The differences a letter can make

From a friend who has been there and done that…


What a difference a character makes, and the AP is to blame (I just checked). My own daily newspaper, despite my tip-off yesterday, incorrectly spelled the name of the newly inaugurated Chilean president as Sebastian “Pinera.”  It is “Piñera.” So newspapers all over the English-speaking will be getting it wrong because the AP international desk in New York won’t take the time to figure out how to use a tilde. I’m sure the AP burerau chief in Santiago knows how to spell it.

So what? So, the “n” and the “ñ” are two separate characters in the Spanish alphabet. I taught my daily newspaper, Baton Rouge’s The Advocate, a few years back how to write the tilde on a Mac so its headlines and text would correctly say El Niño instead of El Nino.

Recipe stories should say jalapeño, not jalapeno.

Failure to use the correct character can have disastrous consequences. A few years back, the staff of the San Francisco Examiner, I believe it was, decided to be cute with the New Year’s Day edition and impress people with their Spanish. So its headline said, “Feliz Ano Nuevo” instead of “Feliz Año Nuevo.”

So what? So, “Feliz Ano Nuevo” means “Happy New Anus.”

That’s all for today, colleagues. Hasta manana. Oops! I mean, hasta mañana.


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Filed under International News Coverage

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