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27 Juni 2005 @ 22:00
Åtmøspheric diäcritics  

Arnold Zwicky recommends as a bit of summer reading the Wikipedia article on hëavy metäl ümlauts. (The meagre information in the corresponding E2 node includes Rollo's assertion that the band Tröjan failed to gain a following in Sweden because their name means 'the sweater' in Swedish, and "no one likes a band named after an article of clothing." Wait a minute—is this the same Sweden that gave the world the Cardigans?)

Anyway, I think the heävÿ mëtal umläut (which is officially deplored by Diaeresis Defense) needs to be seen as part of a larger phenomenon which I will tentatively call "ăţmǿșpĥęřīċ đįǟĉŕȉŧĩçš," or, for the benefit of people with Unicode-deprived browsers and/or a distaste for gratuitous self-referentiality, "atmospheric diacritics." Ordinary diacritics convey information about the sounds represented by the letters to which they are attached; atmospheric diacritics convey extralinguistic or metalinguistic information, such as "we are a badass metal band," or, as in the case of the Viking Kerosen from the Astérix comics, "I am really speaking Danish, not French":

Être øu ne pås être, telle est lå questiøn...
Kerosen & Zoodvinsen
La grande traversée
R. Goscinny & A. Uderzo, 1975

parodieparodie on 30. Juni, 2005 13:59 (UTC)
I think that you make an interesting point with the atmospheric diacritics. I also think, though, that if you are going to drag Asterix into the debate (wheee !) then the variety of font=accent tricks should be mentioned. Like the thick gothic text, etc. The diacritics represent a language/accent, like a font would, while being easily read and understood by the unilingual reader. This is different, in a sense, from the Heavy Metal Umlauts that (to quote the Wikipedia article) are a form of branding.

Don't you think?
Q. Pheevrq_pheevr on 1. Juli, 2005 09:42 (UTC)

Quite right; Kerosen's å's and ø's serve exactly the same function as Coudetric's Fraktur:

And from there, I think, we can trace a further affinity to typefaces that try to make one alphabet look like another:


parodieparodie on 1. Juli, 2005 16:29 (UTC)
Yes, exactly. Kudos for inserting the pictures and examples ... those are perfect.