Thursday, April 14, 2011

Word Derivation #2- what's that funny æ thing?

Æ, or æ, is an original Latin diphthong, which refers to two adjacent vowels in a word that are part of the same syllable, otherwise known as a gliding vowel. In english it is called 'ash' and is often replaced by 'ae' which, although incorrect for words originating from other languages where this is a letter, is generally accepted.

You may have seen this letter in words like archæology, hæmatology, encyclopædia, etc. So if you see the letters 'a' and 'e' beside each other where it seems like the 'a' isn't doing much, remember that it's actually representing æ, or ash.

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