German with pseudo-Vietnamese diacritics

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Klaus Nuber spotted this poster of an ad in Germany with German text spruced up with Vietnamese diacritics:

Here's the webpage where this picture is embedded.

Comments by correspondents:

Michele Thompson:

What a very very odd poster.   Those are definitely not Vietnamese diacritics, I think this is something just completely made up.

Nguyen Ngoc Hung:

These diacritics are not Vietnamese and certainly not for the decorative purpose, either because there are rules for calligraphy in the language.

Eric Henry:

The "diacritics" are totally bogus. It seems somebody thought they would look cutely exotic. Vietnamese doesn't use macrons placed beneath letters, doesn't use little hollow circles placed above consonants, doesn't attach hooks to the letter "r," doesn't attach hooks on the bottom-left side of letters, and so on. Besides, the words to which these things are attached appear, by and large, to be German words.

Stephen O'Harrow:

Most are real graphs, but not all in the right place and a couple are totally non–VNese, like a straight bar under a letter or the Swedish å or the Czech haček & a couple of other misplaced excrescences.

Ignoring the ersatz Vietnamese diacritics, the German translates as:

My ingredient [singular] for

a future in

Vietnam: education

Whoever made up this ad wasn't trying very hard.  They were just playing around.  At least they could have gotten Việt Nam right.


  1. Rubrick said,

    April 12, 2018 @ 5:33 pm

    Reminds me of Tolkien's admission in one of the Appendices that the function of the circumflex in his "transliterations" of Dwarvish was purely to make them look more dwarvish.

  2. Jerry Friedman said,

    April 12, 2018 @ 11:04 pm

    Reminds me of the covers of books and posters for movies about Russia that reverse the Rs and Ns.

  3. Michael Watts said,

    April 13, 2018 @ 3:53 am

    Also very common in text that is supposed to look GRSSK.

  4. J. Goard said,

    April 13, 2018 @ 5:11 am

    @Jerry Friedman:

  5. C. Munk said,

    April 13, 2018 @ 5:34 am

    The tragic part of this is that they actually got some letters right (meaning they could be Vietnamese letters), namely: Ú, Ạ, Ư, À, Ạ and what could be construed as a Ụ.

    I can also respect the unconventional use of authentic diacritics on letters they don't belong with: R̛, N̆ and Ĝ.

    But they should have steered clear of the macron below (Ṉ, E̱), ring above (T̊), cedilla (Ȩ) and ogonek (Ų). And they could have used some more clearly Vietnamese diacritics such as the hook above (Ả) and the tilde (Ã) and then stacking the diacritics (Ẫ). But I guess it is too much to ask of the designer to educate themselves about Vietnamese.


  6. David Marjanović said,

    April 13, 2018 @ 6:36 am

    The cringeworthy part is that they're actually trying to help Vietnam with this careless, uninterested exoticism.

  7. 번하드 said,

    April 13, 2018 @ 8:21 am

    Cringeworthy indeed. I'm a German, and seeing such malpractice caused by lazy thinking makes me sad.
    The person who created that thing was certainly not too far away from a Vietnamese shop or restaurant where he would have found help. We have two shops and three restaurants in walking distance.

    Come to think of it, this reminds me of another kind of foreign language text atrocity.
    I once bought a Korean movie on DVD via Amazon market place, won't do that again.
    When it arrived, the DVD case had all the typical symptoms.
    Cut-copy-pasted text in Korean belonging to two other movies, plus glaring mistakes
    in lettering, even the *title* contained an obvious one, "괘찮아" instead of "괜찮아",
    and the small print had a so-and-so "ENTERTARNNTIC".

    I would have to search a photograph of my personal favourite knockoff:
    a tin box with "Red Ginseng from North Korea" maybe made in the part of China bordering on North Korea. That one has a few loose jamo(!) and one other mistake that was really cute. It used 소파 instead of 소화 in the part describing what type of person should take ginseng.
    That made "people with insufficient digestion" into "people with insufficient sofa".
    Unforgettable, as you see:)

  8. Andreas Johansson said,

    April 13, 2018 @ 2:40 pm


    Maybe this is what you meant, but in the interest of clarity: the circumflexes in Tolkien's Dwarvish aren't purely decorative, but denote long vowels. What is purely for visual effect is the choice to use particularly the circumflex for this purpose in Dwarvish and other "harsh" languages; in milder languages an acute accent is used instead.

  9. djen said,

    April 15, 2018 @ 4:05 am

    The correct word for Vietnam is " Việt Nam". Diacritics makes it appear like Vietnamese.

  10. Jonathan Badger said,

    April 16, 2018 @ 4:56 am

    Technically that isn't a haček over the g but rather an circumflex, and the only language I know of that uses an circumflexed g is Esperanto.

  11. Robert Coren said,

    April 17, 2018 @ 10:33 am

    @Andreas Johansson: He also used the circumflex occasionally in Elvish languages¹, especially in monosyllabic words.

    ¹Maybe only in Sindarin — I don't feel like going downstairs and searching through the Appendices and then not finding what I'm looking for anyway.

  12. ajay said,

    April 18, 2018 @ 3:57 am

    the function of the circumflex in his "transliterations" of Dwarvish was purely to make them look more dwarvish.

    The Dwarves are so heavily armoured that even their vowels wear little helmets.

  13. January First-of-May said,

    April 26, 2018 @ 12:15 pm

    and the only language I know of that uses an circumflexed g is Esperanto

    Apparently it is also used in some common transliterations of Sumerian (as well as in several more obscure contexts).

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