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I've recently come across a post (in English) speaking of Noether's theorem, where Noether's surname was consistently spelled as Nöther. But nowhere had I seen such a spelling of this name until this post. Even in her own work she wrote her surname as Noether, despite Göttingen being written with an umlaut in the same sentence.

So I wonder, is it correct (in German) to write such names with an umlaut instead of the original oe/ue/ae, or is it hypercorrection?

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    It rather looks like her surname actually is Noether and not Nöther. That's not unusual. – πάντα ῥεῖ Jul 23 '19 at 16:23
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    In general, it's not unthinkable to see well-meaning people being a bit overeager. They have seen multiple times umlauts being maltreated (maybe even ä/ö/ü to a/o/u) and just assume that something like "oe", especially in a German name, must have originally been "ö". But they are not always correct. When in doubt, you could also quickly check the respective German wikipedia page (where you can, if necessary copy the umlaut, should it be missing from your keyboard). – The Awful Language Jul 23 '19 at 16:44
  • @The It would be interesting if there are any examples where the replaced Umlaut is wrong beyond of personal names, but ordinary proper nouns. – πάντα ῥεῖ Jul 23 '19 at 16:52
  • @Arsak No I am not looking for these kind of obviously wrongly spelled examples. We could also talk about the wrong interpretation of beinhalten then. – πάντα ῥεῖ Jul 23 '19 at 17:30
  • Ich sag nur fluege.de :-P ... – πάντα ῥεῖ Jul 23 '19 at 18:15
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So I wonder, is it correct (in German) to write such names with an umlaut instead of the original oe/ue/ae, or is it hypercorrection?

Names are names, and if a name contains an Umlaut written in the form of oe/ue/ae you can't simply replace them with ö/ü/ä.


A very prominent example is Goethe, which would never been written as Göthe by any educated native German speaker nowadays.

It looks like that at the time they were living the spelling was ambigous and both Göthe and Goethe were used ambiguously (thank's for @Phillip's comment).

Though heself seemed to prefer the spelling Goethe, and that's what is used today.


I've recently come across a post (in English) speaking of Noether's theorem, where Noether's surname was consistently spelled as Nöther.

I'd say that article you found is wrong about that.

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    Nur am Rande: Goethes Vater hieß Göthe, und wenn der Wikipediaartikel stimmt, war die Schreibung damals nicht einheitlich (»Obwohl Goethe seinen Namen stets mit oe schrieb, erschienen während seines ganzen Lebens Veröffentlichungen auch unter dem Namen Göthe«). – Philipp Jul 23 '19 at 16:36
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    @The He probably was a child of his time ;-) – πάντα ῥεῖ Jul 23 '19 at 16:39
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    @The That mentioning of educated was a little cheap shot regarding the movie "Fuck you Göthe" ;-). – πάντα ῥεῖ Jul 23 '19 at 16:48
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    That one also came to my mind. – The Awful Language Jul 23 '19 at 16:49
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    -1 for the slightly overconfident (and thus somewhat arrogant) statement on Göthe, which actually happens to be wrong right in Göthe's case, as Philipp already pointed out. It think you should think twice before assuming people are not well educated just because they speak or write differently than you do. – jonathan.scholbach Jul 23 '19 at 22:08

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