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What is that funny letter about?

In the German language, there are special letters called Umlaut. An Umlaut can be understood as a phonetically modified letter. In modern German typography, these letters are spelled with two dots, like ä, ö and ü. An appended e is used when German words and names are transcribed to different languages. This is actually not a workaround but the origin of the dots.

The typography with the dots has its origin in German calligraphy and early printing. As an abbreviation for ae, oe and ue, the e was put on top of the modified letter, resulting in , and . You can find an example of old German printing here. Later, the little e has been replaced with the dots. This might also be related to the fact that the letter e looked like two strokes in some traditional German handwriting styles.

About Me

Happy user of GNU/Linux since 2001. Since that time, I have used SuSE, Gentoo, Ubuntu and Debian.

Working at cnlab security AG. It was established in 1997 and had a role in the distribution of PGP (Video) during the Crypto Wars. You can find our services here.