Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

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Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby skeptical scientist » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:34 am UTC

In writing this post, I found that I wanted to write both "naive" and "naïveté" within two sentences of each other, but that seemed terribly wrong. The problem is that "naïve" always strikes me as a bit pretentious (probably it shouldn't, but never mind that), and "naivety", "naivete", and "naiveté" all look wrong. However, the inconsistency between "naive" and "naïveté" would be worse still. Eventually I settled on "naïve" and "naïveté", though I wasn't entirely satisfied with this solution.

Is there a better solution? Is it simply wrong to be bothered by the diaeresis in "naïve"? Is it perfectly acceptable to have the inconsistent spellings side-by-side?

More importantly, can anyone explain to me why I want to write "naive" without the accent, but "naïveté" with them? What the hell is wrong with me, anyways?
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Lazar » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:55 am UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:Is it simply wrong to be bothered by the diaeresis in "naïve"?

Not at all; either way is correct. I prefer "naive" and "naivety" because they seem more assimilated. (Another case that comes to mind is "role": in some older texts you'll see it written as "rôle", but by now pretty much everyone has come down in favor of "role".)

Is it perfectly acceptable to have the inconsistent spellings side-by-side?

Hmm, I think that would be bad style.

More importantly, can anyone explain to me why I want to write "naive" without the accent, but "naïveté" with them? What the hell is wrong with me, anyways?

Your preference for "naïveté" might have to do with how you pronounce it. If you use a more French pronunciation, like /naɪiːv.ˈteɪ/, then I think "naïveté" would seem like the most sensible spelling. But I go for the more assimilated pronunciation /naɪˈiːvɪti/, which seems to work best with the spelling "naivety".
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby skeptical scientist » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:04 am UTC

Lazar wrote:Your preference for "naïveté" might have to do with how you pronounce it. If you use a more French pronunciation, like /naɪiːv.ˈteɪ/, then I think "naïveté" would seem like the most sensible spelling. But I go for the more assimilated pronunciation /naɪˈiːvɪti/, which seems to work best with the spelling "naivety".

Quite right. But as someone who is bothered by the pretentiousness of the ï spelling, but who nevertheless gives the noun version of the word the French pronunciation rather than the Anglicized one, what am I to do?

...at times like these I'm almost tempted to say, "Screw it all!" and use "naiveness". :P
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:01 am UTC

I use the diaresis on both but, provided you're consistent I can't see a proper argument either way.

On a similar note how do you spell fiance(e)? Personally again I'd use the accent but don't know the code for typing it so I haven't here. :oops:
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Bobber » Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:25 pm UTC

Use betrothed and get around the fiance(e/é) issue.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:15 pm UTC

Bobber wrote:Use betrothed and get around the fiance(e/é) issue.

I think it's actually fiance (or fiancé) for the man, and fiancee (or fiancée) for the woman.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:14 pm UTC

Bobber wrote:Use betrothed and get around the fiance(e/é) issue.


To my ears that sounds a bit pompous and archaic, and this from a person who uses the word "methinks" and "thee" in everyday speech, which is strange because in general the words from French are considered more pompous than the Saxon ones because of the Normans.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Velifer » Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:51 pm UTC

But the English alphabet doesn't have accented characters, does it? Words that use those fancy dots and dashes would get italicized because they're still foreign. Unless it's a Shakespearean -éd, drop it! (Especially the heavy metal umlaut.)
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Lazar » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:04 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:But the English alphabet doesn't have accented characters, does it? Words that use those fancy dots and dashes would get italicized because they're still foreign.

There's no basis for you to say that - there are lots of words in English where the common practice is to use an accent but not to italicize, like fiancé or résumé. (In the early twentieth century, texts would often use a non-italic "rôle".) I think the italic treatment is limited to foreign words not yet in widespread use, or whole phrases like je ne sais quoi.

Unless it's a Shakespearean -éd, drop it! (Especially the heavy metal umlaut.)

In my experience, the Shakespearean usage is more often spelled -èd, with a grave accent.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Bobber » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:02 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Bobber wrote:Use betrothed and get around the fiance(e/é) issue.

I think it's actually fiance (or fiancé) for the man, and fiancee (or fiancée) for the woman.
All the more a reason for me to not humiliate myself by consistently fucking up the spelling :P
eSOANEM wrote:
Bobber wrote:Use betrothed and get around the fiance(e/é) issue.


To my ears that sounds a bit pompous and archaic, and this from a person who uses the word "methinks" and "thee" in everyday speech, which is strange because in general the words from French are considered more pompous than the Saxon ones because of the Normans.
I may be more at peace with it due to the common Danish words "[at] betro" and "betroet" ("[to] confide in" and "trusted"), the latter being an adjective.
Last edited by Bobber on Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:25 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby eSOANEM » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:35 pm UTC

Bobber wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:
Bobber wrote:Use betrothed and get around the fiance(e/é) issue.


To my ears that sounds a bit pompous and archaic, and this from a person who uses the word "methinks" and "thee" in everyday speech, which is strange because in general the words from French are considered more pompous than the Saxon ones because of the Normans.
I may be more at peace it due to the common Danish words "[at] betro" and "betroet" ("[to] confide in" and "trusted"), the latter being an adjective.


Quite possible, betrothed, being of Saxon origin would be a lot closer to the Danish than the French fiance.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Velifer » Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:24 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:In the early twentieth century, texts would often use a non-italic "rôle".
In my experience, the Shakespearean usage is more often spelled -èd, with a grave accent.

Other than the tragedies and some bad overacting, I don't find community theater English accents particularly grave.
And lots of things have changed since the early 20th c. First edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, pg.21 is the only place I've seen "a propos," "debris," "levee," "matinee," or "elite" with an accent. Chime in with accusations of recall bias if you'd like. It's not on my US-101 key layout. It's not likely to find its way into my writing.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby tastelikecoke » Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:05 pm UTC

Accentuated letters have no place for naive internet forumites.

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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby eSOANEM » Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:53 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:
Lazar wrote:In the early twentieth century, texts would often use a non-italic "rôle".
In my experience, the Shakespearean usage is more often spelled -èd, with a grave accent.

Other than the tragedies and some bad overacting, I don't find community theater English accents particularly grave.
And lots of things have changed since the early 20th c. First edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, pg.21 is the only place I've seen "a propos," "debris," "levee," "matinee," or "elite" with an accent. Chime in with accusations of recall bias if you'd like. It's not on my US-101 key layout. It's not likely to find its way into my writing.


I'd write matinee with an accent (as I've said earlier I wouldn't type it because it's not on my keyboard layout), and I wouldn't be hugely surprised if I saw an accent on elite, debris or a propos even if I wouldn't write it that way.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri Jun 11, 2010 3:51 pm UTC

I have never seen any of the words in this thread with accents before today except for fiancee and naive.

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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Cecily » Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:30 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:
I'd write matinee with an accent (as I've said earlier I wouldn't type it because it's not on my keyboard layout)


E with an acute accent is easy on any keyboard: AltGr + e = é and AltGR + E = É.

This really useful page shows how to do all common accents on a standard keyboard, and it's all pretty memorable (no ASCII codes): http://www.edu.dudley.gov.uk/ict/software/word/accents.htm

Am I the only person here who writes "café"?
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Jun 12, 2010 12:27 am UTC

Cecily wrote:E with an acute accent is easy on any keyboard: AltGr + e = é and AltGR + E = É.
Only if you have your keyboard set up with AltGr...
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Lazar » Sat Jun 12, 2010 12:30 am UTC

I use the US Extended keyboard on OS X, which lets me type any accented character.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby skeptical scientist » Sat Jun 12, 2010 3:29 am UTC

Lazar wrote:I use the US Extended keyboard on OS X, which lets me type any accented character.

Yeah, macs are great for accents - that's how I did all the accents in the OP.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:30 am UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:More importantly, can anyone explain to me why I want to write "naive" without the accent, but "naïveté" with them? What the hell is wrong with me, anyways?

Fiance - Garner's Modern American Usage gives with the accent, but notes that accents are more often employed in AmE than BrE.

Naive (and the noun naif) are recommended over those with the diaeresis.

Naiveté is given as the AmE standard with naivete, naïveté, naivety, and naiveness to be avoided. He notes the lack of an accent over the i, and an accent over the e, as a "half-Gallicism". For BrE, naivety is recommended (with a slightly different pronunciation. According to him, we emphasize the last syllable in AmE, and the middle sound in BrE).

I think your worries over 'naiveté' are due to the accent on the e making you want to compliment it with the diaeresis. That is, the two styles pulling you in opposite directions.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby skeptical scientist » Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:40 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:I think your worries over 'naiveté' are due to the accent on the e making you want to compliment it with the diaeresis. That is, the two styles pulling you in opposite directions.

Yeah, it seems completely bizarre to me to drop one accent from the French, and keep the other. That's actually the recommended standard version? No wonder I'm so confused.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:55 am UTC

Probably due to the é being much more recognizable than the ï. But it's not the only case in the English language where two conventions are making you want to do opposite things, with things being the way they are just because of custom.

In any case, think I'll happily be sticking with 'naivety'.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Lazar » Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:57 am UTC

I think "résumé" is another word where English speakers might be tempted to use a half-Gallicism: our intuition might tell us that the second e warrants an accent while the first one doesn't.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby eSOANEM » Sat Jun 12, 2010 9:19 am UTC

Lazar wrote:I think "résumé" is another word where English speakers might be tempted to use a half-Gallicism: our intuition might tell us that the second e warrants an accent while the first one doesn't.


I agree with this, I think is because (certainly in my accent) the second is pronounced like the French é whilst the first isn't and so (provided you know how to pronounce an é) it is hard to remember that the first e should have one too.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Joeldi » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:13 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:I agree with this, I think is because (certainly in my accent) the second is pronounced like the French é whilst the first isn't and so (provided you know how to pronounce an é) it is hard to remember that the first e should have one too.


I contest that because we do not prounounce it like the é in café, fiancé etc, then it certainly should not have one. It's an English word once borrowed from French, not a French word that must always be pronounced and written as in French.

The thing is, I love accents and other characters like that, though they are pretty impractical as far as typing goes.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby RabbitWho » Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:11 pm UTC

People are only interested in foreign accents and pronunciations when it's easy for them but difficult for other people.

For example every time I land in Brno the Pilot says "Welcome to Bruno!" and I feel annoyed and superior.

English spelling is already complicated enough without accents. But nooo.. nooo.. let's all just study every single language and the etymology of every single word that English appropriated so that we can pronounce every word perfectly and spell every word as ghoti as we want.

And why is French more important than the others!?

I mean all those French words are just as much English words as French words now. But you don't see people pronouncing the ř in Antonín Dvořák do you? No! Because it's fricking impossible! That's a genuine Czech name and people WILLFULLY pronounce it WRONGLY throwing caution to the wind! They don't even write in the hook above the R. So people say Dih-vor-ak and people who are interested in him say Dih-vor-zhak but you won't hear the ř.

AND ANOTHER THING!

Why can't we change the spellings of appropriated words like pretty much every other language does. I mean if we all started spelling it nigheve in the morning just so it would conform to the same rules as what is it (.. I forget the exact figures but something like... 90% of English spelling is consistent but the 10% left are the most common words.) then in 5 years that would be in the Oxford dictionary and everyone would decide it must be the right way to spell it.


AND ANOTHER THING!

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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:42 am UTC

RabbitWho wrote:AND ANOTHER THING!

*falls asleep*

It's funny, because I thought you were about to say another thing but then you didn't.

RabbitWho wrote:And why is French more important than the others!?

I mean all those French words are just as much English words as French words now. But you don't see people pronouncing the ř in Antonín Dvořák do you? No! Because it's fricking impossible! That's a genuine Czech name and people WILLFULLY pronounce it WRONGLY throwing caution to the wind! They don't even write in the hook above the R. So people say Dih-vor-ak and people who are interested in him say Dih-vor-zhak but you won't hear the ř.

Well, Dvořák is a name, so the comparison is already flawed. We don't pronounce 'Paris' the way the French do, either. But then this extends to most of the Gallicisms too -- we often don't pronounce the loaned words the way the French do. At least the accents flag to the reader an unconventional pronunciation is to be attempted.

RabbitWho wrote:Why can't we change the spellings of appropriated words like pretty much every other language does. I mean if we all started spelling it nigheve in the morning just so it would conform to the same rules as what is it (.. I forget the exact figures but something like... 90% of English spelling is consistent but the 10% left are the most common words.) then in 5 years that would be in the Oxford dictionary and everyone would decide it must be the right way to spell it.

Well, 'nigheve' would likely create further confusion, because it looks like a compound which implies a fleeting time of day -- 'nigh on eve'. But the simple fact is that many people have tried to simplify the lexicon and, in the process, made the language even more of a mess. Any simple rule we try to apply to the language simply won't be taken up universally and will generate more exceptions and inconsistencies.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Cecily » Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:33 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote: We don't pronounce 'Paris' the way the French do, either. But then this extends to most of the Gallicisms too -- we often don't pronounce the loaned words the way the French do.


But we do pronounce "Lyons" the French way. I wonder why we retain some pronunciations and not others? Maybe we should compile a list of imports that retain their pronunciation and those that don't. Perhaps the fact we visit and talk about Paris more than Lyons is a factor?
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby eSOANEM » Wed Jun 16, 2010 7:31 am UTC

Joeldi wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:I agree with this, I think is because (certainly in my accent) the second is pronounced like the French é whilst the first isn't and so (provided you know how to pronounce an é) it is hard to remember that the first e should have one too.


I contest that because we do not prounounce it like the é in café, fiancé etc, then it certainly should not have one. It's an English word once borrowed from French, not a French word that must always be pronounced and written as in French.

The thing is, I love accents and other characters like that, though they are pretty impractical as far as typing goes.


Hmm... It seems I was pronouncing my French é slightly wrong, that said, we pronounce it [eɪ̯] which sounds (to me) reasonably close, (because the first vowel is the same and the second vowel doesn't have a huge effect, certainly closer than the normal ɛ you'd expect.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby RabbitWho » Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:08 pm UTC

It's funny, because I thought you were about to say another thing but then you didn't.


Thanks, that's what I was going for. Unless you were being sarcastic in which case I'd like to know;
a) What I did to deserve it or
b) If you had a bad day and would like a hug

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
Well, Dvořák is a name, so the comparison is already flawed. We don't pronounce 'Paris' the way the French do, either. But then this extends to most of the Gallicisms too -- we often don't pronounce the loaned words the way the French do. At least the accents flag to the reader an unconventional pronunciation is to be attempted.

I did actually point that out, and it doesn't make the comparison flawed. How do you pronounce Mozart? Beethoven?
But if you really feel it's okay to change the pronunciation of names but not words then Robot and Pistol which are also Czech words which we pronounce incorrectly (or "differently" or "Englishly").

Well, 'nigheve' would likely create further confusion, because it looks like a compound which implies a fleeting time of day -- 'nigh on eve'. But the simple fact is that many people have tried to simplify the lexicon and, in the process, made the language even more of a mess. Any simple rule we try to apply to the language simply won't be taken up universally and will generate more exceptions and inconsistencies.


But there already are already unwritten rules.. If there weren't rules you wouldn't get people writing like this:

If der wernt rools you wudnt get peepel typing like dis.

If there weren't unwritten rules than no one would be able to guess the pronunciation of a word. Now of course we often guess wrong, but we mostly guess somewhat correctly. Those rules already exist so why can't we apply them to everything?

I don't think people get confused every time a word looks like it could be a compound of two other things, there are lots of words that look like they could possibly be related to words that they're not related to at all. Also nigheve would never appear in a context where someone who didn't know the meaning of it would think that the meaning "near evening" would fit and guess the meaning incorrectly.

Perhaps the fact we visit and talk about Paris more than Lyons is a factor?


I would say so, in Czech loan words keep their original spelling for a few years, and if they're not very common they keep it forever.
Eventually the common ones are made to conform with the Czech spelling system, I don't think anyone consciously does this I think it just evolves and people let it.
It makes sense that it would work that way, I can't see any reason that English would try to tenaciously grip onto original pronunciations and spellings except for pretension.

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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:56 pm UTC

RabbitWho wrote:I did actually point that out, and it doesn't make the comparison flawed. How do you pronounce Mozart? Beethoven?
But if you really feel it's okay to change the pronunciation of names but not words then Robot and Pistol which are also Czech words which we pronounce incorrectly (or "differently" or "Englishly").

While you did mention it was a name, you failed to indicate it should be treated any differently than the adjective under review, which is a little disingenuous. Still, you've given us robot to discuss (pistol is not conclusively a Czech word, apparently), which is comparable, so better late than never. So why do we take care to say and write French loan words "correctly"? Well, we don't, for most of them, and we no longer even realize they were once French. But some words were copied faithfully because they entered the lexicon at a time when French was quite a powerful language. It seems loan words only get treated with dignity if they come from a language whose power or literature is respected by the new speakers.

RabbitWho wrote:But there already are already unwritten rules.. If there weren't rules you wouldn't get people writing like this:

If der wernt rools you wudnt get peepel typing like dis.

If there weren't unwritten rules than no one would be able to guess the pronunciation of a word. Now of course we often guess wrong, but we mostly guess somewhat correctly. Those rules already exist so why can't we apply them to everything?

That's a funny example of rules, because all you've done is misspell (or possibly respell) some words, but the grammar follows the flow of English perfectly and conforms to its rules. Your point would have been better served if you'd rendered "brick house built" as an example of English done without respect for the rules. Thing is, I never said there weren't rules. But the rules were once inconsistent and arbitrary, and have been made quite a lot worse by attempts at reform. I still maintain your "reform" would do little to improve things for English speakers, but it would be nice if it did.

RabbitWho wrote: I don't think people get confused every time a word looks like it could be a compound of two other things, there are lots of words that look like they could possibly be related to words that they're not related to at all. Also nigheve would never appear in a context where someone who didn't know the meaning of it would think that the meaning "near evening" would fit and guess the meaning incorrectly.

"You are nigheve". I don't know, I still imagine learners would struggle with it. At least 'naive' hints at a new concept, where 'nigheve' implies old concepts stuck together with duct tape. Oh well, whatever.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby RabbitWho » Thu Jun 17, 2010 6:35 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
RabbitWho wrote:I did actually point that out, and it doesn't make the comparison flawed. How do you pronounce Mozart? Beethoven?
But if you really feel it's okay to change the pronunciation of names but not words then Robot and Pistol which are also Czech words which we pronounce incorrectly (or "differently" or "Englishly").

While you did mention it was a name, you failed to indicate it should be treated any differently than the adjective under review, which is a little disingenuous. Still, you've given us robot to discuss (pistol is not conclusively a Czech word, apparently), which is comparable, so better late than never. So why do we take care to say and write French loan words "correctly"? Well, we don't, for most of them, and we no longer even realize they were once French. But some words were copied faithfully because they entered the lexicon at a time when French was quite a powerful language. It seems loan words only get treated with dignity if they come from a language whose power or literature is respected by the new speakers.

That's exactly what I'm saying.( Except that I didn't imply that Czech literature wasn't respected as you did. )
RabbitWho wrote:But there already are already unwritten rules.. If there weren't rules you wouldn't get people writing like this:

If der wernt rools you wudnt get peepel typing like dis.

If there weren't unwritten rules than no one would be able to guess the pronunciation of a word. Now of course we often guess wrong, but we mostly guess somewhat correctly. Those rules already exist so why can't we apply them to everything?

That's a funny example of rules, because all you've done is misspell (or possibly respell) some words, but the grammar follows the flow of English perfectly and conforms to its rules.

I seem to be having problems making myself clear.

R has a way that it is generally pronounced.
So does the double o. Etc. Etc. that's why phrasebooks rite duh wordz of for-in lan-widge-z like dis and do not need IPA.

When I write ghoti you don't think fish because
gh is usually pronounced "gh" and not as it is in cough.
o is usually not pronounced as it is in women
ti is usually not pronounced as it is in nation

When they are around different letters however they're going to change their assumed sound a lot, there are rules for all that as well, it's too late to change all that.

Certain letters and combinations of letters almost always make the same sound. As I said the percentage of English spelling that follows standard rules is huge.

I'm not saying we should go back and change all our old words, but we should at least adopt the new ones into this system.

Your point would have been better served if you'd rendered "brick house built" as an example of English done without respect for the rules. Thing is, I never said there weren't rules. But the rules were once inconsistent and arbitrary, and have been made quite a lot worse by attempts at reform. I still maintain your "reform" would do little to improve things for English speakers, but it would be nice if it did.

The reform would help children, learners of English, dyslexic people, cross lateral people, dysgraphic people (like me) and probably plenty of other groups I haven't thought of. But I get that we're not significant enough to change an entire language. I wud not want peepel to rite like dis. It doesn't need to be over simplified, just consistent.
RabbitWho wrote: I don't think people get confused every time a word looks like it could be a compound of two other things, there are lots of words that look like they could possibly be related to words that they're not related to at all. Also nigheve would never appear in a context where someone who didn't know the meaning of it would think that the meaning "near evening" would fit and guess the meaning incorrectly.

"You are nigheve". I don't know, I still imagine learners would struggle with it. At least 'naive' hints at a new concept, where 'nigheve' implies old concepts stuck together with duct tape. Oh well, whatever.


Well in my experience of teaching English no one is aware of the word "nigh" till they get to C2 level and by that stage almost every word they come across has a counter-intuitive source.
I get a question like this all the time:
"Oh.. this word... X... is that like Y? (but with an extra bit)
"No actually it's more like W, it's just a coincidence that it looks like Y."

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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:27 pm UTC

RabbitWho wrote:I seem to be having problems making myself clear.

R has a way that it is generally pronounced.
So does the double o. Etc. Etc. that's why phrasebooks rite duh wordz of for-in lan-widge-z like dis and do not need IPA.

When I write ghoti you don't think fish because
gh is usually pronounced "gh" and not as it is in cough.
o is usually not pronounced as it is in women
ti is usually not pronounced as it is in nation

When they are around different letters however they're going to change their assumed sound a lot, there are rules for all that as well, it's too late to change all that.

Certain letters and combinations of letters almost always make the same sound. As I said the percentage of English spelling that follows standard rules is huge.

I'm not saying we should go back and change all our old words, but we should at least adopt the new ones into this system.
I still don't understand you. Are you suggesting English spelling should be phonetic? How would that even work, taking regional accents into account? I understand you want to make English simpler, but that is about where you lose me.

In any event, it is custom more than logic that dictates language conventions. When I say English speakers do not respect Czech literature, I mean they voted with their feet when they never bothered to render robotnik dutifully. Not the way anime fans attempt to keep the pronunciation of Japanese loan words, at any rate.

Anyway, the language never will be consistent, no matter what you do. Systems are either incomplete or inconsistent, so the only way English would be consistent would be if we rejected certain words, phrases, and grammar usages from the language. It was tried, and it didn't worked.
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby RabbitWho » Sat Jun 19, 2010 2:21 am UTC

In any event, it is custom more than logic that dictates language conventions. When I say English speakers do not respect Czech literature, I mean they voted with their feet when they never bothered to render robotnik dutifully. Not the way anime fans attempt to keep the pronunciation of Japanese loan words, at any rate.

Robot is the word. Where did you get "nik" from? Sonic the hedgehog? Sometimes someone who makes something gets "nik" added to their name in Czech.
Robot comes from Robota which is a Czech word from the 17 hundreds meaning corvee.. or corvée.

Anyway, the language never will be consistent, no matter what you do. Systems are either incomplete or inconsistent, so the only way English would be consistent would be if we rejected certain words, phrases, and grammar usages from the language. It was tried, and it didn't worked.


You're just saying random things?


Pez Dispens3r wrote:
RabbitWho wrote:I seem to be having problems making myself clear.

R has a way that it is generally pronounced.
So does the double o. Etc. Etc. that's why phrasebooks rite duh wordz of for-in lan-widge-z like dis and do not need IPA.

When I write ghoti you don't think fish because
gh is usually pronounced "gh" and not as it is in cough.
o is usually not pronounced as it is in women
ti is usually not pronounced as it is in nation

When they are around different letters however they're going to change their assumed sound a lot, there are rules for all that as well, it's too late to change all that.

Certain letters and combinations of letters almost always make the same sound. As I said the percentage of English spelling that follows standard rules is huge.

I'm not saying we should go back and change all our old words, but we should at least adopt the new ones into this system.
I still don't understand you. Are you suggesting English spelling should be phonetic? How would that even work, taking regional accents into account? I understand you want to make English simpler, but that is about where you lose me.

I specifically said that that wasn't what I was saying. I even mentioned regional accents.

I can't continue this conversation, I'm sorry. I know it's my fault for not making myself clear and using enough bullet points and charts.

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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby James in Toronto » Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:22 pm UTC

Cecily wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:
I'd write matinee with an accent (as I've said earlier I wouldn't type it because it's not on my keyboard layout)


E with an acute accent is easy on any keyboard: AltGr + e = é and AltGR + E = É.

This really useful page shows how to do all common accents on a standard keyboard, and it's all pretty memorable (no ASCII codes): http://www.edu.dudley.gov.uk/ict/software/word/accents.htm

Am I the only person here who writes "café"?

What I always do for this is Google the word without accents. The first ten results will always include an accented version. It's faster than using the Windows Character Map.

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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby the_stabbage » Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:35 am UTC

Cecily wrote:
eSOANEM wrote:
Am I the only person here who writes "café"?


I write it café too. Unless I'm writing in "Internet Casual", in which case capitals, quotations, and accents get dropped (but not commas - I friggin' love commas).

I also write naïve and résumé. Funny thing is that for the French a résumé is a CV.

Has anyone encountered "coöperate" or "coëxist" recently? I've seen them in older British texts.

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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby BurningLed » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:38 pm UTC

Gotta love those heävy metäl ümlaüts. Though those are correct usage. They've fallen out of favor with even the pretentious crowd though, as the use of the umlaut to separate the pronunciation of pairs of syllables no longer applies in English. (In French though, you've still got proper nouns like Haïti and Aïsha.)
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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:49 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Not the way anime fans attempt to keep the pronunciation of Japanese loan words, at any rate.


I think anime fans tend to remain dutiful to original Japanese pronunciations because, except for the notorious Japanese R and tsu, Japanese and English phonetics are pretty harmonious. And, as far as I'm aware, anime fans don't tend to pronounce their R's and tsu's the correct Japanese way, opting for an English consonantal R and [s] instead.
True, just from reading transliterated Japanese words incorrect readings can happen. That's probably why, even in anime circles, it's often pronounced [ænəme] instead of [anime], the word being most often learned from reading it rather than hearing it.

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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby the_stabbage » Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:42 am UTC

BurningLed wrote:Gotta love those heävy metäl ümlaüts. Though those are correct usage. They've fallen out of favor with even the pretentious crowd though, as the use of the umlaut to separate the pronunciation of pairs of syllables no longer applies in English. (In French though, you've still got proper nouns like Haïti and Aïsha.)


Don't forget that in French you also have "naïve" (and "naïf", the masculine version).

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Re: Accents and style in written English: naive vs. naïve

Postby Grop » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:15 am UTC

Also this is a diaeresis, not an umlaut.


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