I’ve gone my whole life without knowing what a diaeresis is
Most of us know about umlauts (mainly because there was one over almost every word of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
But did you know about diaeresis? I just found out that the umlaut that The New Yorker uses IS NOT AT UMLAUT! It is a diaeresis (pronounced die heiresses) which is two dots put over a word to help you pronounce the second syllable correctly. (As opposed to the umlaut, which changes how a vowel is pronounced)
Here’s how they explained it. Take a word that like “cooperate.” If you didn’t know better you might pronounce the first syllable like “coop.” One option is to hyphenate it: “co-operate,” or you could be fancypants (aka New Yorkerish) and use the diaeresis: “coöperate.”
Now I understand this wordplay:
However, I’m still confused about what’s going on with this:
Mary Norris, the author of the piece on this which I linked to above, also mentioned that, “The diaeresis is the single thing that readers of the letter-writing variety complain about most.”
I’m not of the letter-writing variety, so I’m putting in my vote, here.
Although I enjoyed learning what it is, I have to say I think it’s unnecessary. And not just because I can’t figure out how to insert one on either my phone or laptop. I just figure the first time I said coop-erate…someone corrected me and then I knew. Seeing a diaeresis over the word “coworker” would just confuse me more. Has anyone is the history of talking actually said “cow-orker”? Doubtful.