What is up with those funny two-letter combo letters?

You know, like “AE” all stuck together (as in Encyclopaedia Britannica) and the French “oe” in the word “soeur”. I actually don’t really care about the “oe” because it rarely affects me, but that “AE”… what IS it? How is one supposed to pronounce it? Why use it? How can you make it come up on the keyboard?

I know how to make the Æ pretty easily, but I am not sure what it is for. Here is a list of the double-letters that are accessible on the standard 104key Windows keyboard…
Æ = Alt + 0198

They’re called ligatures.

oops…didn’t mean to press Submit…:slight_smile:

to continue

[li]Æ = Alt+0198[/li][li]æ = Alt+0230[/li][li]Œ = Alt+0140[/li][/ul]

All of these keystrokes must be done while the Alt key is held down, and the numbres need to be pressed on the NUMBERPAD, not the top row

All I really know is that those are latin letters. Iam not sure about pronunciation or usage in modern English.

sorry about the doubl-submit

Without Æ we couldn’t write the name of the Tool song, Ænima.

Here’s something regarding the pronunciation bit:

Given that, check out this definition from dictionary.com:

So what the heck are all those examples after “ae”? “ffllig”??? Is this one of those things they add to a dictionary so they can copyright it?

Æ æ

Nifty, I can do it! I have nothing to add, really…Hi, Jeffie! :wink:

Or, of course, the masterpiece album that it’s on, Ænima.

The “AE” letter is called “æsh” and is pronounced ‘ash’. It was found in Anglo-Saxon (old English), is found in some Northern European languages (Icelandic comes to mind), and is frequently used in Latin. It was pronounced in A-S like either a short ‘a’ or short ‘e’, depending on the word.

The song is “Ænema”, the album is Ænima.

According to Wheelock’s Latin, AE is pronounced like the “ye” of “bye.” Hence “Caesar” is pronounced the same as “Kaiser.”


Ahh…the “dreaded” Wheelock. I was ticked off when I missed a translation exercise early on in that book. I translated the Latin sentence into English like it said to (imagine that!). Problem was, Wheelock translated it into German: Mein Kampf How was I supposed to know? My Latin teacher hated him.

smack fu –

i hope i’m understanding your question right, but those “fflig” examples are ligatures as well.

Let’s quickly explain how this works.

If you have the combination “fi” on most typefaces (especially serifed ones) the tip of the “f” will run into the dot of the “i.” So many serifed typefaces include ligatures for this letter combination. In a ligatured versions, the ball that hangs from the tip of the “f” will act as the dot of the “i.”

In the other examples, an “ff” will sometimes be ligatured and printed as a single character, with one cross bar and the tip of the first “f” not hanging down, but seamless running into the next “f”

“fl” is another example in which the tip of the “f” just drops down into the “l.” And “ffl” and the such as in words like “baffling” are combination of the above ligatures.

These are not really made to be fancy or cute. They’re there to improve legibility. In the days of setting type by hand, they were routinely used, and every good font set would include the standard ligatures like “fi” and “ff.” Your Quark Xpress also has these ligatures built in, and I believe most decent electronic font sets have them. Pay attention to the type around you, and I’m sure you will see examples of these ligatures.

And that is quite valid for Latin, where the Greek AIGYPTOS became the Latin AEGYPTUS, ligatured to ÆGYPTUS, and continued appearing in (at least British) English as Ægypt well into this century.

As noted by Dijon Warlock, however, the æsh was used in several Northern European langauges–including older English–to indicate the short a (or short e in some dialects).

The most frequent appearance of the æsh, today, would tend to be in borrowings from Latinized Greek where English is generally dropping the “a” from the combination, leaving a long “e” sound, (Ægypt–Egypt, encyclopædia–>encyclopedia), or, occasionally, leaving the “a”, but eliminating the ligature, and having a long “e”, short “i”, or even a schwa sound, (Aeolian, Aegean).

The Anglo-Saxon æsh generally became the simple short “a” quite a while ago, although we have kept æsh for both the name of the symbol and the pronunciation of the symbol.

OK, duh. So pulykamell, you’re saying that a [ffllig] is just a ffl ligature. That the “lig” part just represents “ligature”. So shouldn’t it also be aelig for consistency? :slight_smile: