Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mixed signals

Horizons BetaPro funds are running a marketing campaign featuring a dictionary-entry style design (the ads don't seem to be on their website). The entry is like this (disregarding layout):
b ta prfit
(verb): to capture double the daily market performance of an equity sector by investing in a...

The company is "Canada's sole provider" of this specific type of fund. So, if it's Canadian, why use the British pronunciation of beta? The Canadian Oxford gives only /bei t/. The ad appears to use the American Heritage Dictionary pronunciation key, another oddity (though my mom says this is the system she learned growing up in Manitoba). At least it does for the stressed vowels. The /a/ and the /i/ don't seem to fit in here.

And then there's the stress marks. Most British dictionaries mark stress at the beginning of the syllable and AHD marks it at the end. In this ad, though, it seems to be marked on the stressed vowel.

All in all they've made quite a hash of it. Fortunately for them, almost nobody will notice. And all those diacritics do add a certain cachet--the corporate version of the heavy metal umlaut.


The Ridger, FCD said...

Have they marked the F as having its own stress? How odd.

Brett said...

Sorry, no. That's my mistake. It's fixed now.