Here's some more info on a possible origin.
>Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 13:52:38 -0400 (EDT)
>From: Barbara Beeton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>i don't think we're going to get anything much better than this.
>this recollection predates 1984 by a *long* time.
>cheers. -- bb
>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 13:44:19 -0700
>From: Frank Romano
>To: Barbara Beeton <email@example.com>
>Subject: Re: origin of the term "caron"
>Back at the old Mergenthaler Linotype Company in Broooklyn, NY every glyph
>had a name and a number--which related to millions of punches used to make
>matrices. These glyphs were recorded in giant books in the center of the
>order department with a duplicate set in matrix manufacturing. The Slovak
>diacritic was called a "caron" and no derivation was ever recorded.
>Here is some information I uncovered doing a cursory search of the
>The caron (palatalization mark, "softmaker") indicates that a consonant is
>soft. If no caron is present, the vowel is hard. The letters "d", "t",
>"n", and "l", however, are made implictly soft if followed by an i or an
>e. However, there are a few exceptions to the implicit softness, such as
>in the words "teraz" and "teda". And also in the words of foreign origin
>(e.g. "demokratick*") this rule does not apply. Apart from this exception,
>the Slovak orthography follows the principle "Write as you hear (it)".
>Note that while every Slovak vowel can be either long or short, not all
>Slovak consonants have a soft counterpart. (In some cases the Slovak caron
>can be demonstrated as analogy of "h" in English: Slovak s+caron is equal
>to English s+h and c+caron is equal English c+h. In various European
>languages also the letters Z, Y, J were/are used instead of caron.) The
>consonant "l" exists also in the soft form, but especially in the position
>preceding "i" or "e" (where caron should be omitted) it is pronounced soft
>only by a few speakers nowadays and sounds archaic. In other positions it
>should be pronounced soft (although many west Slovakia speakers do not
>speak that way), being still a standard pronunciation used also on TV and
>radio. Carons associated with certain lower case letters ("d", "t" and
>"l") look often more like apostrophes (than like carons) in typed/printed
>text (for typographical reasons).
>Carrin is a variation of the French occupational name Charron, from Old
>French charron = cart, and described the man who made carts. It is also
>derived from Caron, which was a given name among the Gauls from the
>element car = to love. Both versions developed variations that include
>Carron, Caron, Charron, Charon. Charrondier, Charrandier are cart maker
>Caron (wedge): Combining an acute accent and a grave, or turning a
>circumflex upside down, yields the diacritic known variously as a caron, a
>wedge, or a hacek. It is familiar to linguists and Slavists. Hacek is
>Czech for 'little hook?
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