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A few days ago I got confused — a not-uncommon state for me — about the distinction between conflate and confound. Apparently my mind had conflated (merged) the two words and I was thus confounded (mixed up). Then yesterday by chance I learned a new word: treva, the obscure diacritical mark placed above a vowel to indicate that it should be pronounced independently from its predecessor, as in naïve or coöperate. A treva is also called a diaeresis — another exotic new-to-me word meaning "separation".

The treva looks identical to the pair of little dots that make a German umlaut. For my whole life I've been conflating those two symbols!

(cf. PhysicsWords (22 Oct 2001), FascinatingWords (2 Dec 2001), LaterDude (14 Oct 2002), ProstrateOrganism (9 Sep 2003), VoicedPostalveolarFricative (27 Sep 2003), RubensesquePassersBy (24 Jul 2004), ...)

TopicLanguage - TopicPersonalHistory - TopicHumor - Datetag20071218

Comment 20 Dec 2007^ at 16:38 UTC

Helpful treva example: Noël. (Pronounced No-el). As HTML-entity, however, it is confounded as "&_euml;", that is an umlaut, which for "e" is nonsense. -- Bo

(correlates: RubensesquePassersBy, 2008-10-08 - Butter and Eggs, PluralOfVirus, ...)