A cedilla is a little thing that looks like a small '5', generally found lurking under letter C's in French newspapers etc. Look, here's one now: Ç. That was ascii char. 199. It is used to show that the c is pronounced softly - as in face, rather than hard, as in cucumber - when it normally would be pronounced hard, e.g. façade.

The small curve (a "little zed") under a C in French, Portuguese, and Catalan to indicate that it has the value S: when followed by A, O, or U. It formerly also had this function in Spanish, as in Sancho Pança, now written Sancho Panza.

In Turkish and Albanian under C it denotes the sound CH as in 'church'.

In Turkish and Romanian under S it denotes the sound SH as in 'ship'. The native name of Bucharest is Bucuresti with s-cedilla.

In Romanian under T it denotes the sound TS. The name Vlad Tepes, Vlad the Impaler or Dracula, contains both cedilla'd letters, so is pronounced TSEPESH.

In Latvian it is used under K G L N to indicate palatal sounds, that is roughly KY GY LY NY. It was also formerly used under R in this way.

Ce*dil"la (?), n. [Sp. cedilla, cf. F. c'edille; dim. of zeta, the Gr. name of the letter z, because this letter was formerly written after the c, to give it the sound of s.]

A mark placed under the letter c [thus, ss], to show that it is to be sounded like s, as in fassade.

 

© Webster 1913.

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