Diaeresis facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

The diaeresis (plural: diaereses) is also spelled diæresis or dieresis. It is a diacritical mark: two dots ( ¨ ) put over a letter, usually a vowel.

It is a cousin of the umlaut, in this way:

  • With a diacritic, one vowel is sounded separately from its neighbour. So, in the word zöology, it is pronounced as a long 'o' followed by a short 'o'. Without the diaeresis, it might be pronounced like the word 'zoo'. It is sometimes described as "two vowel sounds occurring in adjacent syllables". It is often used in names where the last vowel is sounded, as in Chloë or Brontë.
  • With an umlaut there is a sound shift, but only one sound.

Diaeresis Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.