The Corner

Everybody’s a Critic

I’ve got readers complaining that I used the short umlaut for “Erdös” instead of the correct long one.

[In Hungarian, every vowel comes in both a long and a short form, and this is important. The written language distinguishes the long form of each vowel by putting an acute accent over it. Unfortunately the Hungarian vowel set includes an “ö” and a “ü”; and just like all the other vowels, they each have a short form, written with regular umlaut, and a long form, written with a slanty umlaut, a sort of double-acute.]

Alas, my quick-lookup special-characters check sheet in the back of Elizabeth Castro’s indispensible HTML, XHTML, & CSS (yes, I submit my Corner posts in native HTML — you got a problem with that?) has no entry for the Hungarian long umlaut, so I defaulted to a regular umlaut, trusting to our normally eagle-eyed editors to make the obvious correction. Wake up there, guys!

The correct pronunciation of the great number-theorist’s name is”Air-döööööösh.”

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