Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Scarfing it up and French as She Is Spoke

The cashmere yarn that featured in my recent socks is riding again, in the form of a one row lace scarf which is destined for a friend who doesn't know about this yet, so don't say anything. This is possibly the simplest lace pattern ever: multiple of four stitches, each row knit four, then the pattern: yarnover, knit two together, knit two, do this combo to the end of the row. Repeat the row till you either run out of patience or yarn, whichever happens first.

And while I knit I'm listening to the radio,and being reminded once again that it's a big mistake to use foreign phrases if you don't know how to pronounce them.

Recently I've heard more than one news person refer to what they thought was a coup de grace, sorry, no circumflex accent available in my memory banks, meaning the blow of mercy on the battlefield, where a soldier kills a comrade to put him out of terminal pain.

Which is fine, if you don't think it means the best part of the show! or if you don't pronounce it as coup de gras, which is quite different. Gras means fat. So it's the verbal equivalent of cheering on the spectacle of someone being beaned with a can of Crisco...anyway today's lovely offering was mise en scene, meaning , more or less, stage set, mise being from the verb mettre, to put or place. Anyway, the theater person in question talked about mise en sein, not understanding how to pronounce scene. Now the mise part is about putting,and sein is, um, a boob. So he was congratulating a film maker on his brilliant boob job???

Doesn't take much to amuse me! I'd probably be disappointed if North American speakers stuck with their own language. Or if they finally renounced the belief that you never ever pronounce the last few letters of any French word.

Signing off here as Li Ada, goo afternoo


  1. I'm much amused that you have put a funny spin on the bad pronunciation of common phrases in another language. Doesn't it make the people using the phrase look silly. My school-girl French is almost non-existent these days but it never ceases to amaze me the number of people who say and spell online, viola as walla. Where do they think the word came from?

    I will now give you back your soap-box for future use.

  2. My skin has crawled to hear "foie gras" pronounced "foie grace" - the only grace to come of liver, so far as I can imagine, would be in the case of a transplant. J in Cowtown

  3. Ok - laughing hysterically here at the mental image of being beaned with a can of Crisco! Gives a whole new meaning to the term 'lard head'. I was never fortunate enough to take any other languages in school, which perhaps was a good thing when you consider how badly I can manage to mangle English!!


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