diacritical marks WAS Re: Word (Phrase?) of the Year (so far)?; Rambo'd (UNCLASSIFIED)

W Brewer brewerwa at GMAIL.COM
Fri Feb 1 04:18:14 UTC 2013

LH:  <<<"Söze".  The question of when the tradition of a following "e" can
be used is a separate one>>>
WB:  In my German class in days of yore (I once more reference mein Lehrer,
Adolf Hoffmann), I probably learned that the German Doppelpunkt was a
manuscript practice, an abbreviation of a Frakturschrift letter <e>, which
was penned (mit einem Feder) sort of like two upright harpoons joined
together, sort of like a pointy lower-case <n>. The Frakturschrift <e> was
moved from behind /a,o, u/, shrunk and placed on top of the vowel.
     Once upon a time, a general editor in Taiwan ordered me to "stop
putting umlauts" on people's vowels; there had been complaints. I replied,
okay, no more umlauts, but the DAIAERESES MUST STAND!" Of course, what he
meant was, stop putting any diacritics whatsoever on manuscripts.
     Alas, I was undoubtedly one of the last PhD candidates at UCLA to
crank out a dissertation on a manual typewriter, with dead keys for accents
and double-dots, tilde, and other civilized goodies I have long forgotten
about. Damn you, Bill Gates.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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