February 7, 2009

today's post brought to you by the letter ë.

Z - O - E (dot dot) is sixteen weeks old!  Here's a little post to nibble on in her honor, along with (finally) some new pictures.

Tim and I tried to keep our potential baby names a secret during my pregnancy -- with limited success. It didn't help that we were pretty sold on Zoë from the get-go. As it turns out, nine months is a long time to keep a secret. Especially if your initials happen to be TWH.

What we couldn't agree on (besides whether or not to KEEP OUR MOUTHS SHUT) was the spelling.  A serious Salinger fan, Tim was partial to Zooey; I was convinced - rightly so, I still maintain - that this would result in the unfortunate mispronunciation ZOO-ee for the rest of her life. But neither Zoey nor Zoe struck our fancies. We loved the sound, hated the look.  

Don't be a hater, Mom.

Except. There was Zoë. I didn't know or care what the dots meant. I just liked 'em. To me, they added a little pizazz, a little flare. Not ONLY does the name have a Z, it also has curious dots. Whee! What more could a girl want?

Turns out the dots are actually legit.  Here is a mini-lesson from an admitted grammar freak on two dot punctuation, or the diacritic.

There are two types of diacritics: umlauts and tremas. Contrary to popular opinion, the dots in Zoë's name are not an umlaut. (Though it would be pretty sweet if her name DID have an umlaut.) An umlaut signifies a different pronunciation of a certain vowel.  

The trema signifies that the second of two vowels should be pronounced separately.  You may have seen it in words like naïve, or perhaps coöperation (if you read the New Yorker).  So Z's two dots mean that her name does not rhyme with "toe."

For the practical application of said dots, all you need is a simple keycode.  On a Mac, you press option/u, then the e.  Easy, right?  On a PC, it's a little trickier.  You hold down the left "ALT" key, then enter 0235 using your numeric keypad.  I think.  

Somëtimës I likë to put thë dots on all my "ë's", just for kicks.

So there you have it.  The funny thing is, legal names are no longer allowed punctuation (due to an ever-increasing number of punctuated names over the past few years), so Zoë's real name is Zoe.  But we'll keep rocking the dots anyway.  

Everyone needs a little flare, right?


MaryMig said...

OK, I am going to practice. Zoe. Didn't work for me. :( I don't want to slight the spelling. If anyone can, please advise.

Beth said...

Make sure you're using the numbers to the right of your keyboard, not the numbers up top. If it still doesn't work, open Word, go to insert symbol, then see if you can find the ë. Once you select it, there should be a shortcut code that appears. Maybe.

MaryMig said...

Zoë Zoë Zoë Zoë Zoë!!!!!! Yea!!!!

Mary Sue said...

Love the new pictures - Zoë is bound to love hats growing up with you and Tim!

Looking forward to seeing you and playing with Zoë next weekend.

Mary Sue/Nana

Erin said...

ARG! I love this tutorial but I STILL can't do it! I got the shortcut key (ctrl+:,E) but it's not working. BOO on PCs!

BUT! I can do it if I just "insert symbol" and copy it. Sëë? Zoë!

I feel so EDUCATED now that I know what the ë means, to pronounce it independently. Thanks! I love her name.