Regarding the Dutch vowel IJ

I read Rainer’s comment in his tutorial on diacritics that in Dutch an acute should be placed over both characters, and on upper and lower. However, while researching this today I find Dutch grammar and other sources online that say:

  1. An acute is never placed above a capital letter in the Dutch language, and
  2. An acute should be used on both characters whenever it is “technically possible.”

As to #1 above, perhaps they were referring only to the /IJ vowel because another resource that shows all accented Dutch characters shows other capitals using an acute. That same resource does not show an acute used over either case (/IJ-/ij).

Is there a good answer to this since we find conflicting rules?

Where did you read (1)? Acutes are used for syllable stress in Dutch, and, like you, I have seen them on caps as well.

(2) is the result of the bad technical implementation. It is technically possible today. If you are on a typewriter or any other system incapable of putting the acute on the j, that’s just the best you can get. It is like using an /o instead of /zero, which you had to do on some travel typewriters in the past.

In any event, both issues should not bother you as a type designer. It is up to the user of your font to follow or ignore grammar rules. And remember, grammar rules can change.

Taalunie says that Dutch caps usually do not get an acute except in all-caps. It also expressly says that ij gets two acutes, ‘but it is difficult to have a word processor put an accent on a j. That is why the second acute often is missing’.

Thanks Rainer; your explanation makes perfect sense to me. The site(s) I looked at, as with all internet sources, are subject to errors, omissions or oversights. That’s why I asked.

I will add the second acute to both cases, then if the user wants them they will be there.