I mentioned in a recent blog post how the circumflex in French is frequently used to indicate the historical presence of the letter s in a word where it was lost, and I just wanted to elaborate on that. Right around the time of the Norman Conquest, the s sound began to disappear before consonants in the middle of words, which caused the vowels before them to lengthen. People needed some way to notate this change, so the circumflex was introduced by the Académie Française in 1740. Here are some instances of this:
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.