AskDefine | Define breve

Dictionary Definition

breve n : a diacritical mark (u-curved) placed over a vowel to indicate a short sound

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From brevis, short

Pronunciation

  • /bɹiːv/

Noun

  1. : A semicircular diacritical mark placed above a vowel, with the bowl of the mark opening upward.
  2. : A whole note.

Translations

semicircular diacritical mark
  • Japanese: (tan'on kigō)
whole note

Related terms

Italian

Adjective

  1. brief, short

Synonyms

Antonyms

Portuguese

Adjective

breve

Synonyms

Antonyms

Related terms

Spanish

Adjective

  1. brief, short

Synonyms

Antonyms

Related terms

Extensive Definition

A breve (Latin brevis "short, brief") is a diacritical mark ˘, shaped like the bottom half of a circle. It looks similar to caron (a.k.a. wedge or háček), but the caron has a sharp tip, whilst the breve is rounded. Compare Ǎ ǎ Ě ě Ǐ ǐ Ǒ ǒ Ǔ ǔ (caron) with Ă ă Ĕ ĕ Ĭ ĭ Ŏ ŏ Ŭ ŭ (breve).

Length

The breve sign indicates a short vowel, as opposed to the macron ¯ which indicates long vowels, in academic transcription. It is often used this way in dictionaries and textbooks of Latin, Ancient Greek and some other languages, such as Tuareg. (However, there is a frequent convention of indicating only – but all – the long vowels: it is then understood that a vowel with no macron is short.)
In the Cyrillic alphabet, a breve is used for Й (a semivowel I). In Belarusian, it is used for both the Cyrillic Ў (semivowel U) and in the Latin (Łacinka) Ŭ. Ў was also used in Cyrillic Uzbek under the Soviet Union. In the Chuvash a breve is used for Cyrillic letters (A-breve) and (Ye-breve).
In Esperanto it is used above the U to form a non-syllabic U, similar to English W in sound.

Other uses

In other languages, it is used for other purposes.
  • In Romanian it is used above the A to represent the schwa (ə) vowel, as in măr (apple).
  • G-breve appears in the Azerbaijani, Tatar, and Turkish alphabets. In Turkish, Ğ/ğ lengthens the preceding vowel. It is thus placed between two vowels and is silent in standard Turkish, but may be pronounced as /g/ in some regional dialects or varieties closer to Ottoman Turkish.
  • Interlingua has no diacritical marks, so the breve appears only in an occasional loanword.
  • The McCune-Reischauer Romanization of the Korean hangul script uses breves, not carons, over o and u to indicate the vowels ㅓ (ŏ) and ㅡ (ŭ).
Note that Pinyin uses the caron, not the breve, to indicate the third tone of Mandarin Chinese.

Encoding breves

Unicode and HTML numeric entities for breve letters

Notes

See also

breve in Catalan: Breu
breve in German: Breve (Zeichen)
breve in Spanish: Breve (signo diacrítico)
breve in French: Brève
breve in Italian: Breve (diacritica)
breve in Dutch: Breve
breve in Japanese: ブレーヴェ
breve in Norwegian: Breve
breve in Portuguese: Breve (diacrítico)
breve in Romanian: Breve
breve in Russian: Кратка
breve in Swedish: Brevis
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