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Evolution from Visigoth to modern Ç.

Ç or ç (c-cedilla) is a Latin script letter, used in the Albanian, Azerbaijani, Manx, Tatar, Turkish, Turkmen, Kurdish, Zazaki, and Romance alphabets. Romance languages that use this letter include Catalan, French, Friulian, Ligurian, Occitan, and Portuguese as a variant of the letter C. It is also occasionally used in Crimean Tatar and in Tajik (when written in the Latin script) to represent the sound. It is often retained in the spelling of loanwords from any of these languages in English, Basque, Dutch, Spanish and other Latin script spelled languages.

It was first used for the sound of the voiceless alveolar affricate in Old Spanish and stems from the Visigothic form of the letter z (?). The phoneme originated in Vulgar Latin from the palatalization of the plosives and in some conditions. Later, /t?s/ changed into in many Romance languages and dialects. Spanish has not used the symbol since an orthographic reform in the 18th century (which replaced ç with the now-devoiced z), but it was adopted for writing other languages.

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, represents the voiceless palatal fricative.

Usage as a letter variant in various languages

In many languages, ⟨ç⟩ represents the "soft" sound where a ⟨c⟩ would normally represent the "hard" sound . These include:

  • Catalan. Known as ce trencada ('broken C') in this language, where it can be used before ⟨a⟩, ⟨o⟩, ⟨u⟩ or at the end of a word. Some examples of words with ⟨ç⟩ are amenaça ('menace'), torçat ('twisted'), xoriço ('chorizo'), forçut ('strong'), dolç ('sweet') and caça ('hunting'). A well-known word with this character is Barça, a common Catalan clipping of Futbol Club Barcelona.
  • French (cé cédille): français ('French'), garçon ('boy'), façade ('frontage'), grinçant ('squeaking'), leçon ('lesson'), reçu ('received' [past participle]). French does not use the character at the end of a word but it can occur at the beginning of a word (e.g., ça, 'that').[1]
  • Occitan (ce cedilha): torçut ('twisted'), çò ('this'), ça que la ('nevertheless'), braç ('arm'), brèç ('cradle'), voraç ('voracious'). It can occur at the beginning of a word.
  • Portuguese (cê-cedilha or cê cedilhado): it is used before ⟨a⟩, ⟨o⟩, ⟨u⟩: taça ('cup'), braço ('arm'), açúcar ('sugar'). Modern Portuguese does not use the character at the beginning or at the end of a word (the nickname for Conceição is São, not Ção). According to a Portuguese grammar written in 1550, the letter ç had the sound of /dz/ around that time. Another grammar written around 1700 would say that the letter ç sounds like /s/, which shows a phonetic evolution that is still valid today.

In other languages, it represents the voiceless postalveolar affricate /t/ (like ⟨ch⟩ in English chalk):

  • Friulian (c cun cedilie) before ⟨a⟩, ⟨o⟩, ⟨u⟩ or at the end of a word.
  • Turkish: çelik ('steel'), çilek ('strawberry'), and çamur ('mud').

In Manx, it is used in the digraph ⟨çh⟩, which also represents , to differentiate it from normal ⟨ch⟩, which represents .

In loanwords only

  • In Basque, ⟨ç⟩ (known as ze hautsia) is used in the loanword curaçao.
  • In Dutch, it can be found in some words from French and Portuguese, such as façade, reçu, Provençaals and Curaçao.
  • In English, ⟨ç⟩ is used in loanwords such as façade and limaçon (although the cedilla mark is often dropped: ⟨facade⟩, ⟨limacon⟩).
  • In modern Spanish it can appear in loanwords, especially in Catalan proper nouns.

Usage as a separate letter in various languages

It represents the voiceless postalveolar affricate in the following languages:

It previously represented a voiceless palatal click in Ju?'hoansi and Naro, though the former has replaced it with ⟨?⟩ and the latter with ⟨tc⟩.

The similarly shaped letter the (? ?) is used in the Cyrillic alphabets of Bashkir and Chuvash to represent and , respectively.

It also represents the retroflex flap in the Rohingya Latin alphabet.


Character Ç ç
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 199 U+00C7 231 U+00E7
UTF-8 195 135 C3 87 195 167 C3 A7
Numeric character reference Ç Ç ç ç
Named character reference Ç ç


On Albanian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish and Italian keyboards, is directly available as a separate key; however, on most other keyboards, including the US and British keyboard, a combination of keys must be used:

See also


  1. ^ The French Academy online dictionary also gives çà and çûdra.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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