6

I was reading the Wikipedia page for vietnamese phonology and in the vowel chart, it says "/iə̯/ ⟨ia~iê⟩ /ɨə̯/ ⟨ưa~ươ⟩ /uə̯/ ⟨ua~uô⟩. What do the tildes mean?

0

1 Answer 1

6

A tilde generally indicates alternation or variation: "all of these options are possible and acceptable". In angle brackets, it indicates variation in spelling. So, ⟨ưa⟩ and ⟨ươ⟩ are both possible spellings of /ɨə̯/.

4
  • Isn't that what a comma represents? Aug 26, 2023 at 0:33
  • 1
    @Flagsiscool — Note that your question wasn't about a comma. A zillion other symbols can represent the idea of “or”, like three or two dots, or a slash, or whatever, but a tilde ~ does really represent that idea, too. Please, don't blame us, it wasn't we who wrote that Wiki article.
    – Yellow Sky
    Aug 26, 2023 at 1:38
  • If a comma is used inside slashes or square brackets, as in [x, y], it means "[x] and [y] separately", whereas "[x~y]" means "varies between [x] and [y]".
    – Nardog
    Aug 26, 2023 at 6:05
  • @Nardog Do you have a reference for that? Couldn't spot it at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Pronunciation or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:IPA but it sounds like the kind of thing that ought to be mentioned in one of those? Aug 30, 2023 at 18:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.