In Hungarian you spell the surname of Dénes Kőnig with a double acute accent, whereas Lemma von König is written in German with an umlaut. Why the difference? Is the reason behind it purely typographical or is there something deeper?

In particular, if you write a German text, which variants do you use nowadays: Dénes Kőnig and Lemma von König or something else?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Gyula Germanized his name into Julius König, so König's theorem it is. His son Dénes did not, so it is Kőnig's theorem (or lemma). $\endgroup$ – Conifold Feb 10 at 21:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Maybe only the fact that the "double accent" is not present in German... See also original German pubblication (1927) $\endgroup$ – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Feb 11 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Just_A_Man "ő" is not a part of a the most common ascii extension, many old softwares has problems to show it correctly. It is not a problem any more since that unicode became common, roughly in the past decade. [Unicode is the standard what enables computers to handle practically all characters of all languages correctly.] Probably that website is generated by some oldie software, or your system has an oldie component. $\endgroup$ – peterh - Reinstate Monica Feb 11 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ @MauroALLEGRANZA, in German the Umlaut is often (hand)written like the Hungarian accent, so a confusion is understandable. And the correct character might have been hard to come by. $\endgroup$ – vonbrand Feb 20 at 1:14

"ő" exists in Hungarian, it is pronounced as a longer "ö" (and "ö" is pronounced like the first vowel in the English word "dirty"). But in German, only "ö" exists (and it depends on the actual dialect/context, how long is it pronounced).

"König" is originally a German word, and it means "King". His name has German origin, already the "Kőnig" version was a Hungarianized form (it sounds simply more natural for native speakers).

While in the region and the era was/is it common to use some simplification/translation of the names, mostly to adapt better foreign-speaker environments, he and his father lived their entire life in Hungary and they did not need to do that.

The probable reason today to use the "ö"-Form is that "ö" exists in the most common extension of the ascii encoding (so-named "latin1"), but "ő" does not. Another probable reason was that the typewriters and pre-unicode computers of the era could write "ö" far more easily.

In a German text I would use the "ö"-version on decency reason.

Both the English and the German Wikipedia use the Kőnig name.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy