Friday Rant–A Cute Little Accent

rantI will start this off with a confession: I used to be a French teacher. Yes, I admit it. I was the teacher of the class that most of you hated in high school. Sure, I tried to make it fun, but you sat there most of class thinking how inane it all was, wondering why in the hell you were forced to take the class. Your guidance counselor told you that it would look good on your college applications if you had at least three years of French on your transcript, but you were willing to consider Community College or even a career at Walmart if it meant no more verb conjugations.

But this article is not about that.

As a blogger, I try to read a lot of other blogs and this time of year, there is a preponderance of posts pertaining to an increasingly popular style of wine, rosé.

But this post is not about rosé wines, either.

accent_e-akuuttekenThis is about l’accent aigu, or as those of you who never bothered to actually retain any of the French you were forced to take, the acute accent (hopefully the title of this post makes sense now).

So for all of you that slept through my French class, I hope you all noticed that little “line” above the e in the word “rosé.” That, my dear readers is l’accent aigu or the accute accent. For some reason, many bloggers choose to omit that cute little accent when writing about rosé wine. Why? I have no flipping idea (although I suspect laziness).

In some cases, people will make no attempt whatsoever to accentuate the last letter and simply write “rose.” A rose is a flower. “Rose” can also be the name of your Great Aunt in Kansas who may still be alive, but it is not the name of a wine style.

Or worse, people know that there is some sort of line required to turn a rose into a rosé, but either they have no clue that it is an actual acute accent, or they simply don’t care to figure out how to coax one out of a keyboard.

Instead, they write:

rose’

Yes, that is rose, followed by an apostrophe.

An apostrophe.

More like catastrophe.

Hell, “rosay” would be better than ” rose’ ” (I put an additional space on either side purposefully, to accentuate the lack of accent), since that would at least acknowledge the phonetic significance of the missing accent. But an apostrophe? An apostrophe provides no pronunciation guidance whatsoever.

I understand typos, auto-correct, errors that result from too little (or too much) editing, and even misspellings–it happens to me all the time unfortunately. I likely use too many commas (or perhaps too few), and I use parentheses far too much (that is just the way my brain works–or doesn’t work). I also use dashes too often. I should probably be using more colons or semi-colons.

But come on. All it takes is a couple key strokes to insert the accent.

I am not as concerned with the other accents, although it would be nice to see an occasional accent grave (Mourvèdre), circonflexe (Rhône), cédille (français), or tréma (Moët), since I understand that users of the English language are inherently lazy and generally xenophobic (look it up), I realize I can only hope for so much.

This bastardization of written language is not limited to wine either. There is one thing that I wish were universal. If you ever type

I would like to send you my resume’

You should be immediately listed as permanently unemployed (it is “résumé” or at least “resumé”).

(Don’t you dare bring up the explosion of apostrophes in personal names as proof that the apostrophe has developed some sort of linguistic significance, since in many of those cases, it should be an accent aigu as well.)

Instead of just ranting about the incorrect use of the apostrophe and the lack of the acute accent, I am here to help. If you are one of those that I have no idea how to add an acute accent to an e, it is very simple:

Mac users: Hold down the Option key, type e, release the option key, type e again. That’s it.

PC users: Hold down the Alt key and type 130 on the number keypad, and voilà!

For those of you still challenged, click on the link below, which will give you step-by-step instructions on how to figure out the process of adding accents:

Typing Accents on a Mac

Typing Accents on a PC

On WordPress, you really have no excuse other than simple laziness (or a desire to tweak your high school French teacher), since all it takes is to click on the Omega (Ω) button in the editor and then click on the desired accent.OmegaScreen Shot 2015-04-10 at 6.34.00 AM

 

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About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
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72 Responses to Friday Rant–A Cute Little Accent

  1. Beth says:

    As a 24-year French and Spanish professor, I love this post! Merci beaucoup!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoy the ‘how to’ screens. Thank you for that.

    Like

  3. I’m in agreement here, and I believe that I always put accents in my blogs, but is it admissible to skip for tweets? quick FB posts from a phone? Oh, and I loved my French classes! we had a most bizarre teacher but she always took us to the Art Institute to look at French paintings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. linnetmoss says:

    Totally agree, and for the record I had a crush on my high school French teacher 🙂

    Like

  5. mistermuse says:

    If I may say so, it’s easy for someone who knows what they’re doing to rant about how simple this is, but for an ancient mariner like me who is computer semi-illiterate, your instructions aren’t easy to navigate. I don’t own a Mac, so I held down the Alt key on my PC and typed 130. Nothing. I tried typing e before 130, both while holding and not holding down the Alt key. Still nothing. After about 15-20 minutes of experimenting with different variations, I’ve had it! EEEEnough is EEEEnough!

    Like

    • Thanks for the comment–I should have added that you need to use the number pad (the block of numbers on the right of the PC keyboard, not the numbers along the top of the main keyboard)! If you do not have the number pad, it becomes a bit more laborious, but not impossible (the easiest way is to copy and paste the desired accent from the character map in the System Tools folder (Programs » Accessories » System Tools » Character Map). Then you just need to make sure it is all in the same font. Much easier on a Mac than a PC, unfortunately.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. heila2013 says:

    Great post and I so agree!!
    Thanks for your instructions. I had the problem when texting or writing emails (in French and German) on/from my Android smartphone. Only recently I discovered how to get the accents or special letters in those (and other) languages: You simply press the key with the letter for which you need the accent a little longer, until a small window with all the options appears. You choose and release, c’est tout.

    Like

  7. dwdirwin says:

    Ha- guilty as charged! A combo of technophobia and laziness kept me from applying accents- though when you work for a winery that likes to make your life hard by naming their wines “Le Grand Peré”, “La Bohemé”, and “La Bête Noire” you have no choice but to get on board. Doesn’t mean that I don’t still have to look up how to do it, however…

    Like

  8. GFwinecountryliving says:

    Too funny. Loved it! Thanks for giving me my laugh out loud moment today.

    Like

  9. Preach it! I want to tear my hair out when I see “rose’ “. ééééééééééééé

    Like

  10. Thank you for helping the many, many people who needed this post (and who, unfortunately, are unlikely to see it).

    Like

  11. Luckily we just posted this on Facebook:
    It’s Spring! Time for some nice rosé. Here is some great information dispelling the myths of these pink beauties:
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/…/what-you-need-to-know-about-rose-…

    It took me about 10 minutes and it still didn’t work so I copied one I found and pasted it. Now I know to use the number pad instead of keyboard numbers. Touché!

    Like

  12. Lauzan says:

    Ahaha I loved your post! I think it’s mostly laziness for the non French…On the other hand I think you should send this message to all French born from the 70s on…! “Je peut parlé avec toi?” It’s just a very common wrongly written and accented sentence I read very often though I’m not French, nor a French teacher, and I’ve never studied French…(but I use French every day, true)!

    Like

    • It took me a while to realize in all of my years studying French that the French make just as many errors speaking their language as we do speaking ours. Once I accepted that, I was much less concerned about speaking “properly.” Having said that, I still strive to speak correctly, and cringe when I hear or see a blatant error….

      Like

      • Lauzan says:

        I think it’s a bit disappointing, teachers spend a whole life correcting mistakes native speakers normally do and at the same time Parisians (I’ve never had this issue when I was in Scotland/England) made you aware you are a foreigner when you forget an accented é in vérifier while they don’t even know the difference between an infinitive or a past participle…:). When my little pupils now pull my sleeve saying: Laura, you said “rEnvoyer” -stressing my open E- b u t it’s “renvoyer” -with a E that sounds like a O with a cold- , I make them laugh saying that the real problem comes from their funny language where kitchen sounds like cousin, horses like hair and above like under…children are cool!😂😉

        Like

      • Dessous and dessus are really tough for me–everything is under when you hear me speak….

        Like

  13. First- that “let me google it for you” is AWESOME! Secondly, I agree wholeheartedly. In wordpress there is no excuse as you said. But as someone who uses Fáilte and Sláinte ALL THE TIME, the alt codes only work with keyboards that have side numbers. It doesn’t work with the top numbers. Not using the correct accent drives me crazy, but sometimes the only way I can do it is to physically go to google, type in Slainte without the accent and copy and paste the word into whatever I’m typing. I would LOVE to know a way around it.

    Like

    • Let Me Google That For You–a great little tool when you want to be a complete snark. I try and use it sparingly! You are completely right about having to use the number pad, so thanks for pointing it out (when I am on a PC, I use the number pad exclusively, which I thought everyone did!).

      Like

      • When I’m at work, my desktop has the number pad, but when I am home, I have a laptop and it unfortunately does not. There weren’t too many choices for number pads on the laptops. I ultimately decided that it wasn’t worth it choosing one that did solely so I could write Slainte and Failte! (as you can see I’m home now.LOL) Have a safe trip back and yes- today is absolutely beautiful!

        Liked by 1 person

      • The whole PC thing should just die. Macs are so much easier (and accent friendlier).

        Like

    • The whole laptop thing with PCs is puzzling–not sure why there is no easy way to add accents on an American laptop keyboard. Not looking forward to the flight all that much, but it will good to be home….

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Livonne says:

    Now there’s a shortcut key I didn’t know.. I’m always trying to find the symbol..

    Like

  15. NK says:

    Okay, so first of all, I always write “rose” online because I did not know about this omega sign and the wonderful things it does, so thank you. I sometimes use the insert >> characters when in a word processing program. Despite this sin, I will say that the apostrophe is an abomination to use in place of an accute accent. It’s tantamount to people who use myself as a “formal” pronoun (it’s reflexive, people!) or pronounce forte for-tay when discussing their strengths (and not music… the only time it’s okay to say for-tay). I was an English teacher. I feel your pain, man.

    Like

  16. chef mimi says:

    oh my god i knew none of this. i usually copy and paste the accents. so thanks for this post although i’m obviously an idiot. i’ve typed rose before.

    Like

  17. Just had to go double check one of my posts to reassure myself that I wasn’t an offender!! But as a French speaker, I almost always go out of my way (often by googling the word I want and doing a bit of copy and paste, as others have mentioned!!) to write the accents as I HATE writing about flowers when what I’m really talking about is wine 🙂 Thank you so much for the shortcut info, life will be so much simpler from now on. Typing was so much easier when living in France and having a French keyboard!

    Like

  18. Oh, and what’s with the apostrophe approach? That’s just weird and wrong!

    Like

  19. Could not agree more! Keep up the rants. And now can you please tackle the “it’s” versus “its” travesty. Can’t tell you how many bloggers (including the really well-known ones) get this wrong time after time. Drives me nuts!! ;>)

    Like

  20. manuchettan says:

    I typically use the ‘insert symbol’ option in MS word for such cases, while writing proposals, especially to customers in Europe or Latin America. That’s how I learned that the ‘u’ in “Perú” comes with the accent. Keep enlightening us 🙂

    Like

  21. chef mimi says:

    Jeff, I can’t find the omega symbol anywhere on WordPress!!!

    Like

  22. thevineyardtrail says:

    Okay, so I took Spanish, not French…but I DO know that rosé should have a ‘little mark’ above the e! However, I never knew how to get it there so I simply just find it spelled correctly somewhere else and then copy that sucker and paste it into my article (just like I did above!…couldn’t get the alt key thing to work…computer challenged, perhaps?!) Thanks so much for this post and the references and tips! Have to save this one for sure!
    Miki “This is the Life” Winer

    Liked by 1 person

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