Monday, October 23, 2006

Marché Strikes Again

Maybe it only interested me because my oft-used middle name has a tiny slash of its own (and because I'm easily ticked when the slash doesn't appear in my byline). But a recent AP item says that with growing Hispanic readerships, newspapers are mulling over whether or not to use accent marks in print.

At issue are questions of accuracy and technical capability. Sands, however, asks why the article's author chose to refer to accents as "squiggly lines."

"Ethnocentrism," he speculates. But I contend that readers wouldn't recognize the names of the little lines anyway.

...which is why I created the following reference list as a starting point:


tilde: the little "squiggly line" found over the letter n in some Spanish words ("See you mañana.")

grave: the itty-bitty slash that goes <-- this way (et c'est très adorable)

acute: the itty-bitty slash that goes --> that way (as in Marché, of course!)

circumflex: the tiny tent on top of vowels (it looks like this: ô ...since I don't know any words that use it)

cedilla: the hook under the letter c in some French words ("Excusez-moi, garçon!")

umlaut or diaeresis: the double dots above vowels (my favorite use appears in the word über)*

(*The double dots actually serve a double function -- as an umlaut, they adjust the sound of the vowel; as a diaeresis, they seperate one vowel sound from another, as in naïve.)


I know, Marcus. I'm a geek. But you forgot your umlaut.

Posted by Veronica Marché at 12:46 AM | link

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