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"", or "", is a letter, representing a vowel, in the Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Walloon and Chamorro alphabets. Other alphabets are Greenlandic, Lule Smi, Skolt Smi and South Smi alphabet.

The letter "" is often perceived as an "A" with a ring, interpreting the ring as a diacritic mark. However, the ring is not a diacritic. Rather, the letter developed as a form of semi-ligature of an "A" with a small "a" above it to denote the changed sound value, similar to how the umlaut mark "" is developed from a small "E" written above the letter in question.


Scandinavian languages

The letter in Nordic alphabets represents two sounds, a short and a long.

According to historical linguistics Å-sound has the same origin as the long sound in German Aachen and Haar (Scandinavian hr, English "hair").

The letter has been used in Scandinavian languages since medieval times when the futhark was exchanged for the Latin alphabet and it is remnant of Odal-rune. Although it was abandoned in Danish and Norwegian due to German influence, it was retained in Swedish. The letter was re-introduced in Norwegian in 1917 and in Danish in 1948.

In Danish and Norwegian languages, "Aa" is considered equivalent to "", in as much as "Aa" is the old spelling, and a fully functional transcription for "" when using a foreign typewriter. In surnames, and occasionally in names of geographical places, the old spelling with "Aa" is retained. Correct alphabetisation in Danish and Norwegian places "Aa" along with "" as the last letter in the alphabet.

In the Swedish alphabet, "" is sorted immediately after "Z", as the third letter from the end. (The sequence after "Z" is ", , ".) In the Finnish alphabet, the letter is treated just as in Swedish, but its usage is limited to names of Swedish origin. In Norwegian and Danish, "Z" is followed by the sequence ", , ".

In the Norwegian, Danish and Swedish languages, is even a word all in itself, meaning a rivulet, a stream or a small river, like the rivers Aa, Au and Aue on the European continent. In Norwegian it is also the mark for infinitive; " ta" = "to take".

Walloon writing

was introduced to some local variants of eastern-Walloon dialect at the beginning of the 20th century, initially to note the same sound as in Danish. Its use quickly spread to all the eastern-Walloon dialects, through the cultural influence of the city of Lige, and covered three different sounds, a long open o, a long closed o, or a long a, depending on the local varieties. The use of a single letter to cover those different pronunciations has been embraced by the new pan-Walloon orthography, that systemizes a unique orthography for words that are the same, regardless of the local phonetic variations.

In non-standardized writings outside the Liege area, words containing the letter are written with au, or depending on the pronunciation. For example the word mjhon (house) in standardized orthography is written mjo, mhon, mohone, maujon in dialectal writings.

Symbol for angstrom

The letter "" is also used throughout the world as the international symbol for the non-SI unit angstrom, a physical unit of length named after the Swedish physicist Anders Jonas ngstrm. It is always upper case in this context. Unicode also allows code 8491 (U+212B in hexadecimal) when the letter is used specifically as a symbol for the angstrom, giving the sign Å.

On computers

For computers, when using the ISO 8859-1 or Unicode sets, the codes for "" and "" are respectively 197 and 229, or C5 and E5 in hexadecimal. In HTML character entity references, required in cases where the letter is not available by ordinary coding, the codes are Åand å.

To type "" on Microsoft Windows computers, hold the Alt key and type 197 or 0197 on the numeric keypad. To type "" on Microsoft Windows computers, hold the Alt key and type 229 or 0229 on the keypad.

On computers using the US-International keyboard layout, the can be produced with the right-Alt and the "w" key, and the in the same way with the addition of the "shift" key.

To type "" with an Apple Computer, hold the Option key and the Shift key simultaneously and type the A key. To type "" with an Apple Computer, hold the Option key and type the A key.

See also

External links

Latin alphabet: Aa | Bb | Cc | Dd | Ee | Ff | Gg | Hh | Ii | Jj | Kk | Ll | Mm | Nn | Oo | Pp | Qq | Rr | Ss | Tt | Uu | Vv | Ww | Xx | Yy | Zz
Modified characters:

| | | | | Āā | Ąą | | Ĉĉ | Čč | Ćć | Đđ | Ęę | | Ĝĝ | Ğğ | Ĥĥ | Įį | | İı | Ĵĵ | Łł | | | | Őő | | Ǫǫ | Şş | Șș | Šš | Ŝŝ | Țț | Ŭŭ | | Ųų | Ůů | Űű | Žž

Alphabet extensions: | | DZdz | DŽdž | Əə | Ȝȝ | Ƕƕ | ĸ | LJlj | LLll | NJnj | Ŋŋ | Œœ | Ȣȣ | [[Half r|]] | ſ | | | Ƿƿ | IJij
ca: (lletra)

da: (bogstav) fr: ja: nn: no: (bokstav) fi: sv: wa:


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