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“Whereäs” as an alternative spelling of “whereas”
Is it spelt “naïve” or “naive”?

Someone I talked to used two dots in this word:


I thought that it's my screen having dirt on it, but the dots in fact are part of the glyph. Can someone explain that?

  • Someone you talked to? How did you know they used two dots, if you were in conversation? ;^) On a more serious note, I know that Word will make that change using autocorrect. I believe it's a spelling variant to prevent the word from being mispronounced as "knave". See this question for related information. – J.R. Jun 12 '12 at 9:00
  • They're just trying to be fancy. It means nothing. – Rich S Jun 12 '12 at 9:03

The origin of "naive" is the French word "naïve". (Notice that the French "naïve" is italicized)

As a French word, it is spelled naïve or naïf. (French adjectives have grammatical gender; naïf is used with masculine nouns while naive is used with feminine nouns.) The two dots above the "i" are called diaeresis. As an unitalicized English word, "naive" is now the more usual spelling, although "naïve" is unidiomatic rather than incorrect.

For more, look up this.


I know that in Spanish we use a diaeresis on top of letters to emphasize the pronunciation of that specific letter. So here I assume it is to pronounce the I with the "ee" sound. As in Na'ee've. Otherwise like someone mentioned earlier someone might pronounce Naive with a "ay" sound as in knave.


Naive is borrowed from from which in turn borrowed the umlaut from the German language. The umlaut is used in vowels to indicate that they are pronounced as two vowels combined. For example ä is pronunced like "ae". You then know that naive with the double dots (naïve), is not pronounced as nāve, but rather as nī•ēv like the way we know it.

Source, Naive explanation

  • 1
    No, this is wrong; or at least not entirely correct. The German word "umlaut" means "changed sound", and that is what their two-dots symbol does: it changes the sound of the vowel -- and it's represented by an added e where the correct glyph is not available. The diaeresis separates two distinct vowel sounds (such as the word naive, or zoology or even cooperate). – Andrew Leach Jun 12 '12 at 9:18

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