My nephew asked me what the historical origin of the German umlaut (like ü/ä/ö) is.
I have no idea. How can I explain it to him?
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I suppose he wanted to know about the symbols ä, ö, ü. Those developed from writing ue, ae or oe, which then moved to uͤ (e written above a, e, u), and then became further simplified to ü. You'll find other diacritic letters in older writing, like un̄ for und or m̄ in words like zusam̄en to save one m. The reason given to me in school was that it saved paper. Actually, as far as I remember, it was allowed to correct misspelt words like zusamen by adding the macron.