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Diacritical marks
designation character
Acute, simple ◌́
Acute, double ◌̋
Breve, about it ◌̆
Breve, including ◌̮
Cedilla, including ◌̧
Cedilla, about it ◌̒
Gravis, simple ◌̀
Gravis, double ◌̏
hook ◌̉
Hatschek ◌̌
horn ◌̛
Comma below ◌̦
Coronis ◌̓
Kroužek, about it ◌̊
Kroužek, including ◌̥
Macron, about it ◌̄
Macron, underneath ◌̱
Ogonek ◌̨
Period about that ◌̇
Point below ◌̣
Dash ◌̶
Alcohol asper ◌̔
Spiritus lenis ◌̕
Tilde, about it ◌̃
Tilde, underneath ◌̰
Trema, about it ◌̈
Trema, including ◌̤
circumflex ◌̂
Ää Ëë Öö
Üü Ÿÿ

The Trema sign , Trema for short ( ancient Greek τρῆμα trêma , German ' Bohrloch , Punkt [of the cube]' ; plural: Tremata (after Greek τρῆματα trêmata ) or tremas ), also called dividing points because of its most common function (see below) , is a diacritical mark in the form of a horizontal colon over a vowel . Its use in the orthographies of various languages ​​mostly has the function of indicating a changed pronunciation in the context of the sounds.

Both thematically and functionally , the umlaut letters created with the horizontal colon above the vowel letters a , e , o and u (the so-called umlaut sign ) are used to represent independent vowels with a fundamentally different pronunciation, although many character encodings do not distinguish graphically between trema (characters) and umlaut dots.

Use in different languages ​​and scripts

Above one of two neighboring vowel letters, the trema causes a change in pronunciation in the context of the sound, for example the diaeresis (e.g. in Dutch) or the articulation of an otherwise silent vowel (e.g. in French and Spanish). The use of the horizontal colon over the vowel letters a , e , o and u is not a trema, but an umlaut , which creates a new letter with a fundamentally different pronunciation - e.g. B. in German ( umlaut ), in Hungarian or in Turkish.

Marking a diariesis or a long pronunciation

Example of a trema on e and i. The font used is Garamond .

The trema is used in different languages ​​for different purposes, including to indicate a diariesis , that is, the separate pronunciation of consecutive vowels.

  • In Dutch , the trema is generally used to mark the pronunciation of a vowel that is separate from the preceding vowel. For example, the trema in the word paranoïde indicates that the o and the i do not form a diphthong , but are divided into two syllables as a diariesis . Also digraphs that for a Monophthong are are resolved using the tremas. In diëresis (" Diärese "), the letter sequence ie does not stand for a long i according to the general rule , but for an i- sound followed by an e- sound. Therefore, the trema is also used when a doubled vowel does not denote a long vowel as usual, but is spoken in two syllables, for example in the first name Aäron with two identical initial syllables or in the scientific name of the constellation Boötes (" Bear Guardian "), in which two separate o - Sounds follow one another. If more than two identical vowel letters follow one another, the trema is replaced by a hyphen in newer orthography , for example zee-eend (" sea duck ") for older zeeëend.  - In English, the hyphen is now also recommended in such words, that elephant seal instead of the earlier Elephant Seal.
  • In English , too , the trema is sometimes used in this function, e.g. B. with naïve .
  • In French , the trema has various functions. On the word égoïste , the trema leads to the separate, two-syllable pronunciation of the two vowels (diariesis), in contrast to the letter combination oi , which generally has the monosyllabic pronunciation [wa] . Other example words with syllable-separating tremas are Noël , Saül and Emmaüs or Capharnaüm with the pronunciation [ɔm] at the end.
In French, the trema on the e or i can also lead to the pronunciation of a preceding vowel, such as the u in the word aiguë , where uë represents the vowel u with a silent feminine ending -e , while the u in the graphie aigue does not Trema on which e (only) would underline the pronunciation of g as [ɡ] and would itself be silent, cf. the city name Aigues-Mortes [ɛɡˈmɔʁt] . The trema does not indicate a special pronunciation of the e, but rather that the letter sequence gu cannot be read as a digraph .
Since the spelling reform of 1990 (hardly noticed in the press or in fiction) , the Académie française has recommended always noting the trema on the vowel that is actually pronounced, i.e. aigüe (instead of aiguë ) and gageüre (instead of gageure ); the ü is then pronounced like a common u (like a ü in German).
  • In Catalan , Spanish and in the Brazilian orthography of Portuguese , the trema appears above the letter u when it follows g or (in Catalan and Portuguese) q and comes before e or i . In these orthographies, gu and qu stand in front of the letters e and i for the phonemes / ɡ / and / k / , while they stand in front of the letters a and o for the pronunciation / ɡw / and / kw / . The trema above the u before the letters e and i also leads to the pronunciation / ɡw / and / kw / , such as:
    • Spanish: paraguas "umbrella" - paragüero "umbrella stand", both with / ɡw / ; opposite lago "lake" - laguito "small lake", both with a mere / ɡ / .
    • Catalan: llengua "language", llengües "languages", qüestió "question, discussion topic".

In German , the trema is no longer used in its original sense to indicate a different pronunciation in a sound context. While up until the beginning of the 20th century, tremas should only be used in German script in order to exclude misunderstandings in individual cases, the German spelling rules from 1902 to 1996 advised against the use of the tremas in general. Instead of the French “Zaïre”, the word “ Zaire ” should be written (see Das Trema in German spelling in the 19th century ). The current rules since the spelling reform of 1996 no longer deal with the Trema. In words like the Greek foreign word asteroid, the trema could not prevail in the past either. However, the trema on an e or i can still be found in some proper names from the German-speaking world ( Piëch , Noëlle , Hoëcker , Brassaï ).

Identification of a deviating vowel quality

On the other hand, in other orthographies the horizontal colon above a vowel letter is not a trema as a contextual indication of pronunciation, but rather forms a graphic unit with the vowel letter in question in the form of a separate graph for a fundamentally different vowel. In the German orthography as well as in the orthography of several Scandinavian and Finno-Ugric languages, a vowel letter modified in this way stands for a front, i.e. in German a vowel with a rounded vowel. In Albanian and Luxembourgish , the ë also stands for an independent vowel, the Schwa , and is often not pronounced at the end of the word like an open ö (example është ) (example unë ). In the Ladin language , the ë stands for a Schwa sound that is always emphasized. In the Cyrillic alphabet , the colon above е also has the function of indicating a sound other than / e / or / je / . For example, in Russian the letter Ё / ё is pronounced as / jɔ / .

Trema letters

The following is a list of Latin letters that appear with a trema symbol:

Ää , Ǟǟ, Ёё , Ḧḧ , Ïï , Ḯḯ, N̈n̈ , Öö , Ȫȫ, Ṏṏ, T̈ẗ , Üü , Ǖǖ, Ǘǘ, Ǚǚ, Ǜǜ, Ṻṻ, Ẅẅ , Ẍẍ and Ÿÿ with the trema symbol in superimposed position, ...
... as well as Ṳṳ with the Trema symbol in the lower position.

And all letters in the Cyrillic alphabet that occur with a trema symbol:

Ӓӓ , Ӓ̄ӓ̄, Ёё , Ё̄ё̄ , Ӝӝ , Ӟӟ , Ӥӥ, Її , Ӧӧ , Ӫӫ , Ӧ̄ӧ̄, Ӱӱ , Ӱ̄ӱ̄, Ӵӵ , Ӹӹ , Ӭӭ and Ӛӛ ; Occurring here exclusively in the upper position.

The trema in data processing


Most character set standards, including Unicode , do not distinguish between umlaut and trema. If a distinction between umlaut and trema is necessary in data processing, ISO / IEC JTC 1 / SC 2 / WG 2 recommends the following:

  • Representation of the trema by: Combining Grapheme Joiner (CGJ, 034F) + Combining Diaeresis (0308)
  • The umlauts are represented by: Combining Diaeresis (0308)


German keyboard layout

With the German standard keyboard layout T2 , the character is entered as Alt Gr+ r. This combination acts as a dead key , i.e. H. must be entered before the basic letter.

Under Microsoft Windows , an (isolated) trema is generated by pressing the Alt key (Alt) and entering the Unicode characters 0168on the numeric keypad and then releasing the Alt key. This applies, for example, to text editors (NotePad, TextPad, WordPad), to DOS command line input, to some extent to the free Office package, the Microsoft Office components Excel, Access and PowerPoint and - when NumLock is switched on - also for Microsoft Word. With laptops and small keyboards, a non-existent number block can sometimes be simulated with a function key. In Microsoft Word there is also the option of entering the hexadecimal value of the character 00A8 using the numeric keys and then immediately pressing the key combination Alt+ C(in dialog boxes: Alt+ X); the string is replaced with the Trema. By pressing Alt+ Cagain, the initial state can be restored, so you can switch back and forth. Alternatively, the Trema can also be generated in Word using the menu for inserting special characters or symbols.

Under macOS and Mac OS Classic you get the trema by entering Alt+ u, then ‹Buchstabe›(a, e, i, o, u, y, A, E, I, O, U or Y).

Under Linux and BSD characters with the Trema by the key sequence Alt Gr+ Ü, ‹Buchstabe›are entered; for capital letters additionally ⇧ (Umschalt). The ï is therefore by Alt Gr+ Ü, Igenerated. In older versions this is done by Kompositionstaste"Buchstabe.

Swiss keyboard layout

Swiss keyboards (see keyboard layout # Switzerland ) have their own umlaut / trema dead key ¨ . Followed by a / A, o / O or u / U it creates the corresponding umlauts, followed by i / I or y / Y it adds a trema to the corresponding vowel.

Neo keyboard layout

The Neo keyboard layout enables characters with a trema to be entered directly using a dead key. You create these characters with Mod 4+ Tottaste 2, Buchstabe.


In EurKEY the trema is then generated using AltGr+ Shift+ ,. A direct entry without dead keys is possible for vowels that occur frequently in Europe, such as B. "ü" means + . 'BuchstabeAltGru

TeX and LaTeX

TeX and LaTeX can set the trema using any characters. There are two commands for this:

  • In text mode for typesetting, \"aan ä.
  • In math mode generates \ddot athe formula . This notation usually denotes the second derivative of the variable with respect to time.


In the APL programming language , the character ¨, read diaeresis , is an operator that applies its left operand to every element of its right argument (instead of the entire right argument). For example, (1 2) 'Beispiel' (3 4 5)a vector with three elements is vector 1 2, string 'Beispiel'and vector 3 4 5. This vector's shape ⍴(1 2) 'Beispiel' (3 4 5)is 3 because it is a vector of three elements. The shape of each element ⍴¨(1 2) 'Beispiel' (3 4 5)is the vector of the boxed numbers 2, 8, and 3, as these are the shapes of each element of (1 2) 'Beispiel' (3 4 5). Furthermore, the diaeresis is used as a combining accent mark in the formation of some other language symbols such as (operator power ), (operator rank ) and (operator commutate ).


In order to represent ë or ï in HTML , the following named characters ( entities ) can be used: ëor ï.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Trema  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ISO / IEC JTC 1 / SC 2 / WG 2 N 2754 (from June 24, 2004; p. 5 under M45.13); see also DNB , character concordance MAB2 character set - ISO / IEC 10646 / Unicode (from February 1, 2005; footnote 9)
  2. Each with Monadic Operand ( English ) In: Help from Dyalog APL Version 14.0 . Dyalog Ltd .. Retrieved March 5, 2015.