Accents

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by Silvia, May 28, 2005.

  1. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    What can we do with people not using accents? Is anyone bothered by the non use of accents where/when needed?

    Do we use WR for reference or not?

    P.S.: I'm not speaking of typos, errors, mistakes and misspellings, and - most of all - I'm not speaking of non native speakers.
     
  2. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    กรุงเทพมหานคร
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    Yes, I'm bothered. ;)

    Natives should always use accents in THIS language forum, because if they don't do it, how should learners learn it correctly?
     
  3. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    I'm moving this thread to the Culture Forum, where the conversation about imposing rules, and why some people prefer to be lax, may continue!

    WR does not have the means to enforce anyone's writing style, so this is the wrong forum for your question.


    Zebedee- if this is inappropriate for your foro, there is always t&t..;)
     
  4. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
    meh meh meh.
    bof bof bof.

    i think care should be taken but sometimes those alt key combinations drive me up the wall. if someone asks for a specific spelling of a word or a translation of a passage then i will take the utmost care (which usually doesnt help any..) but if i'm just explaining something to someone who clearly has a degree of mastery in the language i dont think its really all that important. just like vowel signs in hebrew.

    mon petit grain de sel (im too cheap for cents haha)
     
  5. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Native Spanish speakers generally apologize when they cannot write accents, due to keyboard or other system constraints. Thus I assume that if someone chooses not to use them, it is a conscious decision about orthodoxy, orthographical reform or the position of Saturn relative to the fortunes of Real Madrid. Outside of the grammar forum, it's sort of a non-issue.

    Long before the Benjois master graced these pages, capital letters were foresworn by a great poet named Edward Estlin Cummings. He did the equivalent of saying that accents just don't matter. While I don't agree, it was his own stylistic choice.

    If someone really gets their knickers in a twist over this, they could always PM the "offender" and discuss the matter civilly.
     
  6. Helicopta

    Helicopta Senior Member

    Kettering
    England - English (Learning Spanish)
    Personally, I prefer to see the accents used. As a Spanish learner, I find it helps when people take the time to use them. Especially with words like ‘cuando/cuándo’ and ‘que/qué’ where I may otherwise not learn when to correctly use one or the other. It makes it easier as well, if I come across a word I don’t understand, to copy and paste it into the dictionary to find its definition. If the accent is missing, it requires a bit more searching.
    Also, think of the terrible misunderstandings that could arise if someone wrote ano instead of año!:eek: (unless it had been a particularly terrible year!)
     
  7. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    Why accents? Why not spelling and/or grammar? It's a language forum, after all. But we are all lax to some degree (Now, Benjy, don't take it personally, I said "all" :D) about our writing style here. For the most part we seem to choose speed or efficiency over alt-keys and spellcheck. For my own posts, I try. But that seems like a personal choice and not always the rule of the majority.

    So really, why single out accent marks?
     
  8. belén

    belén Ex-Moderator

    Spain
    Spanish, Spain, Catalan, Mallorca
    Well, in Spanish, accents are not voluntary thing, but compulsory. Therefore, not writing a word with the accent is the same as writing it with a "b" instead of a "v". I appreciate when a person apologizes for not using accents, because they can't type them on their foreign keyboard, but it would bother me a lot to see natives not writing the accents just because. I must say that all the foreros in the Sp - En forums are very respectful with this subject.

    Cheers,
    Belén
     
  9. DesertCat Senior Member

    inglese | English
    I prefer to see the accent marks. I also prefer to see correct grammar and spelling usage but I understand that we make mistakes. Sometimes we make typos. Even though I try to be careful, it's easy to miss letter transpositions when proofreading.

    I'm not sure there's much we can do other than point it out, especially to new people who may not be aware that they can use control keys to create the accents.
     
  10. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    Yes, there's a 'sticky' post here describing how to do it, and it covers Windows, Mac, and Linux - which covers the majority of people. But it's worth remembering that some people aren't always posting from the same machine each time; some people access WR from work as well as from home, and vice versa; and some may only have access through one of a bank of machines at school/college. If they've learnt the keypresses (there are only about a dozen for Spanish, far more for French) then they can post flawlessly, but otherwise it might mean having to remember to carry around a small piece of paper with the details...
     
  11. beatrizg Senior Member

    Colombia, Spanish
    I want to assure you that it's not easy for everybody to use accents. The instructions Garry mentions, don't apply to every system. When I use accents on my Greek Macintosh at home, the words come out like this:

    ?C½mo? ?Cu?ndo? ?Qué? Aqu£... Espa•ol... :confused: :(
     
  12. iKwak New Member

    English
    I don't have a native accent or an english accent. My voice is monotone. :D
     
  13. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    While you enjoy singing in the shower, in monotone, please bring along your waterproof copy of the WR forum rules. Wet or dry, these state clearly that links in signatures are not permitted.
     
  14. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    Italy
    Italian
    I'm surprised to see my thread was moved here... oh well, Cuchu never ceases to amaze me :D

    Be, I completely agree with you. In Italian it is the same, some accents must be typed or written, Iain's example explains it well.
     
  15. DDT

    DDT Senior Member

    Paris, France
    Italy - Italian
    I fully agree

    DDT (Benjois official interpreter :D :D :D)
     
  16. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    The only distinction I'd like to point out is that you really don't know if you are "explaining something to someone who clearly has a degree of mastery in the language," especially since the rules encourage people to use the search function to find topics already addressed. All the people who read the posts to learn from them may not be as expert as the one who actually posted.
     
  17. DDT

    DDT Senior Member

    Paris, France
    Italy - Italian
    Right, but I consider the use of accents cannot be compulsory. As Cuchu correctly pointed out "WR does not have the means to enforce anyone's writing style". Moreover, as you wrote above, each of us happens to make mistakes (mostly typos) so that as soon as everyone tries to be accurate in her/his replies that's fair to me

    DDT
     
  18. vachecow Senior Member

    Pennsylvania
    USA English
    Yeah, I hate it when I see a word that has an accent in one place, and in another place I see the same word without an accent. However, if my native tongue involved several accents, i most likely would not use them simply because it takes more time to type. So I guess that although I would like it, I can't really ask others to do it.
     
  19. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    I was wondering if the Forum Search function took accents into account, so I tested it and apparently it does. A search for 'situación' returned 367 hits and so did a search for 'situacion'.
     
  20. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
    that is very true. but the goal of the site isn't to teach people how to spell, it's to help people better understand what words mean (at least thats what i understand).

    eg..

    événement
    évènement
    evenement

    is anyone reading any of those spellings going to misunderstand the word? the first two spellings are both correct.

    i guess its silly of me to argue the toss on such a subjective topic. je me barre pour induire quelqu'un dans l'erreur sur le forum français :D:D
     
  21. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    กรุงเทพมหานคร
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    REALLY!!! :eek:

    The second one is correct? I thought it was an exception in pronuncation. But so it isn't.
     
  22. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Stimulated by this insightful investigation, I used the Search function for both "droll" and "dròll". I got the same number of 'hits' for each of these, which proves Garry's point rather nicely.
     
  23. lauranazario Moderatrix

    Puerto Rico
    Puerto Rico/Español & English
    As I see it, accents and other markings (umlauts, cedilles, chevrons and more) are mandatory in their respective languages... which by extension makes them "mandatory" in forums such as ours, where language usage and grammar are being discussed. Dispensing or "ignoring" this intrinsecal part of language/grammar for convenience's sake (or typing speed's sake) is unnacceptable as we would then be shortchanging the people who come here to learn!!!

    Do you have a keyboard that can't recognize accents???? Then please say so in your posts.
    BUT, I strongly encourage everyone encountering this "problem" to take a minute to familiarize yourselves with your respective operating systems and locate the Preferences file that allows changing your character sets as need be.

    No computer sold today (as opposed to the mid-1970s) can "speak" in one language and use only one character set!!! A given character set may be the default setting in YOUR computer but there are more sets built in.

    So if you're a person who is going to use the WR forums to communicate with people in a language that DOES use accents, could you please be polite towards those who will have to "read" you and make the necessary adjustments? We will ALL appreaciate that because we ALL learn together here.

    Hey, at least that's how I see it. :)

    Saludos,
    LN
     
  24. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
    i guess i shall be typing a lot less in the future then :p
     
  25. lauranazario Moderatrix

    Puerto Rico
    Puerto Rico/Español & English
    Hey... quality is always better than quantity, n'est pas? ;)

    Saludos,
    LN
     
  26. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    n'est-ce pas
    ... just in the interests of quality !! :p

    W :):)
     
  27. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
    hmm.. i don't really know why i am typing this but what the hell.. the reason why i personally am lax with accents is because streching over the keyboard to hit the keypad gives me repetitive strain injuries lol. i really fail to see how this is short changing anyone. this forum cannot teach someone a language. it is not the appropriate medium. what are the discussions on? the various nuances presented by the language, and also translation. i don't see how by skipping a few accents when explaining a grammar point to someone is unacceptable. even books after proof reading have mistakes in them and if people treat what is written on here as the gospel of spanish/french/english or any other language then they are fooling themselves.

    in my opinion :)
     
  28. Philippa

    Philippa Senior Member

    Reading
    Britain - English
    I'm always grateful when people make the effort to type the accents, because I guess it is part of the word and so it does help me learn.
    When araceli and Jacinta first explained to me how to do the alt code accent thingies back in November I felt obliged to always do the accents (and yes, Garry, I carried a bit of paper round to start with!!) and it seemed like a big chore at the time as I hadn't ever tried to learn how to spell the Spanish words properly, let alone the accents!! (I half wished they hadn't told me!!) I still feel it would be a bit insulting to the hispanohablantes to not make the effort now and this keeps me on my toes when I feel lazy!
    On the flip side, I try to spell the English words correctly - something I find quite tricky! You guys would be shocked if you knew how much I use the dictionary to check English spellings!! Again this is an effort, but I feel it's sort of my responsibility to the folks learning English here.

    Just my opinions....
    Saludos
    Philippa :)
     
  29. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Reminds me of a multi-lingual greetings card I received from a big international company, wishing people, amongst other things, a "Feliz ano" : OK, no misunderstanding, but it didn't do their credibility much good amongst their Spanish-speaking customers :eek: .

    I would encourage people (though maybe with a special dispensation for Benjy :p ) to make a little extra effort to use accents, particularly to avoid confusion with French words such as a/à, ou/où, sur/sûr, mur/mûr, etc. I often find myself doing a double-take in reading 'accentless' French e-mails (particularly with 'a' and 'ou'). OK, it's not the end of the world, but it plays hell with speed-reading!

    W :):)
     
  30. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Before I get to the serious business of this post, let me say that I try to use accents, and even take some trouble to use them properly. That's relatively easy in Spanish and it's a no-brainer in English;). Italian and Portuguese present some challenges, and yet I do slow down, a lot, on the few occasions when I have to type è or ì. I think Philippa's explanation was just right.


    Now, some of us criticize those who omit accents for speed and convenience, while others hurl stones from glass houses: "...but it plays hell with speed-reading!":eek:
     
  31. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Hi cuchu,

    Ummm, maybe it's the later hour here catching up on me, but did you mean I was the glass house dweller throwing stones? Did I miss something?

    W :):)

    Edit: Further thought: See my post #33 below
     
  32. Helicopta

    Helicopta Senior Member

    Kettering
    England - English (Learning Spanish)
    Obviously this is quite an emotive subject!
    I hadn't stopped to think about how difficult it might be for others to inlude the accents. I use the 'insert symbol' feature in word and then paste them in but obviously this doesn't suit everyone.
    Maybe it could be made easier? Here's a little feature from an automatic traslation site that I sometimes use (if I'm being lazy). I wonder if something similar could be introduced here?
     

    Attached Files:

  33. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Cuchu,
    Having thought about it, I guess you mean that if I'm asking others to make an effort to use accents, then I should be making an effort to understand their 'non-accents'. If that was it, then yeah, you have a point.

    Maybe there's a compromise: I'll live in hope of "à" and "où", and I'll graciously live with Benjy's "evenement" ;)

    W :):)
     
  34. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    I owe you an apology Wordsmyth. You were not among those advocating the omission of accents for the sake of speed in writing.

    Sorry,
    Cuchu
     
  35. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    I wish I were worthy of the deep thinking you may have attributed to me here.;)

    There are a numer of trains of thought running around here, while the switchman is out for a stroll in the park. Some people want to omit accents for speed's sake, others request them for speed's sake, while still others think that they are a basic part of the language.
    And then there is the Benjois master:D

    I don't believe there is a single "right" answer, but I'll continue to plod along, using them as best I'm able, for the same reason I don't write 'gunna' and 'wanna' and 'ke'.

    Apologies again for the false accusation earlier.
    C.
     
  36. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Hello Iain,

    The Macintosh has had a feature like this since hector was a pup, and I believe there is something similar for PCs... I don't think the vBullentin software has an equivalent, but I'll poke around their site to verify. With the Mac, all the accents except ` are very quick and easy, so it's not much of an issue. The ALT sequences on the PC are a nuisance, but once you get used to them, it's tolerable.

    Some keyboard/language combinations make it very difficult or even impossible to type the accents, so the only alternative is to copy and paste. That would drive me crazy. In that situation, I would rather have a forero state that he or she doesn't have them available, and just get on with life.

    Thanks for the suggestion,
    Cuchu
     
  37. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
    the int. keyboard set up in windows does provide some mac liek options but it falls flat on its face with certain combinations :s

    eg..

    cést super dávoir un clavier querty

    which of course should be:

    c'est super d'avoir ..

    edit: it has just been pointed out to me that judicious use of the spacebar sorts this problem out.. :eek::eek::eek:
     
  38. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    No apology needed Cuchu, but thanks anyway. I forgot to put a triple :cool: :cool: :cool: in my "What, me?!!" post.

    So we'll dance the 'Alt key' tango together, you and I. On the other hand
    you're probably gonna catch me out from time to time on words like this, 'cos I sometimes use them as 'ambience words' when I wanna sound exceptionally familiar.

    What's 'ke'?

    W :):)
     
  39. Helicopta

    Helicopta Senior Member

    Kettering
    England - English (Learning Spanish)
    The international keyboard is almost the perfect solution. The problem is that the only one available is the "US international" keyboard. While this helps with typing accents, it throws up other problems when I install it because I'm using a "UK domestic" keyboard.
     
  40. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    Think "Fawlty Towers". ;)
     
  41. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    ke is que. It's used by people who like to write lol and rofl, but refuse to RTFM.

    I too may be caught transcribing speech with gonna's and buhgawd from time to time.
     
  42. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
    mmm all it really does is swap the quote and the @ about. a small sacrifice for convenience sake.
     
  43. Helicopta

    Helicopta Senior Member

    Kettering
    England - English (Learning Spanish)
    I thought there were others? Like £ for instance? Maybe I should give it another look...
     
  44. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Hi Iain,

    Here's a suggestion that suits some (well, me! :) ) :

    I have a qwerty, but often type text in French and occasional bits in other languages. 'Alt+number' is ok for occasional use, but gets cumbersome for long text. Similarly with 'insert symbol'.

    So I've used the 'Customise keyboard' function in Word to assign keys to all the common accented letters. I use Ctrl + the top row of keys (the numbers), as I don't use any of the standard shortcut keys up there, and I've stuck a little strip-label just above that row, to identify the keys.

    I find it really fast, but of course it works only in Word. However you can type a whole text in Word, then copy/paste it into other softs, such as Outlook (I do this quite a lot for French e-mails) ...or of course into vBulletin for WR forums.

    Or of course you can make life easy and type in Benjois :p ;)

    W :):)
     
  45. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Thanks Cuchu, I need to RTFMA

    Thanks Garry,

    My only excuse for not getting it earlier is that I'm not from Barcelona :D

    Then again, that could add a whole new meaning to the M in RTFM ;)

    W :):)
     
  46. Helicopta

    Helicopta Senior Member

    Kettering
    England - English (Learning Spanish)
    Cheers W!
    Thanks to you I've just discovered something amazing, completely by accident!
    (Serendipity no less!)
    While investigating your suggestion I tried the "Alt Gr" key with the vowels, thinking "that's a key I never use, maybe I could use those combinations to get what I want?" and guess what happened? This happened: áéíóú ...and with Shift: ÁÉÍÓÚ It even works here in the forum without having to use word first! If I can now use your customisation idea to assign something for ¡ ¿ ñ and ü, I'll have everything I need! I'm not sure how useful this would be for people trying to type languages other than Spanish but for me it's fantastic!
     
  47. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Wow, this is the land of Serendip at its weirdest: I don't even have an Alt Gr key!! (I have an ancient keyboard: about eight years old!)

    But glad to have been of service, even if unwittingly :cool: :)

    W :):)
     
  48. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    NY
    US, English
    Sometimes I understand what words mean only with the help of the dictionary (which the rules also encourage).

    I speak 3 words of french, but I try to read and decipher your comments in french. If you type with the same accuracy in both languages... well I think you know where I'm going. You can't pick and choose what you think a language forum is all about, or how people do/do not understand just because you (the royal you, not just you Benjy) personally don't like to backspace or proof or extend one of your fingers ALL THE WAY over to the other side of the keyboard to make an accent mark (such stress these computers bring to our lives!) ;)
     
  49. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
    bof. its not about the effort its the result of stretching :p like i said at the start.if some asks for the translation of a sentence then i will make every effort to ensure the 100% accuracy of what i write. i was talking au départ about accurcy in statements which aren't translations. ie this comment here. i dont see why it is totally imperative that accents be used if the message is perfectly comprehensible withot them. not all proof reading catches all erreurs.
     
  50. Phryne

    Phryne Senior Member

    New York City
    Argieland--Esp/Eng
    Hello Ben!

    Well, I feel very responsible for what I post in Spanish. While in English it is far more expected for me to make mistakes, in Spanish it is quite the contrary. I live in the US and I have a PC at work and a Mac at home, and still, regardless what computer I use and the fact that I have zero accents on any of my keyboards, I type all accents, double check my spelling and even copy and paste my messages into Word to check for further spelling and grammar errors. I know it sounds annoying and almost psychotic, but I do it because I find it to be irresponsible on my behalf to confuse those who are learning my language. I feel for Helicopta, Philippa and all others that get constantly confused with "qué" and "que", so I try as much as I can to make their learning process easier. Nevertheless, I don’t force people to do the same; however, I hope that if they don't want to confuse people, at least they should check their spelling...

    saludos :)
     

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