Cooperation is a funny word. I mean, in theory, it means to cooperate. That is, to infuse with cooper. But which one? TOMMY Cooper? Alas, he’s no longer with us. JOHN Cooper? He got together with Alec Issigones to produce the souped-up version of the Mini. Or perhaps it means to stick into a barrel. Cooper is the old name for a barrel-maker: hence a popular surname (like Butcher, Baker, etc.)
Of course, I’m being pedantic. Cooperation is understood (and accepted by WordPress’ SpellChecker) to mean CO-OPERATE (which is ALSO accepted). But it IS one of the oddities of the English language. This is because it was not always so…
You see, it’s like Zoe and Chloe. These names, if spelled thusly, SHOULD be pronounced with the end as in hoe (the gardening implement). Like Zoh and Kloh. Which is because in fact, even though the SpellChecker is happy with them – I spelled them WRONGLY.
They SHOULD be spelled Zoë and Chloë.
And cooperate SHOULD be spelled coöperate.
It’s the same with reenter – as in to come or go back in. Again, either that OR re-enter will pass the SpellChecker – but it SHOULD be reënter.
And Noel – as in Coward or Christmas should be Noël. Naive should be naïve. Etc.
These are called diaereses. And while they sound like a dose of the squirts, they are actually accents designed to show that two consecutive vowels are pronounced SEPARATELY – the word is Greek and means to separate. Hence their use in the names Zoë and Chloë – both of which have Greek origins.
But a diaeresis should not be confused with an umlaut. This LOOKS the same, but is far more recent, being used to aid pronunciation in modern German.
Of course, the reason diaereses have fallen out of favour is that few keyboards have them. Indeed, I had to delve into WordPress’ “special characters” to locate THESE. Funk knows where they are on my keyboard (I said FUNK!)
Although some Pop and Rock bands use them to give their name a taste of the exotic – like the banal Blue Öyster Cult (I thought oyster was a Jewish person – then again, I thought Plato was a Greek washing-up liquid ’till I discovered… NEVER MIND!)
Anyhay, there it is. And now, having spent the last five minutes pontificating on correct usage of the English language, I’d better go SpellCheck this piece before posting it!