April 27th, 2012 / 7:56 pm

The New Yorker‘s diaeresis tic bothers some people.  It’s the double-dot thing they put in words like “coöperate” to tell you to pronounce both syllables.  It’s also “the single thing that readers of the letter-writing variety complain about most.”  As I read this piece about it, I kept waiting for Mary Norris to announce that they’d finally decided to change their style.  But apparently the diaeresis lives on.  What do you think, is the diaeresis annoying or endearing?  (I like it.)  Diaeresis.


  1. mimi

      i don’t like the word ‘diaeresis’  

      it is totally intimidating  

      especially on a friday night  

      at the end of a long week  

      but that’s just me  

  2. postitbreakup

      yeah i don’t wanna think about diarrheses until monday morning when i have to

  3. postitbreakup

      diaereses: diarrhea of the special characters menu you stumbled onto in word & now want to use as revenge for the editor rejecting your idea to dot all the i’s with little hearts

  4. Shannon

      I’ve never seen that word before and I’m currently intrigued about it. I’ve always called that punctuation an umlaut. When used with Germanic words I am pro umlaut. If it’s not a German or Germanic word..screw that diaereses. 

  5. Brooks Sterritt

      I like the symbol and its obsolescence (and the vowel-heavy word). “Die heiresses” is a nice mnemonic.

  6. deadgod

      vacuum the continuum

  7. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I like that! I’ve always wanted to bring back use of “whence”. DID YOU KNOW whence means “from where” so that saying “from whence” is redundant??

  8. mimi

      Whence did you learn this?

  9. Trey

      longtime htmlgiant readers may have learned this from a david foster wallace grammar quiz: http://htmlgiant.com/craft-notes/grammar-challenge/

      which you might be interested in if you’re interested in words like whence and stuff. or maybe not. just trying to be neighborly.

  10. Frank Tas, the Raptor

       Whence-ster’s Dictionary!

  11. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Thanks, neighbor! I’ll give it a look-see.

  12. Eric Beeson

      I like diacritic marks. They make English look foreign. Naïve. Coöperation. Façade.
      And they make for good names. Chloë. Noël. The Brontës.

      Also, curious: Are there any other modern IE languages besides English that have basically eliminated diacritics?

  13. leapsloth14

      I like the word, Diaeresis.

  14. alex crowley

      we should have more diacritic marks in English, they’re great

  15. postitbreakup


  16. Richard Grayson

      Microsoft Word automatically adds it when you type “naive.”