Getting Diacritical

I have been scolded plenty by proofreaders, English teachers and language pedants for leaving accent marks off of the word résumé. Most people still do this. Thankfully, accent marks are rare in English. They are a pain in the butt to keep track of and to type. So, I say leave these little intrusions, called "diacritical marks" to other languages. They're best suited for French, Spanish, German and other tongues that seem to celebrate complication.

But there are a few cases where they make sense in English. Résumé is one of those words, primarily because the word looks like the verb "resume" (to continue with something after a temporary halt). Accent marks--particularly the one on the final e--seem to make at least some sense in distinguishing the two words. It is still baffling to me that we need the first one however, since that e is pronounced as a short vowel, a way similar to the other "resume". We don't pronounce it a "rayzumay", do we? If you are an expert with a good reason for the first accented é, please give me the reason. Email

There are other English words that use accent marks, too. These include rosé (the wine vs. the flower), coöperation (so the first part doesn't sound like coop, I presume), à la carte and à la mode (obviously the accent in these French derivatives helps distinguish the à from the English article "a"). Then there are cute examples like jalapeño. öre and naïveté. There are actually hundreds of dictionary entries with various diacritical marks. Most however come from French and Spanish.

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