Bravo Reference: Accent Alphabet Compiled by  Sam C. Chan

June 20, 2007

This is a list of most common accents used in popular languages. Compiled for my own reference. It's neither authoritative nor comprehensive.


  • like an open-quotation mark
  • used in French, Italian, Pinyin* (Chinese)
  • often seen on words with an e-consonant-mute e combination, like frre or pice
  • distinguishes French homophones like la and l without changing pronunciation
  • Acute ć

  • like a close-quotation mark
  • used in Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, Italian, Hungarian, Pinyin (Chinese), Polish, Slovak, Spanish
  • in Danish and Spanish, it is used to mark emphasis
  • Circumflex ŵ ŷ

  • like a little roof
  • used in Esperanto, French, Romanian, Slovak, Turkish, Vietnamese, Welsh
  • usually indicates a long vowel sound
  • used for various alternate accents in Esperanto
  • Cedilla ş

  • like a tail, a little squiggle
  • used in Albanian, French, Latvian, Portuguese, Romanian, Turkish
  • indicates a c is pronounced as a soft s, as in Franoise or garon
  • in Turkish, and ş are pronounced ch and sh, respectively
  • Tilde

  • like a wavy line
  • used in Estonian, Portuguese, Spanish
  • is palatalized, as in the English word onion
  • and , common in Portuguese, are nasalized
  • Macron ū

  • a straight horizontal line
  • used in Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Pinyin (Chinese), Polynesian languages (Hawaiian, Maori, Samoan, Tahitian, Tongan), Romaji (Japanese), Sanskrit
  • Breve ă ğ

  • lower quarter of a circle
  • used in Latin, Romanian, Turkish
  • Dot ė ż

  • a dot
  • used in Lithuanian, Polish

    Diaeresis (aka dieresis)

  • 2 horizontal dots, aka umlaut or Zweipunkt in German
  • used in Albanian, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Pinyin (Chinese), Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (rarely), Swedish, Turkish
  • in the Germanic languages, , , and are often transliterated as ae, oe, and ue, respectively
  • the Dutch ligature for ij is sometimes written as
  • known as a trema in romance languages such as French, where it indicates adjacent vowels should be pronounced separately
  • in Spanish appears only after a g as in pingino, which indicates the u is pronounced normally rather than modifying the g
  • Ring ů

  • a ring
  • used in Czech, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish

    *Note: Pin-Yin is not really a language, nor is it a version/dialect of the Chinese language. It is a system for transliterating Chinese (phonetically) into the Latin alphabet. It's the official system of romanization established by the People's Republic of China in 1979. In Mandarin,  pin means to combine and yin means sound.



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