Inverted breve

Inverted breve or arch is a diacritical mark, shaped like the top half of a circle ( ̑ ), that is, like an upside-down breve (˘). It looks similar to the circumflex (ˆ), which has a sharp tip (Â â Ê ê Î î Ô ô Û û), while the inverted breve is rounded: (Ȃ ȃ Ȇ ȇ Ȋ ȋ Ȏ ȏ Ȗ ȗ).

Inverted breve can occur above or below the letter. It is not used in any natural language alphabet,[citation needed] but as a phonetic indicator. It is identical in form to the Ancient Greek circumflex.



The inverted breve above is used in traditional Slavicist notation of Serbo-Croatian phonology to indicate long falling accent. It is placed above the syllable nucleus, which can be one of five vowels (ȃ ȇ ȋ ȏ ȗ) or syllabic ȓ. This use of the inverted breve is derived from the Ancient Greek circumflex, which was preserved in the polytonic orthography of Modern Greek and influenced[clarification needed] early Serbian Cyrillic printing through religious literature. In the early 19th century, it began to be used in both Latin and Cyrillic as a diacritic to mark prosody in the systematic study of the Serbo-Croatian linguistic continuum.

International Phonetic Alphabet

In the International Phonetic Alphabet, an inverted breve below is used to mark a vowel as non-syllabic, i.e. assuming the role of a semivowel. The diacritic thus expands upon the four primary symbols [j, w, ɥ, ɰ] the IPA reserves for semivowels, which correspond to the full vowels [i, u, y, ɯ], respectively. Any vowel is eligible for marking as non-syllabic; a frequent use of the diacritic is in conjunction with the centralised equivalents of the vowels just mentioned: [ɪ̯, ʊ̯, ʏ̯].

The same diacritic is placed under iota (ι̯) to represent the Proto-Indo-European semivowel *y as it relates to Greek grammar; upsilon with an inverted breve (υ̯) is used alongside digamma (ϝ) to represent the Proto-Indo-European semivowel *w.[1]


Inverted breve characters are supported in Unicode and HTML code (decimal numeric character reference).

Name Letter Unicode HTML
Combining Inverted Breve ◌̑ U+0311 ̑
Combining Inverted Breve Below ◌̯ U+032F ̯
Combining Double Inverted Breve ◌͡◌ U+0361 ͡
Combining Double Inverted Breve Below ◌᷼◌ U+1DFC ᷼
Modifier Breve With Inverted Breve U+AB5B ꭛
Latin Capital Letter A With Inverted Breve Ȃ U+0202 Ȃ
Latin Small Letter A With Inverted Breve ȃ U+0203 ȃ
Latin Capital Letter E With Inverted Breve Ȇ U+0206 Ȇ
Latin Small Letter E With Inverted Breve ȇ U+0207 ȇ
Latin Capital Letter I With Inverted Breve Ȋ U+020A Ȋ
Latin Small Letter I With Inverted Breve ȋ U+020B ȋ
Latin Capital Letter O With Inverted Breve Ȏ U+020E Ȏ
Latin Small Letter O With Inverted Breve ȏ U+020F ȏ
Latin Capital Letter R With Inverted Breve Ȓ U+0212 Ȓ
Latin Small Letter R With Inverted Breve ȓ U+0213 ȓ
Latin Capital Letter U With Inverted Breve Ȗ U+0216 Ȗ
Latin Small Letter U With Inverted Breve ȗ U+0217 ȗ

In LaTeX the control \textroundcap{o} with \usepackage{tipa} puts an inverted breve over the letter o.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Herbert Weir Smyth. Greek Grammar. par. 20 a: semivowels.
  2. ^ "LaTeX for Classical Philologists and Indo-Europeanists". Retrieved 2010-09-23.[dead link]