A caron ( ˇ ) or haček (from Czech: háček), is a diacritic. This is a special symbol that is written over some letters to show that they are pronounced differently. Some other names for the caron are: wedge, inverted circumflex, and inverted hat.
The caron is used in Baltic, Slavic and Finno-Lappic languages to show that a letter is pronounced differently than normal. Sometimes the caron is drawn over a letter to show that it used to be pronounced differently. Usually the caron shows:
- palatalization, a softer pronunciation
- iotation, a y sound before a vowel
- postalveolar consonant, letter sounds made with the tongue touching the back of the alveolar ridge in the mouth
The caron looks like an upside-down circumflex ( ˆ ). It looks a lot like the breve symbol, but is more pointed at the bottom. It is also used as a symbol in mathematics.