Which English dialects use non-English foreign letters in their alphabets?
Does any English dialect currently include any foreign letters as part of their alphabet? Are any English dialects currently planning to add foreign letters to their alphabet in the future?
For example, under the international treaty known in English as the Portuguese Language Orthographic Agreement of 1990, the official Portuguese alphabet was officially extended by three foreign letters:1
- K: capa, pronounced like “kappa”
- Y: pronounced ípsilon or ipsilão or i greg
- W: pronounced dáblio [think diabolically] (Hmmm, Portuguese speakers certainly do hate W.)
There are many English dialects. For example, I know about the existence of British English and American English, and I guess there are a couple of hundred more English dialects beyond those two alone.
Do any of these English dialects include any foreign letters?
Base I – Do alfabeto e dos nomes próprios estrangeiros e seus derivados: Descreve o alfabeto com a designação usualmente dada a cada letra, introduzindo a letra w e restaurando k e y, proscritas do alfabeto português desde 1911 em Portugal e desde 1943 no Brasil. Mantêm-se, no entanto, as regras fixadas anteriormente que restringem o seu uso às abreviaturas, palavras de origem estrangeira ou seus derivados, assim como unidades de medida de curso internacional (p.ex., kilowatt, citado explicitamente no Acordo).
It will also add three letters (K, W, and Y) to the Portuguese alphabet, making it equal to the ISO basic Latin alphabet.
The usual pattern is that words that are still perceived as foreign retain their original spelling, but if they become a part of the English lexicon, the spelling is modified to a more English-seeming orthography. For instance, Conan Doyle used the spelling cañon at around the beginning of the twentieth century for a word we now spell as canyon. Where the characters are truly uncommon, English has always tended to transliterate into existing symbols.
We have and use diacriticals in English, although they seem to have fallen out of use since the introduction of word processing. One still often sees a diaeresis used in naïve or noël, but one rarely sees coöperate anymore. We also use ligature graphemes like ash (Æ or æ), but the trend has been toward either dropping one of the two ligated letters or setting the letters separately.