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caron

English translation: (printers' terminology?)

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06:00 Jan 24, 2004
Czech to English translations [Non-PRO]
Linguistics / linguistics
Czech term or phrase: caron
On the internet I often find the word caron as name for a diacritical sign I used to know only under the name hacek. But on some sites caron seems to mean even "any diacritical sign". My questions are the following. (1) Is caron originally a czech word? (2) If not, from which language does it originate (could you also give me the etymology)? (3) Is it used in other languages as well? (4) What does it exactly mean? Is its meaning the same as hacek, is it broader, is it something completely different? Could you give me some examples of the usage? (5) How is the word pronounced? Is it karon, tsaron or tsyaron (and, in the last case, is there supposed to be a hacek on the c with which the word caron starts)? Many thanks in advance.
Gert Haverkate
English translation:(printers' terminology?)
Explanation:
According to Wikipedia the term is used as an alternative to "hacek" in the discussion of Baltic and Slavic (i.e. where transliterated) orthographies. (1st ref)
But even a phonologist like Wells who (presumably) has good knowledge of relevant sources has been unable to fathom the origins of "caron". (2nd ref)
My personal guess, after seeing the most common contexts, would be that (a) it's most likely printers' terminology, like the measurement of font sizes in "points", or the term "breve" for the hacek's rounded cousin in Romanian, and (b) it's probably not Czech or even Slavic, thus nothing to do with magic. ;)
I'd rather guess for French (or maybe Spanish) origin, like a number of other printers' terms, used (and useful) whenever you want to discuss the hacek without actually (having the means of) using it in print. (Can't really write "hacek" properly without a hacek... :) )
Selected response from:

Robert M Maier
Local time: 21:06
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +2caron does not seem to have anything to do with Czech
Pavel Machač
4Perhaps no-one knowsDylan Edwards
2 +2(printers' terminology?)
Robert M Maier


  

Answers


4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
caron does not seem to have anything to do with Czech


Explanation:
I can't tell you the ethymology, however I have some experience with this word, maybe it will help you. The other day I was working with an American client, who asked if this sign "hacek" was a breve or a caron. It certainly wasn't a breve, but we couldn't find any definitoin for word "caron", so it was hard to tell. I am used to use word "wedge" for this sign. After some time client finally decided that this hacek (a wedge let's say) was a caron. As for pronunciation, I would say the "c" at the begining should be pronuonced as "k" in word "key". Hope it helps

Pavel Machač
Czech Republic
Local time: 21:06
Native speaker of: Native in CzechCzech

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  GeorgeH
1 hr

agree  srubkova
1 day1 hr
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +2
(printers' terminology?)


Explanation:
According to Wikipedia the term is used as an alternative to "hacek" in the discussion of Baltic and Slavic (i.e. where transliterated) orthographies. (1st ref)
But even a phonologist like Wells who (presumably) has good knowledge of relevant sources has been unable to fathom the origins of "caron". (2nd ref)
My personal guess, after seeing the most common contexts, would be that (a) it's most likely printers' terminology, like the measurement of font sizes in "points", or the term "breve" for the hacek's rounded cousin in Romanian, and (b) it's probably not Czech or even Slavic, thus nothing to do with magic. ;)
I'd rather guess for French (or maybe Spanish) origin, like a number of other printers' terms, used (and useful) whenever you want to discuss the hacek without actually (having the means of) using it in print. (Can't really write "hacek" properly without a hacek... :) )


    Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caron
    Reference: http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/dia/diacritics-revised....
Robert M Maier
Local time: 21:06
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jonathan Spector: well done!
1 hr

agree  GeorgeH
1 hr
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7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Perhaps no-one knows


Explanation:
Perhaps the only thing that's certain is that it isn't a Czech word, and it's pronounced with a hard c as "karon".

My first thought was that maybe the word is of French or Italian origin.

It's vaguely similar to the French "carreau" meaning "small square" or (on playing cards) "diamond". The word has passed into various languages in the sense of "diamond(s)" (in card games) and "check" (as in "checked pattern"), for instance Czech has the word karo (long a) in both these senses.

"Caron" is also vaguely similar to the word for "crown" in various languages, but again, there's no convincing link.

So perhaps the origin suggested in my reference is as convincing as any: a made-up word for a CARet which sits ON a letter. (Caret, by the way, turns out to be Latin for "it is lacking", i.e. it's a printer's sign to show something is missing).

Perhaps someone who knows more about the history of printing will be able to suggest a more convincing origin. I can only confirm that the word is not used in Czech for the accent in question, because to the Czechs it's a hacek, a little hook.


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Note added at 2004-01-24 13:34:48 (GMT)
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People have obviously been puzzling over this word:
\"The most mysterious term is \"caron\" for the hacek accent: this word seems to exist only in ISO standards, and nobody has any idea where it came from.\"
........
\"The most plausible suggestion I\'ve ever come up with is folk-etymological: It\'s a CARet that sits ON the vowel.\"


    Reference: http://www.mail-archive.com/unicode@unicode.org/msg21036.htm...
Dylan Edwards
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:06
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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