Re: Case-folding dotted i

From: Stephan Stiller <>
Date: Sat, 02 Feb 2013 14:51:46 -0800

> The diaeresis potentially contrasts words; it indicates a syllable
> boundary, and prevents hybrids like ‘zoology’, where the vowel of the
> first syllable has been infected by the 'oo'. (For actually
> contrasting words, it’s vary rare - ‘coöp’ v. ‘coop’ is the best I could
> come up with quickly, and the former is normally spelt ‘co-op’.)

This can be done in principle, but spellings like "reëlect" and
"coöperate" can descriptively be regarded as a New Yorker–only quirk,
absent from ordinary writing, even if confine ourselves on the "educated
prose" register.

I regularly see "naïve", but "naive" is just fine, like the other
diaeresis-less variants. Very rarely one encounters "über-", but (as
most people here will know), there it has a different function (and in
German we btw don't call German ¨ a diaeresis or trema but just don't
give it a name, {ä,ö,ü} being regarded as separate letters).

Other English words where inclusion of a foreign accent is somewhat more
frequent (but not "descriptively obligatory", as far as I can tell and
this can be judged) are very rare. Candidates are "fiancé(e)", "façade",
"soupçon"; "café" already a bit less so I'd say. And, they're clearly
all loanwords. Many of these can be regarded as older spellings. Then
there are some (not-that-frequent) foreign words, but they can often be
said to not be part of non-technical, vernacular vocabulary. If a
culinary item has many accents, it's partly because of where it's occurring.

Received on Sat Feb 02 2013 - 16:55:37 CST

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