Let’s röck

19 Apr

Here at the Tribune, it’s a rule that we try to put accents on foreign words wherever possible, and make a particular effort with foreign names. And the style guide asks that those efforts should stretch even to bands:

“Try to include diacritical marks if bands use them in their name, no matter how absurd: Maxïmo Park, Mötley Crüe, Motörhead, etc”

This causes a bit of a problem, as you might imagine, when it comes to Queensrÿche. WordPress can manage it, but not every font or character set will let you put a diaeresis over a y. Perhaps it’s just as well that the Pacific Northwest music scene isn’t the global news phenomenon it used to be.

And however big your expert set is, you’ve got no chance with this one, from Wikipedia’s compendious entry on the subject:

“American sleaze metal band Dethkorpz, whose logo properly features an umlaut half over the h, half over the k, and a backwards s”

The heavy-metal umlaut is of course one of the few diacritical marks that makes no difference to the sound of the vowel it modifies. It’s quite fun to imagine what would happen if it worked like a conventional umlaut: MOERtley CrOER. MotOERhead. But then, as my colleague Phil points out: how on earth would you pronounce Queensrÿche?

4 Responses to “Let’s röck”

  1. Theophylact April 20, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    And, of course, “This Is Spın̈al Tap“, with the heavy-metal umlaut over the “n” and the dotless “i”.

    • edlatham April 20, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

      Oh, of course! How could I forget? “Spinyya”… “Spiynuial”… No, I give up

  2. Garrett Wollman April 21, 2013 at 3:49 am #

    There is at least one European language which has that character (y with two dots over), but I can’t remember which one its, or whether they use it for dieresis, umlaut, or something else. Note that in Scandinavian and Finnic languages, these are not “o with an accent” etc. but separate letters of their alphabets.

    • edlatham April 21, 2013 at 8:42 am #

      Aha – is it Dutch? Wikipedia says: “The form ÿ is common in Dutch handwriting and also occasionally used in printed text – but is a form of the digraph ‘ij’ rather than a modification of the letter ‘y’.

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