from Sunday, May17th of the year2009.
Sometimes I don’t really understand what the Times is up to. They have some weird style sheet that allows this article to get away with pretentiously rendering Astérix and Obélix in that fashion, and then this article to get away with spelling names like Björk and Ã“lÃ¶f without any diacritix at all (Olof?). This is particularly annoying because é in French is, literally, the same thing as e just with an acute accent on him. Ã“, and Ã–, in Icelandic, are totally different letters, with Ã– being at the far end of their Alphabet:
a Ã¡ b d Ã° e é f g h i Ã j k l m n o ó p r s t u ú v x y Ã½ Ã¾ Ã¦ Ã¶
Anyway. It’s just weird to me. Talking about “Astérix” in the newspaper seems a Bit Much if you can’t spell Ice-ish people’s names with the letters to which they Ð¯ accustomed.
May 17th, 2009 at 1:08 pm
I love it best when you talk about music. Language is a close second. Your life is third. Food is a distant fourth.
May 17th, 2009 at 2:49 pm
I like when he talks about food. I’m sick of people who rail against bourgeois sensibilities in music and art and then go eat Kraft dinners.
Nico, you need a lifestyle magazine, like Oprah (‘N’?), except the clothes all have uneven hems and the recipes all call for whalemeat.
May 17th, 2009 at 6:41 pm
So many people don’t understand how simple it is to add a language to their computer settings, putain de merde.
May 17th, 2009 at 7:22 pm
Oh God please write about something meaningful.
May 17th, 2009 at 9:15 pm
I like how you write.
David can go autofellate.
May 18th, 2009 at 9:24 pm
I feel like they are just inconsistent. Search for “Arvo Part” on the Times website and see it come up both ways over the years.
Or “MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e,” for that matter.
May 19th, 2009 at 8:53 am
I was in the bookstore today, so I picked up the New York Times Manual of Style to see if there was a sensible explanation for the apparent inconsistency.
Their guidelines dictate that accents (and presumably other diacritics) are used only for words that are either French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, or German.
It specifically says not to use them for Scandinavian or Slavic languages, as their use is less familiar to most American writers, editors, and readers and the marks would be “prone to error.”
May 19th, 2009 at 11:22 am
It’s probably more dependent on the individual writer. If they leave out diacritics/non-basic Latin characters or include them, the editor may not really notice. Names in Icelandic are also a restricted set of words such that a native speaker of Icelandic (while bothered by lack of orthographic correctness) would at least know what was going on, unless there are Ã“lÃ¶fs and Ã–lÃ³fs.
And, luckily, Icelandic uses a Latin-based alphabet. Rendering Russian names in a Latin transliteration is mostly inconsistent without using ‘special’ characters like Å¡. I’ve seen Ð¡ÐµÑ€Ð³ÐµÐ¹ written “Serge”, “Sergei” and “Serguei”, and then Ð© is rendered as shch, sch, and sh (despite that Ð¨ ‘sh’ and Ð© ‘shch’ are two separate sounds in Russian).
At least they still know who they’re talking about, right? 😉
May 20th, 2009 at 8:09 am
Reich was in “Newsweek”, and now you’re in there, too. Must be part of that “rebranding effort”. There aren’t as many articles about Hugh Jackman or Sanjaya as there once were.
May 20th, 2009 at 5:06 pm
I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for pictures of AstÃªrix and ObÂ¥lix.
May 20th, 2009 at 6:01 pm
Very cool entry, I agree.
May 20th, 2009 at 11:28 pm
I just don’t understand the concept of rehashing a Goscinny & Uderzo creation.
As to the usage of diacritics, consider this perhaps, someone typing on a laptop? As callous and dismissive as it sounds… I too am crippled by the absence of a number pad.
So I cannot just do alt + 0232 and get my aigu (wait… is that aigu or grave…?)
I too must type Bjork. But actually, a few weeks ago, my friend and I have settled on a “poor man’s BjÃ¶rk” … Bj:ork. To save face and at least prove that there is some form of linguistic dignity left in this world.
May 21st, 2009 at 12:52 am
Oh, cool, you’re doing shows at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. It has a nice decayed ambience, like a miniature Brooklyn Academy of Music. I love the venue — I saw Ron Vawter do his Roy Cohn/Jack Smith piece there, and Saturdays at midnight there’s the world’s best open mic, Balls.
My Minneapolis off-beat tourist destination suggestion: The Bakken: A Library and Museum of Electricity in Life.
May 21st, 2009 at 6:39 pm
“David can go autofellate.” Charming. Nico, evidently this is your audience. Knock yourself out. Enjoy it; be grateful you have enough famous friends to get you noticed.
May 22nd, 2009 at 12:57 am
David: I think your argument is refuted by the reality that people do, in fact, listen to his music, which makes how it got noticed pretty obsolete.
May 22nd, 2009 at 1:53 pm
Yay, PJ Doland is on the ball. But isn’t this policy kind of obsolete now that, as Reb points out, computers make it extremely easy to check and correct your special Hungarian characters?
May 22nd, 2009 at 2:17 pm
I’ll agree that their style guidelines seem stupid, but, the ease of copying and pasting a name accurately doesn’t solve the problem of readability.
Should we render Japanese names in ideographs just because unicode can handle it? And should Russian names be written in cyrillic, even though most readers wouldn’t have the foggiest idea how to pronounce them?
You have to draw a line somewhere.
May 24th, 2009 at 8:55 am
Carah: love the attempt to save linguistic dignity. Liner Notes Danny, I would SO subscribe to a Nico lifestyle magazine. How utterly f:a:b!
May 25th, 2009 at 10:51 am
Killian: I think SOMEONE has to. English is under the impression that it can truncate and bastardize other languages for the sake of convenience. It’s absurd, and takes too many liberties as a lingua franca.
As Nico addressed in the above post, though, this developing internet ebonics of “azz” etc., can also be seen in other languages. In French, expressions are truncated as well. I’ve seen “c’est” becoming “ce” and “je suis” becoming “j’suis” and so on. Perhaps in English it is more shocking because vulgar words are being bastardized further? I’ve really no idea. But I think languages should at least stick to screwing themselves up, rather than take the liberty to screw other languages up.
May 25th, 2009 at 10:51 am
Oh, by above post, I mean the one after this one. Sorry for any confusion.
June 16th, 2009 at 12:04 am
Ahh! The beatings Scandinavian languages take when published in English-speaking newspapers! This past summer I wrote a cross letter to The Economist when they flagrantly violated all rules of Finnish vowel harmony and common sense more than twice in one issue:
In your most recent issue (August 2-8), you made two separate allusions to Finnish sportsmen — Eero MÃ¤ntyranta and Kimi RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen. In both cases you misspelled their names, leaving out what are in Finnish crucial diacritic marks over the vowels. In the same issue however, you accurately referred to Hugo ChÃ¡vez, Germaine de StaÃ«l, and among others, Société Général (which even does away with the accents in its official logo). In the future please take into account the linguistic requirements of less spoken languages such as Finnish, if only to keep those who are familiar with them from cringing. Names in the alphabetically challenging Turkish and Serbo-Croatian languages also deserve to be spelled properly, as they share the Latin alphabet (albeit with quite a few adjustments).
It never got published, and I never did hear back from them…