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In other alphabetic systems, diacritical marks may perform other functions.
Some diacritical marks, such as the acute ( ´ ) and grave ( ` ), are often called accents.The shape of the diacritic developed from initially resembling today's acute accent to a long flourish by the 15th century.With the advent of Roman type it was reduced to the round dot we have today.Also, aa, when used as an alternative spelling to å, is sorted as such.Other letters modified by diacritics are treated as variants of the underlying letter, with the exception that ü is frequently sorted as y.In the Hanyu Pinyin official romanization system for Chinese, diacritics are used to mark the tones of the syllables in which the marked vowels occur.
In orthography and collation, a letter modified by a diacritic may be treated either as a new, distinct letter or as a letter–diacritic combination.
Such a key is sometimes referred to as a dead key, as it produces no output of its own but modifies the output of the key pressed after it.
In modern Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems, the keyboard layouts US International and UK International feature dead keys that allow one to type Latin letters with the acute, grave, circumflex, diæresis, tilde, and cedilla found in Western European languages (specifically, those combinations found in the ISO Latin-1 character set) directly: ¨ e gives ë, ~ o gives õ, etc.
It first appeared in the 11th century in the sequence ii (as in ingeníí), then spread to i adjacent to m, n, u, and finally to all lowercase i's.
The j, originally a variant of i, inherited the tittle.
But the accented vowels á, é, í, ó, ú are not separated from the unaccented vowels a, e, i, o, u, as the acute accent in Spanish only modifies stress within the word or denotes a distinction between homonyms, and does not modify the sound of a letter.