Saturday, November 28, 2009


Naivete is innocence that has not yet been lost


skmckinn said...

Not to damage your innocence, but you need some diacritics in there--umlaut and acute accent, to be precise.

Precision seems counter to naïveté, though.

Digitizdat said...

Do I really need them? I gave that some thought before posting, and here are some points to consider:

1) I am writing in English, not French.
2) Naivete is a loanword, and therefore the orthography should be adapted to suit the English alphabet - in this case specifically the American English alphabet that my keyboard is configured to type.

Also, Wiktionary lists naivete as an accepted form, along with naivety and naïveté.

What does OED have to say on the matter?

skmckinn said...

But then how you gonna know how to pronounce it? (Yeah, how do English speakers know how to pronounce anything, yeah yeah yeah...)

Hmmm...okay. I hear you. Also I have to admit that the French version in American English context looks overdressed and pretentious. Like the way I sound when I say "Albert Camus" in the company of my (American) buddies.

In that case, then, you might as well go with the Anglicized "naivety."

The OED lists "naivety" separately, as a synonym. It also has umlaut-less alternative spellings (one has an accent GRAVE (?)), but none without the last accent.

But the PRIMARY spelling is the all- dressed-up version.

I didn't know about this "naivety" before now. I think I might just adopt that one as my own. It's been coined by David Hume, my favorite Scotsman. And Mark Twain, my favorite moustache.

And don't even start with "moustache."

Digitizdat said...

That's crazy that "naivety" is credited to Twain - a major figure in defining American literature, because when I saw that spelling, I thought it was too relaxed. On the other hand, I can see the merit in fully assimilating the word like that... It probably would have prevented this entire conversation - but then what would we do for fun? :P