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Why does English no longer employ accent and/or pronunciation marks?

While reading the word, "cooperation," it occurred that one seldom sees "co-operation" or "coöperation, thereby implying that both Os are pronounced the same. It seems odd to me.
 
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The oldest citation in the OED (1398) is spelled cooperacyon, so I'm not sure what that tells us. The Latin is cooperātiō.
 
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Geoff, I have wondered that as well. This site has some interesting answers. First, they remind us that we do have some accents, such as in naïve. Also, we have often changed a circumflex with the letter s. I was less convinced by the answer that said French and Spanish need special characters because they spell words exactly how they sound, whereas English doesn't.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
This site


This site says that when borrowing a word from French with a circumflex accent, we replace the circumflex with <s>, as in "ancestor" from "ancêtre".
That's not right. The English words have <s> because we borrowed them from earlier forms of French. We borrowed "ancestor" from Old French "ancestre". Then French lost the <s> and replaced it with a circumflex.
 
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None of this makes it clear that the two Os in "cooperation" are not pronounced the same. One just has to know, it seems. Otherwise, "cooperation" would be barrel making. (Cooper being a barrel maker)

BTW, doesn't "hostel" demonstrate the earlier spelling?

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quote:
Originally posted by Geoff:
None of this makes it clear that the two Os in "cooperation" are not pronounced the same. One just has to know, it seems.


You could say that for a lot of English spelling.

quote:
hostel - hotel


"hostel" was borrowed from an earlier French form with <s>, and "hotel" was borrowed from a later French form without <s>.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by goofy:


You could say that for a lot of English spelling.
It seems Webster didn't go far enuph! Wink

quote:
hostel - hotel
Precisely. Since much of English since that pesky Guillaume le Conquérant's time has been French, I'll blame them! But then French wasn't a unified language ab initio, so maybe it's just the nature of languages in general?
 
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quote:
This site says that when borrowing a word from French with a circumflex accent, we replace the circumflex with <s>, as in "ancestor" from "ancêtre".
That's not right. The English words have <s> because we borrowed them from earlier forms of French. We borrowed "ancestor" from Old French "ancestre". Then French lost the <s> and replaced it with a circumflex.
Thanks, goofy. I did not have a lot of faith in that site, as I had said, except of course that we do have some accents.
 
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