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“Whereäs” as an alternative spelling of “whereas”

I've got an impression that there is (or was) a rule in English:

If you have a rarely used word with two vowel letters in a row, corresponding to two vowel sounds in a row (as opposed to a diphthong or single vowel sound marked by two letters), you have to mark a second vowel with a trema.

For example: coöperation.

As rarely used word gets more popular and recognizable, trema is dropped from the spelling. In contemporary English cooperation is spelled without it.

Is there an authoritative source on this rule?

I guess, any linguistics work would do, Wikipedia would not. Something that I can cite and not be laughed at.

  • @Robusto: no, because I'm specifically asking about the authoritative source for this rule. The question thread you've linked to does not contain the answer to my question. Mar 19, 2011 at 13:30
  • 3
    see english.stackexchange.com/questions/462/… regarding “authoritative” answers
    – F'x
    Mar 19, 2011 at 13:54
  • 2
    and also, the question linked to by Robusto contains links to styleguides, which are the references for this issue
    – F'x
    Mar 19, 2011 at 13:54
  • 2
    Because this question is a duplicate of the other question. To notice that a question is generally considered a duplicate if the answer to another question answers it too.
    – apaderno
    Mar 19, 2011 at 14:16

1 Answer 1

  • Cooperation is not a borrowed word (which are more usually called loanwords).
  • In loanwords, diaereses are just preserved as in the original language.
  • In word formed as “prefix + word”, where the pronunciation might be unclear, some rare styleguides insist on adding a trema to make the pronunciation clear.

There is much more information about this here.

  • Right, thank you. But I'm asking for authoritative source for the rule — either in form that I gave above, or in "prefix+word" form, or whatever else. Something that I can cite. :-) Mar 19, 2011 at 13:36
  • I disagree with F'x as for cooperation not being a loanword. Merriam-Webster defines a loanword "a word taken from another language and at least partly naturalized." Therefore, cooperation, which comes from Late Latin cooperatio-onis and was brought into English in late 15th century, from Middle French coopération, is a loanword indeed, because it does not belong to the Anglo-Saxon bedrock of English. May 3, 2012 at 21:18

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