Persons Who Need Persons

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Thu Jul 22 23:49:34 UTC 1999

At 04:02 PM 7/22/99 -0700, Andrea Vine wrote:
>When writing English words borrowed from other languages that are written
>the Latin alphabet plus diacritics, do you write the accent?  For example, if
>you write the word "café" do you write the acute accent mark?  This includes
>handwriting as well as typing.  Other words used to "illustrate" this p.a.'s
>point were "façade" and "résumé".
>I and other self-confident
>maintained that Americans in general do not write accents, don't learn how to
>write the accents, don't learn to spell the words with accents, and in some
>cases think writing the accents is a bit pretentious.
>What do y'all think? )

For me, it depends on how recent or "foreign" the borrowing is (or seems to
be, since a lot of this is perception and not necessarily fact).  I never
use an accent with "cafe" but do with "resume," especially when I'm
referring to a specific one (sorry, I don't know how to do it on the
computer!).  "Facade" is somewhere in between.  It also depends on how
formal or scholarly the piece of writing is; I don't think pretentiousness
is the issue.  In fact, it seems to me British English follows the same
rule of thumb: old borrowings are completely anglicized, both in
pronunciation and in spelling (except for -our?); newer ones are betwixt
and between.

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