Sergio Agüero’s Umlaut

Sergio Agüero’s name on the back of his Athletico Madrid jersey had an umlaut. Unveiled at Manchester City in July, his baby blue jersey also had an umlaut.

His graphically rendered name on television broadcasts of Manchester City matches has no umlaut. When Google anticipates that his name is being typed into the search field, Sergio Agüero’s name has no umlaut, but his Wikipedia site spells his name with an umlaut. When the URL is bookmarked it will appear in its folder as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergio_Ag%C3%BCero, where an un-umlauted name looks like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Balotelli

Well, which is it? The unlaut is beady-eyed. What is the origin of this  diacritically crafty mark? He’s Argentinian; he could be of German descent. Searching his un-umlauted name turned up a brief bio on his parents. Neither are German nor of German decent. It could be affect; the ü looks cooler than u. But really, the father of Diego Maradona’s grandchild thought he might be cooler by playing around with phonetics?

Native Spanish speakers never would have asked this question, knowing that there is an uncommon use of the umlaut in Spanish grammar and pronunciation. When the letter u follows the letter g, then an umlaut over the u indicates that the letter g is pronounced like the g in “go”, a hard g, instead of like the letter j in Spanish which is silent. If Agüero’s name was pronounced Aguero, it would be pronounced something like Ahwero.

9/10/11

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