Hello Gene,
and any others interested in linguistics.
Two dots above a vowel do not necessarily meen an umlaut. In French �
meens you don't form a single sound with this e and the preceding vowel,
which is often o. You pronounce one single sound for the oeu - group in
soeur, like the one produced for "burr" in English. But you pronounce
two distinct vowels, an open o and an open e in the word No�l = French
for Christmas.
Joyeux No�l!