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December 16, 2005
On accents, tildes and other language marks
A Globe reader wonders about the accent in my name and the Globe's policy for using foreign language punctuation.
Mike Nappo sent this note to me on Thursday about the Globe's use of foreign language characters such as accents and tildes and wonders if there's a new Globe policy on such punctuation.
The blog is a great idea, expanding one of my favorite parts of the paper, i.e., the omsbudman. However, the one thing I have only recently noticed is the accent mark in your name. Although I applaud the correct use of any foreign spelling, this seems to be the exception rather than the rule in our society. The accent mark seems to be more an affectation than anything else (no offense). Does this mean that the Globe now has a policy to include all foreign words with the actual diacritical marks et al.? Or is this something that one needs to insist on or point out midst reporting? What are the standards?
I explained to Mike that I've used an accent in my name for as long as I can remember (my mother also used it)and I've used it in my byline in my years as a reporter at the Globe and now, as the ombudsman.
Although we are an English-language publication, we recognize the growing diversity of the city. So, our guideline on this is to accent properly any foreign words or names used in stories. The burden for this falls first on the writer to ask for the correct -- accented, if so -- spelling and then to use it in their copy. Editors are expected to query the writer if a word appears to be foreign. In names, we expect reporters to follow the individual's preferences (Ramirez is accented by some, and not by others.) Beyond that, there are many foreign words that have been Anglicized over the years and the stylebook dictates that they need no special treatment in copy.
POSTED BY: rchacon | TIME: 01:02:28 PM | Link