o with acute/dash (a diacritic mark)

wolfbm1

Senior Member
Polish
Hello.

I would like to spell a Polish name Brzózka which has a Polish letter with a diacritic mark over it. I found in Wikipedia that its name in English is o-acute.

I wonder if I could simply say "o with dash"?

Thank you.
 
  • vincix

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Dash is the same thing as hyphen, so I don't think that's correct. Why don't you just say 'o with acute accent'? Or maybe I didn't understand what you're trying to do.
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I think I can spell a Polish name Brzózka like that:
    It's Brzózka: bee, ar, zed, o acute, zed, kay, a.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I agree that we call that an 'acute' mark. Your spelling in the post above is fine if you are talking to people who are familiar with diacritic marks.

    If you are talking to someone who isn't familiar with that terminology, because they haven't learned a language that requires diacritic marks, you could call it an 'accent mark', as JustKate suggests in post #2. Most English speakers would recognize that description. :)
     
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    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Except that "accent mark" doesn't tell you which accent. For someone who knows that the only accented o in Polish is ó, it would be OK. But otherwise it might be interpreted as ô, or ò, or (since "accent" is popularly used as a synonym for "diacritic") any other diacritic imaginable.

    I would say "o acute"; but if, as Cagey says, the listener might not understand that, I'd probably say "o with an acute accent (mark)".

    Ws
    :)


     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    In my experience, there are a good many native speakers of English who have no acquaintance with the terminology distinguishing one accent mark from another. The words they know relate only to the marks used in ordinary English and in English dictionaries. To them, an accent mark is always the mark you call an acute accent/ mark.

    The word 'acute' would simply add confusion.

    If you are writing for people who have studied Polish, or French, or Greek, for instance, then the word 'acute' has a clear meaning, and is required.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, audience matters. If 'o acute' leads to raised eyebrows, I would say 'O' with the rising accent mark. (Similarly, ò can be the 'o' with the falling accent mark; and ô as the hatted 'o' or the 'o' with the hat accent.) I use this strategy to spell out words like blessèd or fiancée.
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Brzózka is also a Polish surname. I might need to spell it while travelling, e.g. for a hotel receptionist. I think that natkretep's description, 'O' with a rising accent mark, is plain enough. Actually, I like "o acute" because it is as short as the German "o umlaut". But then I can count on raised eyebrows. Anyway, I'm not going to use the word "dash". Maybe I could say "'O' with a short rising line on the top".

    I think I can use the word "dash" to describe another specific Polish letter "ł", e.g. in the word "Społem", where the lower case letter l has a dash or a straight line on the top when written in longhand. Sometimes the line can be wavy and resembles a tilde.
     
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    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    (You could avoid the whole issue in Anglo-Saxon countries by merely spelling it bee-ah(r)-zed-oh-zed-kay-ay, Wolf:rolleyes:)
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    (You could avoid the whole issue in Anglo-Saxon countries by merely spelling it bee-ah(r)-zed-oh-zed-kay-ay, Wolf:rolleyes:)
    That's a good and practical option. :) Although, it can be a source of problems for genealogists. I have learnt a lot in this thread, especially that instead of saying 'a diacritic mark' I can say 'an accent mark'.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I would have thought, if someone doesn't know what an acute is, by that name, they have very little idea about accents anyway so you shouldn't tell them about it at all - like the signwriter on a pub near me that clearly advertises canápes. To have a chance of getting it right, they have to understand what an o-acute is.
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I would have thought, if someone doesn't know what an acute is, by that name, they have very little idea about accents anyway so you shouldn't tell them about it at all - like the signwriter on a pub near me that clearly advertises canápes. To have a chance of getting it right, they have to understand what an o-acute is.
    The signwriter really doesn't know about accents because he should have put the rising accent mark on top of letter e.
     

    Uncle Bob

    Senior Member
    British English
    Those who don't know anything about accents might also have problems with the look of "a short rising line".
    To go the whole hog, how about "oh with a short line sloping upwards on top of it"? (It will then be time to check out of the hotel:)). On the other hand, if your interlocutor is familiar with accents they might be offended. In other words it's best to try "acute accent" first.

    For the "ł" I would say "el with a slash through it" (I don't think you need "upward sloping slash").
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Those who don't know anything about accents might also have problems with the look of "a short rising line".
    To go the whole hog, how about "oh with a short line sloping upwards on top of it"? (It will then be time to check out of the hotel:)). On the other hand, if your interlocutor is familiar with accents they might be offended. In other words it's best to try "acute accent" first.

    For the "ł" I would say "el with a slash through it" (I don't think you need "upward sloping slash").
    If I still remember the word "acute", I will use it first. The longer expression contains more familiar words. In the case of Polish "ó" or English "é" it is better to use the word "line" than "dash". A dash is a short, horizontal line. I've learned that it separates parts of a sentence and functions like a colon.

    It's nice to know that for the "ł" I can say "el with a slash through it". I think I can also say "el with a stroke across it" for the typed version.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    [...] I have learnt a lot in this thread, especially that instead of saying 'a diacritic mark' I can say 'an accent mark'.
    Yes, in everyday speech, "accent" is often used to refer to any diacritic (except by people who talk about a 'squiggle' or a 'blob' or a 'funny little thing' ;)).

    But if you ever find yourself in conversation with linguists, they might point out that the only diacritics correctly called 'accents' are the acute and grave accents and the circumflex. But this distinction is, I believe, related to the existence of pitch accents in Ancient Greek. Since those accents now have other functions, the distinction doesn't have much relevance to modern languages.

    For many English-speakers, the word "accent" is far more likely to be understood than "diacritic" (which some people might think is what you suffer from if you eat too many prunes!:D).

    Ws
    :)
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Hello.

    I would like to spell a Polish name Brzózka which has a Polish letter with a diacritic mark over it. I found in Wikipedia that its name in English is o-acute.

    I wonder if I could simply say "o with dash"?
    Most Americans have been taught the traditional American symbol for the diphthong /oʊ/, which is ō (o with a macron, or "long sign"). I suspect that many Americans who heard "o with a dash" would think of ō.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    That's an interesting article, mplsray, though I disagree with the author's generalisation that "traditional English phonetic transcription" (macrons and breves) is "the kind you find in dictionaries" and that "English speakers have learned to use these symbols differently". As you more accurately suggested, that's true of American dictionaries and AmE speakers. Whereas BrE dictionaries, and those in some (most?) other English-speaking countries, started using IPA between 25 and 60 years ago.

    So "o with a dash" wouldn't be so obvious for many BrE speakers (water with a splash of lemonade, maybe? ;)). Perhaps "o with a bar" would better describe ō (I can't seem to get away from allusions to drinking!:D). Whatever, I think we've established that no descriptions like that would work for wolf's ó.

    Ws
    :)
     
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