Letter â


In some books of the XIX century I encounter letter â, for example:


I cannot find anything about that. The same book in the edition of the XVII century is with just custodia libera.
And this is not a single example.


Could you explain what does it mean and why it was used?

Here is more examples (including ё, also unusual, but this seems the only case there).



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  • bearded

    Senior Member
    Sometimes the circumflex accent (^) is/was used instead of - over the final vowel 'a' in order to mark its length. It indicates that the a is long and therefore the (mostly feminine) noun is in the ablative case according to the Latin declension. The ablative case may have several meanings, and is required after some prepositions (in this case: in). Please mind that in Latin texts such diacritics don't normally appear, and are usually added by grammarians in order to make understanding easier.
    Experts will hopefully provide more precise information.
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    Senior Member
    saluete omnes!

    The 'umlaut' over 'e' in aëre, is not an accent, but a diaeresis, to indicate that the initial 'a' and the second letter 'e' are separate vowels, not a diphthong. This is because aer is a loan-word from Greek, in which the diphthongal equivalent of Latin ae is αι.

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    Senior Member
    saluete de nouo!

    A footnote to my previous post (§ 4): there is a native Latin word, aere, in which ae is a natural diphthong, pronounced more or less as is English 'eye'; this is the ablative singular of aes, aeris, meaning 'bronze'—which has of course nothing to do with the Greek ἀήρ meaning 'air', whence aëre originates.

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