So Korean carmaker Kia has introduced a new model for the European market, the oddly named cee'd. Yes, that's the correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
As if the poor apostrophe weren't in enough trouble already.
But first, let's allow a Kia spokesguy to justify the naming decision:
“Our new C-segment model marks a major turning point in Kia’s history and is named cee’d for several reasons,” explained Jean-Charles Lievens, Senior Vice President of Kia Motors Europe. “cee’d is a short, dynamic and innovative name. It’s unconventional, a name which breaks the automotive rules. A surprising name for a car destined to surprise our rivals and delight our customers. I’m sure the name will get people talking about Kia and also be easy to remember."
Yeah, as long as they don't have to write it down. It's been only two days since the announcement, and I've already seed--um, seen--the name spelled "C'eed."
Lievens goes on:
“The ‘CE’ symbolizes that this model is made in the European Community and the ‘ED’ indicates this car is a European Design created especially with European consumers in mind. ‘cee’d’ represents the ‘seed’ for abundant growth in Kia sales that the new model will undoubtedly ensure. Finally, we wanted to introduce a fresh name in line with Kia’s brand attributes — quality, trustworthy and dynamic.”
Leaving (Lieving?) aside the non-parallel structure of that last phrase, we have questions:
If it's the European Community, why isn't it "ece'd"?
Wasn't anybody troubled by the homonym "cede"--to give up, to surrender?
In what language does "cee'd" represent quality, trust, and dynamism?
In what language other than English is the double-e given a long-"E" pronunciation? In Dutch, for example, double-e is pronounced more like English long "A." (Say say'd.) In Slovakia, where the car will be manufactured...well, I have absolutely no idea.
And finally: that apostrophe. Is it replacing a phantom letter? Is it a glottal stop (that catch in the throat common in, say, Arabic)? Or is it just an irritating flyspeck?
As the bloggers at POPWink have puckishly pointed out, apostrophes aren't even the punctuation du jour.
Why not use some other punctuation mark? It would make as much sense. How about cee.d (like del.icio.us), or cee!d (feel the excitement!) or better yet cee?d.
Perhaps Kia should study this comprehensive set of apostrophe rules, courtesy of the Purdue University Online Writing Lab. In brief: an apostrophe is inserted to replace a missing letter (thus "do not" becomes "don't") or to indicate possession (except with the pronoun forms its, hers, his, yours, and ours).
From what I've seen, or cee'n, the car looks quite distinctive. A-plus to Kia for that. But the name? Cee-minus.