Our World Versus Theirs

Okay, it’s only Monday, but I’ve already settled on my favorite quote of the week. It comes from an anonymous source within the Romney campaign, as quoted in this morning’s installment of Politico’s Playbook on the news that (SPOILER ALERT) The New Yorker has officially endorsed the president for reelection:

If you spell reelection with an umlaut, odds are your endorsement will go for Obama.

  1. Grendel

    How about writing rehz-oo-may with two é?  We have finally escaped the long dark tyranny of the typewriter!  It was inevitable that some would long for their bondage. 

    Anyway, it is with reëducation, as in camp, that the  Obamacultists become persnickety. 

  2. Kermadec

    It’s actually a diaeresis, not an umlaut.

    Heavy-metal groups use umlauts, the other is for people who talk too much.

  3. Bill Walsh

    Ah, Kermadec, we are kindred spirits. I was just about to explain it’s a diæresis, which indicates the vowels are pronounced separately, rather than an umlaut which indicates the rounded pronunciation of the vowel. Now if I could just figure out how to classify it in “Spın̈al Tap”…

  4. Pseudodionysius
    Kermadec: It’s actually a diaeresis, not an umlaut.

    Heavy-metal groups use umlauts, the other is for people who talk too much. · 23 minutes ago

    Edited 19 minutes ago

    Traveler’s diaeresis sometimes requires prescription medication.

  5. Robert Dammers

    How curious that there should be such a cross-Atlantic distinction?  In the UK, we hyphenate most of these examples, e.g. co-operate, re-educate.  A diaeresis is used more sparingly – Noël Coward was considered eccentric for demanding his (most people can pronounce the name without the guidance of the mark).

    An umlaut is, as has been pointed out, a different beast.  My Father was taught at school* that the marks were a vestigial version of the Gothic Script letter E, and so were used as shorthand for an omitted E.  Thus, Herr Müller’s name can also be written Mueller (and undoubtedly, we could refer to Herr Büller’s Day Off)

    * in Amsterdam in the 1920s – they went from writing in chalk on slates to writing German in Gothic Script using an italic nib on their pens.

  6. Erik Larsen

    Kermadec and Bill Walsh, thanks for this clarification, it will help in my quest to become the best pseudo-intellectual I can be!   :)

  7. Lucy Pevensie

    That correction is just beautiful. Is there a way to comment at the site? I’d love to see, “In other words, if your education is superficial and incorrect but you are pretentious, you are likely to endorse Obama. On the other hand, if you are educated enough to know that it’s not an umlaut, it’s a diaeresis, your endorsement will undoubtedly go for Romney.”

  8. flownover
    Pseudodionysius

    Kermadec: It’s actually a diaeresis, not an umlaut.

    Heavy-metal groups use umlauts, the other is for people who talk too much. · 23 minutes ago

    Edited 19 minutes ago

    Traveler’s diaeresis sometimes requires prescription medication. · 15 minutes ago

    Paruresis restrains me from …ah…commenting. Besides it took the New Yorker 3600 words to say something that all the remaining subscribers know. So who are they addressing ,other than the people in the salon ?

    Did Rik Hertzberg write the piece ? The vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.

    Gosh, I really sort of think that I may miss the New Yorker, maybe…….

  9. Percival
    Pseudodionysius

    Kermadec: It’s actually a diaeresis, not an umlaut.

    Heavy-metal groups use umlauts, the other is for people who talk too much. · 23 minutes ago

    Edited 19 minutes ago

    Traveler’s diaeresis sometimes requires prescription medication. · 25 minutes ago

    Dude, don’t drink the tap water next time.

  10. Stuart Creque

    If Obama wins a second term, how will The New Yorker’s subscribers be able to afford to renew? And if they cannot renew, where will they find any open doctor’s waiting rooms to get their fix?

  11. Umbra Fractus
    Bill Walsh: Ah, Kermadec, we are kindred spirits. I was just about to explain it’s a diæresis, which indicates the vowels are pronounced separately, rather than an umlaut which indicates the rounded pronunciation of the vowel. Now if I could just figure out how to classify it in “Spın̈al Tap”… · 2 hours ago

    Not quite, though I understand the confusion since ü and ö both refer to rounded front vowels. The umlaut indicates that the vowel is fronted, as u and o (in German at least) are already rounded, and ä is not, but it is fronted.

  12. Rhoda at the Door

    Flownover–are you sure the vessel with the pestle hasn’t the pellet that is poison?

  13. Peter Robinson
    C

    Careful, there, Troy.  The great champion of the umlaut in this country was always the Reader’s Digest, a vigorously middle American and conservative publication.  (“Cooperate” in that good publication always had an umlaut over the second “o.”)

  14. danys
    Rhoda at the Door: Flownover–are you sure the vessel with the pestle hasn’t the pellet that is poison? · 2 hours ag

    I think that’s the flagon with the dragon.

  15. Fern

    Wait, Fredösphere is voting for Obama?