Re: Subliminal Advertising Column

Bad show, Cecil. The Straight Dope Classic column about subliminal advertising contains an egregious typo! The game referenced is spelled Husker Du (with umlauts over the "u"s), not Husker-Do. The fact that I remember that soley from seeing the commercials lo these many years ago, having never owned or even played the game itself, proves that the ads had some kind of impact, however weak, even if only on me. (It is, of course, possible that I remember the ad only because I was vaguely aware that there was some controversy connected with it.)

Actually, it’s “Hūsker Dū?”, with macrons, not umlauts. Like “Häagen-Dazs”, it’s a stupid affectation. “Hüsker Dü?” is correct Danish (or Norwegian, for that matter), but “Hūsker Dū?” is the actual, trademarked name of the game, although it doesn’t mean anything in any language.

Right you are, sir! I must confess it. Actually, I had never even HEARD of a macron before now, so I stand not only corrected, but educated. Thanks!

“Stuck a line over his ‘i’
And called it macron-i!”


A decent article on the subject for those interested.

Neither Danish nor Norwegian uses umlauts. The correct phrase in either language would be “Husker du?”

There is, however, a band by that name that spells it with umlauts. Mr. Kennedy must be a punk rock enthusiast.

How have you determined that?

I think you can trust flodnak on this and I will second her.

ETA I think John W. Kennedy just forgot to remove the umlauts when he stated that it was a proper Danish and Norwegian phrase.

You can find pictures of the actual box that the game comes in on the web.

Yes, you’re right; I misinterpreted my source, getting tangled up among the game (“Hūsker Dū?”), the heavy-metal band (“Hüsker Dü”), and the actual Danish/Norwegian words (“Husker Du?”).

(Norwegian does use “ü” occasionally, for loanwords, though, and I think Danish may, too.)

“That” referred to the bolded part: the assertion that “Hūsker Dū?” doesn’t mean anything in any language. The question was not entirely serious.

[hijack] I was wondering whether Slug’s inimitable drawing for this piece might work on a SDMB Tshirt. Nah, too obscure. [/hijack]

So true. I just hates it when people put all sorts of diacritics over letters thinking it looks neat and exotic. I also dislike it when the same people omit the diacritics where they should have been, like in the name of the little boy who is all over the interwebs because he scored an ice hockey goal. His name is Wahlström and nothing else, not to mention the woman who was awarded the fake Nobel prize in economics, Elinor Ostrom. Make it Öström and I’ll be happy.

Well, it’s quite difficult to type diacritics on Windows systems with US English keyboards, and Microsoft decided to bury the insert-characters utility (what’s its name?) where it’s hard to find. That’s why pretty much all word processors and text processors for Windows have their own, private insert-characters facilities. Pfaugh!

It could mean something in a conlang that I invent this minute, of course, but only a handful of languages use macrons in common text (as opposed to pronunciation guides, prosodic markup, or student texts) to begin with. It can’t be Hawaiian or Romanized Chinese or Japanese, for phonological reasons. I suppose it could be Lithuanian or Latvian, in theory, but I think it’s a safe bet that it isn’t.