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Posted: 10 April 2017 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]
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The New Yorker, always an oddity regarding diacritical marks. or diaeresis vowel pointing (coöperate, reënter) today uses the acute accent point on elite in this article by Jeffrey Toobin. Is this widespread or peculiar to the New Yorker? Wikipedia says the diaeresis in particular is peculiar to publications like the New Yorker.

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Posted: 10 April 2017 05:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The New Yorker is pretty much alone in this, at least among major publications. It uses the diacritical marks as part of their branding, to differentiate themselves from the riff-raff of ordinary publications. Use of diacriticals was more common in the past, but now, the New Yorker excepted, are pretty much limited to foreign terms.

I do note, however, that the entry in the OED is for élite, but it’s an older entry.

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Posted: 11 April 2017 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The New Yorker is pretty much alone in this, at least among major publications. It uses the diacritical marks as part of their branding, to differentiate themselves from the riff-raff of ordinary publications. Use of diacriticals was more common in the past, but now, the New Yorker excepted, are pretty much limited to foreign terms.

This is way too generalized.  It’s true that most publications don’t put the accent on élite (which annoys those of us who know French, and thus see it as naked and shivering without the acute), but they do on émigré (sometimes emigré, but never emigre).  You have to take it on a case-by-case basis; as a copyeditor, I look this stuff up a lot.

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Posted: 11 April 2017 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2011/03/diacritics-just-passe/

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Posted: 12 April 2017 06:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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That’s a very nice piece!

Sometimes a word will retain its accent to preserve the pronunciation thus bestowed or to settle any ambiguity between the imported word and a similarly spelled existing English word. Thus we find maté and mate or the three outwardly similar but completely different words pâté, pâte, and pate. Occasionally we even encounter the same word entering English by two completely different routes, such as rosé and rose or the unexpected souffle and soufflé. Who knew that omitting that final e-acute could put you in hospital!

There is one serious error, though; they say “I wouldn’t want to be [Spın̈al Tap’s] drummer though – one of them spontaneously combusted mid-performance.” Not one but two Spın̈al Tap drummers died from spontaneous human combustion onstage!

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Posted: 12 April 2017 09:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Spinal Tap drummers (from Wikipedia):

John “Stumpy” Pepys (1964–1966) (Portrayed by Ed Begley, Jr. in the video “Gimme Some Money") Died in a bizarre gardening accident that the authorities said was “best left unsolved.”

Eric “Stumpy Joe” Childs (1966–1967) Choked on vomit of unknown origin, perhaps but not necessarily his own, because “you can’t really dust for vomit.”

Peter “James” Bond (1967–1977) (Portrayed by Russ Kunkel whose character was mistakenly credited as the name of the previous drummer) Spontaneously combusted on stage during a jazz-blues or blues-jazz festival on the Isle of Lucy, leaving behind what has been described alternately as a “globule” or a “stain”

Mick Shrimpton (1977–1982) (Portrayed by R. J. “Ric” Parnell) Exploded onstage.

Joe “Mama” Besser (1982) (Portrayed by Fred Asparagus). Claimed he “couldn’t take this 4/4 shit”; according to an MTV interview with Spinal Tap in November 1991, he disappeared along with the equipment during their Japanese tour. He is either dead or playing jazz. The name is a play on that of Joe Besser, who similarly had a short-lived and ill-fitted stint as a member of The Three Stooges.

Richard “Ric” Shrimpton (1982–1999) Allegedly sold his dialysis machine for drugs; presumed dead.

Sammy “Stumpy” Bateman (1999–2001) Died trying to jump over a tank full of sharks while on a tricycle in a freak show.

Scott “Skippy” Scuffleton (2001–2007) Fate unknown.

Chris “Poppa” Cadeau (2007–2008) Eaten by his pet python Cleopatra.

Plus 9 other drummers at various times (Probably between 1970 and 1981) all of whom are dead. Most died peacefully in their sleep.

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Posted: 13 April 2017 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Is Spiñal Tap a typo?

ed. I see it isn’t.

[ Edited: 13 April 2017 05:57 AM by lionello ]
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Posted: 13 April 2017 06:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Coincidentally I saw A Mighty Wind recently. It’s as funny as This Is Spinal Tap.

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Posted: 13 April 2017 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Sometimes a word will retain its accent to preserve the pronunciation thus bestowed or to settle any ambiguity between the imported word and a similarly spelled existing English word. Thus we find maté and mate or the three outwardly similar but completely different words pâté, pâte, and pate.

I’ve been feeling acute confusion since reading the above, in regard to Ilex paraguariensis.
1) How can a word retain its accent when it didn’t have one to retain?
2) Who decided to take the Guaraní/Spanish word mate, pronounced
mah tay, and give it the acute accent?  Why is the last syllable its resting place?
3) How is that supposed to tell an English speaker something about the pronunciation
in English?
4) Is the intended English pronunciation different from that heard in Guaraní, Spanish, or Portuguese?

When I lived in Paraguay and Argentina, yerba mate had no written accent.  I
don’t recall seing one when I crossed over into Portuguese speaking Brazil.
Many of the U.S. websites selling yerba mate use both spellings on the same page.

Does the accent get used in English for the gourd from which one sips mate?  It has the same name and spelling in
the places where mate is routinely consumed.

Some dictionaries offer both the accented and unaccented spellings.  I haven’t yet found one that tells
the origin story of the accented form.

[ Edited: 13 April 2017 07:42 AM by cuchuflete ]
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Posted: 13 April 2017 09:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I had been thinking of posting similar comments about mate. Sticking an accent on the unaccented syllable does seem an odd, illogical, misleading way to distinguish a word. As a consequence, I’ve heard more than one (anglo) person pronounce the word mah-tay.  I would prefer simply to write the word, unaccented, in italics.

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Posted: 13 April 2017 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The OED etymology is a little unclear to me, but it suggests that the accented form (for the gourd-cup, at least), entered English via French, in which it acquired the -é.

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Posted: 13 April 2017 04:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Well, mate is an obvious non-starter in English, and maté seems like a simple enough solution.  It’s not perfect (as has been said, it can lead to the wrong syllable being stressed), but it’s a hell of a lot better than the monosyllable mate.

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Posted: 13 April 2017 11:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Well, there’s no accounting for tastes. But if one’s determined to stick in an accent, why not put it on the syllable where it belongs, and write máte?  This deviates, of course, from Spanish rules of accentuation --- but why shouldn’t it? --- And at least, it doesn’t mislead.

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Posted: 14 April 2017 05:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Because that would not lead to any coherent pronunciation.  English-speakers are used to seeing -é on words; it means something to them.  “Máte” would mean nothing at all.  You are focusing on perfection of reproduction of Spanish phonetics when that is utterly irrelevant to English.

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Posted: 14 April 2017 09:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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languagehat - 14 April 2017 05:49 AM

English-speakers are used to seeing -é on words; it means something to them. 

I don’t disagree, but I really don’t know what -é means to most English speakers. 

If I were not familiar with mate in Spanish, I suppose maté wouldn’t be jarring and confusing.
It would suggest something foreign, but I’d have no idea how to say it.

I stopped in the local grocery store this morning.  To my pleasant surprise, they had three brands of mate,
all labelled in English.  Better yet, there was no sign of an accent on any of the packages.  Perhaps the leading Yerba is deemed adequate to tell folks that it’s foreign.

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Posted: 14 April 2017 03:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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lionello - 13 April 2017 11:32 PM

And at least, it doesn’t mislead.

It may not mislead but the problem is that it doesn’t inform. As lh says, it’s a symbol that would be meaningless to an English-speaker and be productive of nothing but puzzlement.

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