I’ve been informed by someone from France that the word “poëtes” which appears on our new chart of Chat Noir is not a French word and that it should be “poètes”. Here’s the funny thing: I didn’t make this up, it is the way the original poster read. Further, it’s pretty clear that, although you sometimes see printed material where part of a character didn’t print, the umlaut is not a broken accent; it’s a deliberate umlaut. (I’m sure the French don’t call it an umlaut, but I’m not opening that can of worms.) So why did the poster say poëtes?
I had a lot of trouble translating the French because I don’t speak French and the online translation services I tried translated some words but not all. Sometimes you can work translation software backwards by guessing what a word means, giving the English, and seeing what it translates into (or at least you can eliminate words that way). But none of the words I could think of relating to poets, poetry, poems, poetry readings, translate into poëtes. Finally I got what I hoped was the gist from a web site giving some background on this poster, but I’m sure it’s not a very exact translation.
I just did a Google search for poëtes and found it on some pages that appear to be French. If I copy it into French-English dictionaries they either say it isn’t a word, pretend I really entered poètes, or change or remove the ë and tell me that poates (or in one case, potes) isn’t a word. I can believe that but it doesn’t help.
If I thought the original poster was somehow just WRONG, I’d change the umlaut to an accent (and since the chart contains a couple of accents, this is something any stitcher could easily do whether I change the chart or not). But it seems like a French poster, produced in France by native French speakers, somehow must be correct even if I can’t prove it.
As they used to say in Dear Abby, sign me … Baffled In Austin