How does one Google an accent mark when one doesn’t know it’s name.  Try putting in “little squiggly below a c” and see how far it gets you.  When I began writing yesterday’s post on soupçon, this was exactly the issue I faced.  So what does this mean? According to the O.E.D. it was a mark derived from the letter z used in French, Portuguese, and formerly Spanish.  It is used to soften the c in front of vowels that would often call for a hard sound.

Although the Spanish no longer use it, it seems to be a Spanish word.  It comes from zedilla, as in a little zeda (the letter z).

It is also used in Turkish, but don’t ask me how.


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