Laocoön [diaeresis mark]


Senior Member
Reading the last part of Dickens' novel "A Christmas Carol" I stumbled on "Laocoön". My query concerns the spelling with the letter "ö". Was it in use at Dickens' time or is there an other explanation?

Thank you.
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    It is a still-standard way of designating that the pronunciation is /leɪˈɒkɵ.ɒn/ However, many people completely omit such diacritical marks these days , so it it fading. It is intended to prevent people from pronouncing it to rhyme with cocoon!

    It's a diaeresis
    Examples from English are the diaeresis in naïve and Noël, which show that the vowel with the diaeresis mark is pronounced separately from the preceding vowel;


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, naïve and Noël are partly as a result of how they are spelt in French. You might occasionally find them in words not directly derived from French; some American publications still use it in words like coöperation as a way of indicating that the two vowels are pronounced separately, but I don't think this is mainstream any more.

    There is more discussion of this here:

    Use of dieresis
    Last edited:
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