Tolles Umlaut-Special von Berlin Typography mit jeder Menge Pics alphabetisierter Ausdrücke von laugewandelten Vokalen. Bislang erschienen: Ähttps://berlintypography.wordpress.com/2018/08/22/umlauts-of-berlin-part-2-a/
The word Umlaut does not refer to the two dots above a letter – that particular diacritic is known as a diaeresis – but rather to a linguistic process by which a vowel sound is lengthened or modified so that it comes closer to the sound of a different vowel. The process has been a part of spoken German for centuries and it has been necessary to represent those distinctive sounds in writing.
The simplest way of denoting that a vowel has been modified is to place an ‘e’ immediately afterward: thus, ‘a’ represents the standard sound, while ‘ae’ is the umlauted version. The extra ‘e’, however, functions more as an accent than a vowel unto itself, and in handwritten German it was not uncommon to use a smaller superscript ‘e’ – sometimes placed directly on top of the modified vowel – rather than wasting valuable space with an extra letter. [...]
Unlike the A and O, which taper upwards at the top leaving room to fit dots around the side of the letter, the U is more of a pedestal, reaching its full width at the top. It is a perfect place for an umlaut to perch, but when a word needs to fit within a confined space, it is not uncommon for the height of the U to be lowered, so that the dots can make up the remaining space.
Although it appears at the beginning of the alphabet, the A-umlaut is, in some ways, the neglected middle child of the umlaut family. It is neither as common as the Ö nor as iconic as the Ü; yet without it there would be no Tannhäuser and no Matthäus-Passion, no Universitäten and far fewer Spielplätze. There might be less Ärger and Umstände … but there would also be a distinct lack of Aufklärung.
Perhaps most importantly, there would be no bread. The A-umlaut is an integral fixture of Berlin’s many Bäckerei signs, and it is in this context that they often reach their greatest heights of formal invention.