Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Putting the Ä in Ämerica

I realize that it's been awfully quiet on the blog since I packed up my apartment in Fremont and shipped myself and my things back to Sweden. Now that I'm here, I've had some time to reflect on my time in the United States (and elsewhere). Lots of great memories, of course! One of the many things that amused me during my self-imposed expatriation was the Americans' enthusiastic use of diacritical marks—umlauts, mainly—in places where one would not necessarily expect them. I started ”collecting” these little oddities early on, thinking that it could be fun to eventually share them.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe the time has come—but first, a small disclaimer: this post might not make much sense to the non-Swedes. On the other hand, perhaps there is something to be learned? (Nah, not likely.)

The first example, which most people probably know about already, is the snack bars by the brand Lärabar—simply pronounced ”lara bar” by the locals. The same producer has another line of fruit/nut bars with the double-dotted name über. Why not just call them ”snäck bärs” while you're at it?

Evidence of further umlauting is often found in the candy isle...

...and, to my surprise, also among the wines. How about a fine bottle of aged Pölka dot with that Seitan Roulade with Chestnut-Champignon Stuffing?

Another family of goods with a strong preference for extra dots and dashes are hair and body care products. Just look at this collection of items, found at the local pharmacy:

The more diacritics, the less dandruff? More dots, less frizz? Göt 2b kinkier—now that's a winning name.

After applying that first-class Jāsön shampoo, perhaps you need a fashionable scrunchy to complete the look? Hmm, let's see... Wait, here's one!

Ah, there we go. Next, a collection of random items that made me giggle over the years:

A soft neck pillow from Clöudz:

A cozy candle from Cløve:

Bling stickers (limited edition!) from Colorbök:

If it's metal it's gotta have umlauts— I found Camöuflage in Canada.

Perhaps some power vinyasa after that? The folks at häutēyoga seem to know what they're doing.

Music maestro Buzz Brümp knows how to attract a keen audience to Tractor Tavern.

Another Canadian gem: Blue Ångel.

North America isn't the only place for misplaced dots; in Costa Rica, kölbi is the biggest and oldest network provider. Vamös juntos!

Finally, a colorful mural from my old hoods. I'm not 100% sure that it's actually a misplaced umlaut, but I kind of like the idea that it's saying LAMA G's Cäfe.

Ådiōs, fölks!


  1. It certainly gave me a läugh.

  2. Nice collection indeed! However, you are missing an iconic (and definitely the tastiest) example, and possibly the one that started it all (at least, that's what I remember; but then, I couldn't remember when the Berlin Wall fell, so what do I know): Häagen-Dasz! (been trying to upload a picture, but I guess that's not allowed for comments)