To cringe when people use accented letters wrongly? (light-hearted)

(61 Posts)
CaptainBinker Sun 13-Oct-13 22:50:32

Aargh, this really does my head in!

I have a couple of friends who are lovely people but have obviously been playing around with their keyboards and have noticed umlauts - they are now spelling their babies' names with them... Using an O with umlaut because it looks like a shocked face and a U because it looks smiley confused

Plus there's others who randomly add acute accents because they think it makes them look more mysterious and sophisticated but haven't got the first idea how to pronounce them. I work as a languages teacher (which probably explains why I'm so annoyed!) and once taught two brothers, one called Shaun and the other called Sean (acute accent on the 'e', can't do it on phone blush ) and didn't realise they were the same name because apparently if it has an accent it must be a foreign mysterious name!

I know I'm being a ridiculous pedant and there's far bigger problems out there but...Aibu to inwardly cringe to myself?

CaptainBinker Sun 13-Oct-13 22:51:40

Oops...I mean the mother of Shaun and Sean didn't realise...

I am obviously way too wound up about this ;)

Caitlin17 Sun 13-Oct-13 23:09:02

My real name has a correctly placed è in it which I can do on a phone but not a lap top. IT at work have set it up on my email signature and letters sign off. I'm always touched by how many people when replying to emails make the effort to add it and it's across the board of age and gender of senders. I wouldn't be at all bothered if they didn't use it.

rachyconks Sun 13-Oct-13 23:20:10

Control+alt+e = é on the laptop. Not sure about è though

rachyconks Sun 13-Oct-13 23:23:04

How do you do umlauts?

elQuintoConyo Sun 13-Oct-13 23:33:55

But what's wrong with Ö and Ü really? Are they any different to smile or :0 in the grand scheme of things?

Yanbu - if it winds you up, it winds you up. However, in this case imvho yabu. I'd understand if someone had named their dc Ötto or Ürsula - that'd be awful, but as smileys?

And I speak as a language teacher, too Ü

cashmiriana Mon 14-Oct-13 00:47:55

The one that has always always made me cross is Zoe with the diacritical mark above the o instead of the e. That makes no sense. Either use it properly or not at all. Thank you.

BillyBanter Mon 14-Oct-13 01:10:24

I'm not sure this thréad is as lighthéarted as you claim.

FannyFifer Mon 14-Oct-13 01:38:16

Seán is the Irish spelling, it has a fada over the á as that's what gives the long sound.

Both my children have Irish names with fadas as they are needed for correct pronunciation.

FannyFifer Mon 14-Oct-13 01:41:31

Just saw she had fada over the è, that makes it sound like Shane so yup different from Shawn.

FannyFifer Mon 14-Oct-13 01:43:52

Sean = pronounced "shan" (i.e old)
Séan = pronounced "shane"
Seán = pronounced "shawn"

sleepywombat Mon 14-Oct-13 01:54:21

Yanbu. I taught a little girl called Cháse, just pronounced Chase.

CanadianJohn Mon 14-Oct-13 06:03:00

I refer to my better half as Belovéd (note accent).

Posh, aren't I ?

CaptainBinker Mon 14-Oct-13 07:34:15

ElQuinto they didn't use them as smileys at the end of a sentence, they replaced the o and u in their names with o and u with umlauts so that it looked cool. Apparently.

So yes, just like the examples in your second paragraph!

And the problem with Sean and Shaun was that firstly the accent wasn't always put in the right place by poor little Sean so mum told him to miss it off (meaning everyone from then onwards naturally pronounced it as "Shaun") but mum herself pronounced it See-ann.

hollyisalovelyname Mon 14-Oct-13 09:25:05

On an iphone hiw do you put an umlut over a letter please?

My middle name is Zoë. I had an aunt who spelt it Zöe so for years I was always confused as to which it was until I was at a point where I understand what the ë did.

Holly- hold down t he letter and then slide to your choice

Mandy2003 Mon 14-Oct-13 09:30:45

Not an accent one but I remembered recently that whe.when I was about 12 I had a friend called "Jewann". At some point I asked him how it was spelled and he said J-U-A-N grin Obviously his parents had never pronounced it correctly!

ImThinkingBoutMyDoorbell Mon 14-Oct-13 09:34:15

CanadianJohn if you were all that posh you'd have noticed that the accent should be pointing the other way... grin

Belovèd rather than belovéd

nennypops Mon 14-Oct-13 09:35:21

Yanbu. I wouldn't be able to read the name without trying to pronounce the words as accented, so I would, for instance, be saying "Toem" (as in Goebbels) and "Oorsoola". And don't the parents realise that their kids will never thank them for it and will ditch the accents as soon as they can?

complexnumber Mon 14-Oct-13 09:38:07


See! Mumsnet auto corrects for me, I would have no idea how to put those double dots over the i.

StormyBrid Mon 14-Oct-13 09:44:20

This is indeed cringeworthy. But I find myself even more annoyed when proper official types can't handle accented letters. Opening a bank account for my daughter, the name on the account must be exactly as it appears on the birth certificate. I had to tell the man in the bank how to get an ë, and then the bank's computer couldn't handle it because it was reading the letter as a blank space. Speaking of her birth certificate, I also had to explain to the registrar how to do accented characters. It's not that hard!

complexnumber Mon 14-Oct-13 09:49:37

Speaking of her birth certificate, I also had to explain to the registrar how to do accented characters. It's not that hard!

How patronising!

It may not be that hard if you are familiar with how to do it.

But if you are not familiar, then it does take someone to show you. It sounds a shame that this poor person had you to show them.

PeppiNephrine Mon 14-Oct-13 09:51:43

Pretty sure the Sean Shaun one is an urban myth. Think about it.

StormyBrid Mon 14-Oct-13 09:55:03

I explained it perfectly politely, don't worry. I just find it peculiar that a registrar didn't know. Surely he'd registered babies with accents in their names before?

Apileofballyhoo Mon 14-Oct-13 09:55:58

I have an accent (Irish name) and something that does irritate me is that on official Irish government documents it is usually left out. I don't really expect other countries to get it right but I am sure if I were French, for example, this wouldn't be the case. Without it, my name is pronounced totally differently. It is as bad as leaving out a letter. Computers in Ireland are set up for English, the majority language obviously (and my language from birth), but it is irritating. I guess Welsh and Scots Gaelic named people run into similar difficulties.

mignonette Mon 14-Oct-13 10:02:37

Yes because we are all born with the knowledge of how to type in accented letters Stormy. Nothing is hard when you know how to do it.

It is not the bank tellers fault if his I.T systems aren't set up to 'handle it.

Viviennemary Mon 14-Oct-13 10:02:54

I think life is complicated enough without people adding accents to names for show.

PeppiNephrine Mon 14-Oct-13 10:03:57

Computers in Ireland are set up for fadas. Look áéóí no difficulties there at all.

complexnumber Mon 14-Oct-13 10:15:57

I just find it peculiar that a registrar didn't know. Surely he'd registered babies with accents in their names before?

You originally stated that you found it annoying rather than peculiar.

And babies with accents in their names are not that common, so maybe it was the first time, or, s/he may have forgotten since the last time.

mignonette Mon 14-Oct-13 10:22:55

W"e all learn something new every day. I didn't know about how to do accents/ Spanish ? on my laptop so I appreciate Rachy's post.

wowfudge Mon 14-Oct-13 10:58:49

Did anyone ever see the episode of Kath & Kim about choosing a baby name and spellings? Hilarious.

CaptainBinker Mon 14-Oct-13 11:59:28

Peppi I taught Sean and Shaun! It was real!

And thank you for telling me how to do an accent on my rant has been productive for once!

So just to get my original point across, my friends' babies have names like Doüg or Jöhn. Obviously I've changed them to keep it anonymous but that's the kind of thing I'm talking about.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Mon 14-Oct-13 13:57:09

Håkarl. Öy. Dvořak. Long press and swipe on a Samsung.

Carry on.

MetellaEstMater Mon 14-Oct-13 14:01:17

Õöôóò. Nēŵ škįłl.

whoneedssleepanyway Mon 14-Oct-13 14:02:48

I know where you are coming from OP.

Some close relatives have a little girl and they spell her name with é at the end (which would be pronounced - "ay", think purée) but they pronouce her name "ee" at the end. When I asked why they had the accent they said it was because they thought it looked better than way when written down.....

Pagwatch Mon 14-Oct-13 14:06:48

My name has an é.

Most people can't pronounce it and never include it when they spell it.
When they ask me to spell my name if I include 'the final e has an accent' they look at me like I'm a twat,if I don't they looked baffled and then add a y

It's really tiresome.

BlackbeltinBS Mon 14-Oct-13 14:09:40

Is that a Chloé, like the designer label? Or I know a ésmee (obviously with a capital, she's not ésmee e cummings). The accent/capital just makes it worse.

elQuintoConyo Mon 14-Oct-13 15:27:48

A-ha, sorry Captain , misread your op blush

So, something along the lines of Spóngebôb Squãrepänts is obviously ridiculous - although funny! I appreciate in real life it'd be bonkers.

Didn't Denise Van Outen add in the 'van' to jazz up her name? Perhaps christening a child Deníse would be trying for the same caché ?

riksti Mon 14-Oct-13 15:36:13

I'm Estonian and Õ Ä Ö and Ü are letters with a completely separate pronunciation from O A and U. It irritates me when these letters are used to make names more exciting in English. Mainly because I automatically try and pronounce them and that's obviously not what was intended. Like Mötley Crüe... I'm sure they'd hate how stupid their name sounds in my head. smile

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 14-Oct-13 15:48:11

Absolutely agree OP. As a fellow linguist, it's not quirky or cool or cute to deliberately misspell a name (which is essentially what this is, each accented letter having a different sound). It's just ignorant.

Mandy - I am however ROFL at 'Jewann' - seriously?! That is hilarious!

Methe Mon 14-Oct-13 15:53:05

Ì döñt ręäłłŷ śëë thē prôbłėm.

(Very easy to do on an ïpäd)

nerdgirl72 Mon 14-Oct-13 16:00:01

I know lots of "Jewanns", spelt Juan. It is a traditional Manx name. Hilarious.

PervCat Mon 14-Oct-13 16:02:21

grrr at " lighthearted"

CaptainBinker Mon 14-Oct-13 16:24:47

Don't get what you mean PervCat

Have you been watching too much daytime tv? smile

(Saw your other thread - totally agree! I'm spending my mat leave watching it and it's totally mind-numbing...)

badtime Mon 14-Oct-13 16:41:35

'Juan' used to be pronounced 'Ju-wan' in English - consider Lord Byron's poem 'Don Juan', where it is usually pronounced 'Ju-wan' (to rhyme with 'true one', as in the text).

Trills Mon 14-Oct-13 16:44:04

Sounds like they are doing the computer equivalent of drawing a little heart above i's or j's.

They are not "using it wrongly" as if they think that's how the word is spelled, they are just having fun with the characters that are available to them.

nerdgirl72 Mon 14-Oct-13 18:11:47

Badtime, I have heard Germaine Greer pronounce Don Juan like that but was not sure of reason, makes sense. Thankyou!

misspontypine Mon 14-Oct-13 18:23:15

I live in a country that uses öäå. My dp's name and tge name of the town we live in both have multiple ä and å (s) in, when my family write to us they just put dots over all tge vowels. It's cute really, at least they are trying!

TallulahBetty Mon 14-Oct-13 18:24:07

Juan as Jewann reminds me of a story that an old teacher told us at school. She taught a little Hugh, pronounced "Huggy" - the parents liked the way it looked but had no clue how to say it grin grin

Mandy2003 Mon 14-Oct-13 18:29:02

That's amazing nerdgirl72 and badtime, I've never met anyone else who's heard of it. My friend was from a Traveller family, it might be a tradition with them too then? But I'm sure Huggy must definitely be an error!

BoundandRebound Mon 14-Oct-13 18:43:49

I don't know how to pronounce the motley Crüe with the accents and want to...


Caitlin17 Mon 14-Oct-13 18:51:38

Esmé, the accent isn't over the first e, that would make no sense. It's like Irené from the Forsyte Saga, although I'm convinced Galsworthy made the name up.

Caitlin17 Mon 14-Oct-13 18:56:02

And "Jewan" is correct for the poem.

My mother told me she came across a "Gisele" prounced with a hard g

riksti Mon 14-Oct-13 19:00:18

Bound - ö is pronounced a bit like the 'e' in 'nerd'. And ü is... The closest I can think of is the French pronunciation of 'u' in déjà vu (not the way you would say the phrase in English).

Sorry, I'm really rubbish at this

Rhienne Tue 15-Oct-13 21:33:36

Haha, Misspontypine, same here!

What gets me is when the airlines can't handle accents when they print tickets, but instead of replacing ö with o, ä with a, they often put oe, or ae instead. Then the person travels to a country where these letters and replacements are unknown, and gets pulled up because their tickets don't match their passport. Happened to my boss a couple of times when we were travelling together.

I refused point-blank to consider any names for my kids with accented characters, or in this case, letters that don't appear in the english alphabet. Too hard in this age of globalisation, or englishisation.

wowfudge Tue 15-Oct-13 23:14:14

Rhienne - the airlines' systems are doing what you do in German if you don't type the accents. But I know what you mean: when their system doesn't recognise accents you often end up with gobbledegook.

I know of twin boys called Daniel and Daneil.

CanadianJohn Wed 16-Oct-13 04:22:30

ImThinkingBoutMyDoorbell you are right (alt+0232 and alt+0233 on my keyboard, easy to make a mistake. blush

PervCat Wed 16-Oct-13 07:43:33

its a debâcle

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