Diacritics accent acute( ´ ) double acute( ˝ ) grave( ` ) double grave( ̏ ) breve( ˘ ) inverted breve( ̑ ) caron / háček( ˇ ) cedilla / cédille( ¸ ) circumflex / vokáň( ˆ ) dot( · ) hook / dấu hỏi( ̉ ) horn / dấu móc( ̛ ) macron( ¯ ) ogonek / nosinė( ˛ ) ring / kroužek( ˚, ˳ ) rough breathing / dasia( ῾ ) smooth breathing / psili( ᾿ ) diaeresis (diaeresis/umlaut)( ¨ ) Marks sometimes used as diacritics apostrophe( ’ ) bar( | ) colon( : ) comma( , ) hyphen( ˗ ) tilde( ~ ) titlo( ҃ ) Diacritical marks in other scripts Arabic diacritics Gurmukhi diacritics Hebrew diacritics Indic diacritics anusvara( ं ং ം ) chandrabindu( ँ ఁ ) nukta( ़ ) virama( ् ് ్ ් ್ ) IPA diacritics Japanese diacritics dakuten( ﾞ ) handakuten( ﾟ ) Khmer diacritics Syriac diacritics Thai diacritics Related Punctuation marks
Ā ā Ǟ ǟ Ǡ ǡ Ǣ ǣ Ḇ ḇ C̄ c̄ Ḏ ḏ Ē ē Ḕ ḕ Ḗ ḗ Ḡ ḡ H̱ ẖ Ī ī Ḵ ḵ Ḻ ḻ Ḹ ḹ M̄ m̄ Ṉ ṉ N̄ n̄ Ō ō Ṓ ṓ Ṑ ṑ Ȫ ȫ Ǭ ǭ Ȭ ȭ Ȱ ȱ R̄ r̄ Ṟ ṟ Ṝ ṝ Ṯ ṯ Ū ū Ǖ ǖ Ṻ ṻ Ȳ ȳ Ẕ ẕ
A macron, from the Greek μακρόν (makrón), meaning "long", is a diacritic placed above a vowel (and, more rarely, under or above a consonant). It was originally used to mark a long or heavy syllable in Greco-Roman metrics, but now marks a long vowel. In the International Phonetic Alphabet the macron is used to indicate mid tone; the sign for a long vowel is a modified triangular colon ⟨ː⟩.
The opposite is the breve ⟨˘⟩, which marks a short or light syllable or a short vowel.
In Greco-Roman metrics and in the description of the metrics of other literatures, the macron was introduced and is still widely used to mark a long (i.e., heavy) syllable. Even the best and relatively recent classical Greek and Latin dictionaries are still only concerned with indicating the length (i.e., weight) of syllables; that is why most still do not indicate the length of vowels in syllables that are otherwise metrically determined. Though many textbooks about ancient Rome and Greece employ the macron, it was not actually used at that time.
The following languages or transliteration systems use the macron to mark long vowels:
- Slavicists use the macron to indicate a non-tonic long vowel, or a non-tonic syllabic liquid, such as on l, lj, m, n, nj, and r. Languages with this feature include standard and jargon varieties of Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian, Slovene, Bulgarian.
- Transcriptions of Arabic typically use macrons to indicate long vowels — ا (alif when pronounced /aː/), و (waw, when pronounced /uː/), and ي (ya', when pronounced /iː/). Thus the Arabic word ثلاثة (three) is transliterated ṯalāṯah.
- Some modern dictionaries of classical Greek and Latin, where the macron is sometimes used in conjunction with the breve. However, many such dictionaries still have ambiguities in their treatment and distinction of long vowels or heavy syllables.
- In romanization of Greek, the letters η (eta) and ω (omega) are transliterated, respectively, as ē and ō. This corresponds to vowel length, by contrast with the short vowels ε (epsilon) and ο (omicron), which are transliterated as plain e and o.
- The Hepburn romanization system of Japanese, for example, kōtsū (交通) "traffic" as opposed to kotsu (骨) "bone" or "knack"
- Latvian. "Ā", "ē", "ī", "ū" are separate letters that sort in alphabetical order immediately after "a", "e", "i", "u" respectively. Ō was also used in Latvian, but it was discarded as of 1957.
- Lithuanian. "Ū" is a separate letter but given the same position in collation as the unaccented "u". It marks a long vowel; other long vowels are indicated with an ogonek (which used to indicate nasalization, but no longer does): "ą", "ę", "į", "ų", "o" being always long in Lithuanian except for some recent loanwords. For the long counterpart of "i", "y" is used.
- Samogitian. "Ā", "ē", "ī", "ū", "ō" are separate letters that sort in alphabetical order immediately after "a", "e", "i", "u", "o" respectively.
- Transcriptions of Nahuatl (spoken in Mexico). Since Nahuatl (Nāhuatl) (Aztecs' language) did not have a writing system, when Spanish conquistadors arrived, they wrote the language in their own alphabet without distinguishing long vowels. Over a century later, in 1645, Horacio Carochi defined macrons to mark long vowels ā, ē, ī and ō, and short vowels with grave (`) accents. This is rare nowadays since many people write Nahuatl without any orthographic sign and with the letters "k", "s" and "w", not present in the original alphabet.
- Modern transcriptions of Old English.
- Latin transliteration of Pali and Sanskrit.
- Polynesian languages:
- Hawaiian. The macron is called kahakō, and it indicates vowel length, which changes meaning and the placement of stress.
- Māori. Early writing in Māori did not distinguish vowel length. Some, notably Professor Bruce Biggs, have advocated that double vowels be written to mark long vowel sounds (e.g., Maaori), but he was more concerned that they be marked at all than with the method. The Māori Language Commission (Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori) advocates that macrons be used to designate long vowels. The use of the macron is widespread in modern Māori, although sometimes the trema mark is used instead (e.g. "Mäori" instead of "Māori") if the macron is not available for technical reasons . The Māori words for macron are pōtae ("hat") or tohutō.
- Tongan. Called the toloi, its usage is similar to that in Māori, including its substitution by a trema.
The following languages or alphabets use the macron to mark tones:
- In the International Phonetic Alphabet, a macron over a vowel indicates a mid-level tone.
- In Pinyin, the official Romanization of Mandarin Chinese, macrons over a, e, i, o, u, ü (ā, ē, ī, ō, ū, ǖ) indicate the high level tone of Mandarin Chinese. The alternative to the macron is the number 1 after the syllable, e.g. tā = ta1.
- Similarly, the Cantonese Yale Romanization uses the macron to represent the high level tone, as in yāt gāan chāan tēng.
Sometimes the macron marks an omitted n or m, like the tilde:
- In Old English texts a macron above a letter indicates the omission of an m or n that would normally follow that letter.
- In older handwriting such as the German Kurrentschrift, the macron over an a-e-i-o-u or ä-ö-ü stood for an n, or over an m or an n meant that the letter was doubled. This continued into print in English in the sixteenth century. Over a u at the end of a word, the macron indicated um as a form of scribal abbreviation.
The macron is used in the orthography of a number of vernacular languages of the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, particularly those which were first transcribed by Anglican missionaries. The macron has no unique value, and is simply used to distinguish between two different phonemes. Thus, in several languages of the Banks Islands, including Mwotlap, the simple m stands for /m/, but an m with a macron (m̄) is a labial-velar nasal /ŋ͡mʷ/; while the simple n stands for the common alveolar nasal /n/, an n with macron (n̄) represents the velar nasal /ŋ/; the vowel ē stands for a (short) higher /ɪ/ by contrast with plain e /ɛ/; likewise ō /ʊ/ contrasts with plain o /ɔ/. In Kokota, ḡ is used for the velar stop /ɡ/, but g without macron is the voiced velar fricative /ɣ/.
- In some German handwriting, a macron is used to distinguish u from n or instead of the umlaut.
- In some Finnish and Swedish comic books that are hand-lettered, or in handwriting, the macron is used instead of ä or ö, sometimes known colloquially as a "lazy man's umlaut".
- In Russian handwriting, as well as in some others based on the Cyrillic script (for example, Ukrainian), a lowercase Т looks like a lowercase m, and a macron is often used to distinguish it from Ш, which looks like a lowercase w. Some writers also underline the letter ш to reduce ambiguity further.
- In modernized Hepburn romanization of Japanese, an n with macron represents a syllabic n.
In medical prescriptions and other handwritten notes, macrons mean:
- over a, before, abbreviating Latin ante
- over c, with, abbreviating Latin cum
- over p, after, abbreviating Latin post
- over q, every, abbreviating Latin quisque (and its inflected forms)
- over s, without, abbreviating Latin sine
- over x, except
Math and science
The overline is a typographical symbol similar to the macron, used in a number of ways in mathematics and science.
In music, the tenuto marking resembles the macron.
description character Unicode HTML macron
U+0304 ̄ ◌¯
U+02C9 ˉ macron
U+0331 ̱ ◌ˍ
U+02CD ˍ additional
Latin — Ā
dot above Ǡ
dot below Ḹ
Cyrillic — Ӣ
Greek — Ᾱ
In LaTeX a macron is created with the command "\=", for example: M\=aori for Māori.
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy ZzLetters using macron sign ( ◌̄ ) Āā Ēē Ḡḡ Ī ī Ōō Ūū Ȳȳ ǢǣRelated
- ^ P.G.W. Glare (ed.), Oxford Latin Dictionary (Oxford at the Clarendon Press 1990), p. xxiii: Vowel quantities. Normally only long vowels in a metrically indeterminate position are marked.
- ^ Годечкият Говор от Михаил Виденов,Издателство на българската академия на науките,София, 1978, p. 19: ...характерни за всички селища от годечкия говор....Подобни случай са характерни и за книжовния език-Ст.Стойков, Увод във фонетиката на българския език , стр. 151.. (Russian)
- ^ Yearbook of the Academy Council - 2000, Royal Society of New Zealand
- ^ François, Alexandre (2005), "A typological overview of Mwotlap, an Oceanic language of Vanuatu", Linguistic Typology 9 (1): 115–146, doi:10.1515/lity.2005.9.1.115
- ^ Palmer, Bill. A grammar of the Kokota language, Santa Isabel, Solomon Islands. PhD dissertation.
- Diacritics Project — All you need to design a font with correct accents
- He Kupu o te Rā Information about typing macrons, macron support in email packages, and TXTing macrons.
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