The Long Week Closes: Don’t Copy-and-Paste That Accent Mark. Type It. December 3, 2016

Do you know to spell the name of the director of Viola without looking it up? That is, do you truly know how to spell his name, accent marks and all? If you’re an Anglophone whose job is media-related, there’s a good chance you copy-and-paste the names of directors with accent marks since you don’t know how to type them on your keyboard. I would strongly advise against doing this. The problem with copy-and-paste is that you’re not learning to spell some names properly. What you commit to memory is not the accent mark itself, but the fact that the name needs to be copied instead of typed out.

Let me spell the name of the director I alluded to above, sans accent marks: Matias Pineiro. If you were writing in longhand, would you know which accent marks to use and where they should go? Maybe not. My recommendation is to learn to type accent marks from your keyboard. Over time, doing this will teach you to spell more words correctly.

How do you type accent marks? There are few ways to do it. One way is to install an input app or extension (such as Google Input Tools). I haven’t attempted that. The way I spell accent marks is in Microsoft Word. Press ctrl+’ and then the letter you want accented, like “i.” This gives you í. Now try ctrl+/ then “o.” This gives you ø. There are many other accented letters that can be typed through Word, like ë, ñ, ç, û and so on. Here’s a page that gives more examples.

In the past three months, I’ve been relearning how to spell the names of some foreign directors. I wasn’t remembering the exact spelling because I was copying-and-pasting their names. Getting myself to type the accent marks has gone a long way towards helping me teach myself to spell their names correctly and if spelling is important to you, I suggest you do the same.

A quick unrelated note: although the Jackie dissenters have been vocal since Toronto, it was only on Friday that the coalition of naysayers became hard to miss on our page for the movie. Four out of six reviews added yesterday were negative.

And now, the weekly rundown. Keep in mind that all of the accented letters below were typed in Word and from memory.


Things to Come (Hansen-Løve)

New Releases
Mia Hansen-Løve’s Things to Come
Pablo Larraín’s Jackie
Nicolas Pesce’s The Eyes of My Mother
Johnny Ma’s Old Stone


The Devil, Probably (Bresson)

Cinema of the Past
Robert Bresson’s The Devil, Probably (1977)
Pedro Almodóvar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)
Pedro Almodóvar’s Live Flesh (1997)
Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe (2016)

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