. coihiin /kʷiˈɁiin/ "sanderling".


2.1. O in other languages Last letter of some alphabets

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 A, thus fulfilling the place of omega, for example in the Finnish expression aasta oohon "from A to Z". However, in Hungarian, as well as Turkish and other Turkic alphabets that have o, it is an independent letter between o and p.


3. O -diaeresis

O with diaeresis occurs in several languages that use diaereses. In these languages the letter represents a normal o, and the pronunciation does not change e.g. in the Dutch/Afrikaans word cooperatief.

In English

Some writers and publications, such as The New Yorker, use it in English words such as zoology and cooperate to indicate that the second vowel is pronounced separately. It is also employed in names such as Laocoon, Coos County, and the constellation Bootes. This is also done in Dutch.


4. Usage in phonetic alphabets

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


5. Typography

Historically 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 o was a similar ligature for the digraph OE: e was written above o and degenerated into two small dots.

In some inscriptions and display typefaces, o may be represented as an o with a small letter e inside.

In modern typography there was insufficient space on typewriters and later computer keyboards to allow for both an O-with-dots also representing o 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.

Other alphabets containing o -diaerisis include the Welsh alphabet,

Other alphabets containing o -umlaut include: the Turkmen alphabet for the vowel, the Luxembourgian alphabet when writing loanwords from Standard German, the Slovenian alphabet when writing loanwords from German, Hungarian and Turkish, and the Dinka alphabet. The Hungarian alphabet contains both o and o: double acute o is the longer pair of o. See double acute accent.