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In other alphabetic systems, diacritical marks may perform other functions.
Vowel pointing systems, namely the Arabic harakat ( ), which, respectively, mark abbreviations or acronyms, and Greek diacritical marks, which showed that letters of the alphabet were being used as numerals.
The shape of the diacritic developed from initially resembling today's acute accent to a long flourish by the 15th century.
With the advent of Roman type it was reduced to the round dot we have today.
In the Wali language of Ghana, for example, an apostrophe indicates a change of vowel quality, but occurs at the beginning of the word, as in the dialects ’Bulengee and ’Dolimi.
Because of vowel harmony, all vowels in a word are affected, so the scope of the diacritic is the entire word.
The tilde, dot, comma, titlo, apostrophe, bar, and colon are sometimes diacritical marks, but also have other uses.
The main use of diacritical marks in the Latin script is to change the sound-values of the letters to which they are added.
Modern computer technology was developed mostly in English-speaking countries, so data formats, keyboard layouts, etc.
were developed with a bias favoring English, a language with an alphabet without diacritical marks.
Also, aa, when used as an alternative spelling to å, is sorted as such.
Other letters modified by diacritics are treated as variants of the underlying letter, with the exception that ü is frequently sorted as y.