Speaking English Like A Frenchman

In 1066, William of Normandy rowed across The Channel, became William the Conqueror, and took England.  In a spirit of fairness, his descendants gave scores of words to the ‘English’ language.

Here is a list of French words and phrases that are commonly used, but have not officially been adopted.

Je ne sais quoi – a special, indefinable quality
Her fancy clothing had a certain je ne sais quoi.

Habitué – a person frequently visiting a place
As an habitué of the bistro, he headed to his usual table.

Billet-doux – a love letter
Stewart’s first novel was a billet-doux to his home town.

Bric-a-brac – a collection of ornaments
Among my aunt’s bric-a-brac was a glass angel that she treasured.

Flāneur – one who idly strolls around and observes
Paul spent the day as a flāneur on the streets of Montreal.

De rigueur – required by fashion or convention
A jean jacket is simply de rigueur this season.

Esprit de l’escalier – a perfect retort, formulated too late
A comedian went home after being heckled, and finally delivered his esprit de l’escalier to the cat.

Sang-froid – self-possession under stress (literally – cold blood)
The butler retained his sang-froid during his employer’s crisis.

Ā la carte – ordered separately from a menu
Not hungry enough for a set meal, Terri ordered baked potato and creamed spinach ā la carte.

Renaissance – cultural revival or rebirth
Toronto’s restaurant scene was undergoing a renaissance.

Contre-jour – with a camera facing the light
Matt positioned his grand-nephew contre-jour to produce a halo effect.

Armour-propre – self-worth
Getting dissed by a nerd wounded Rory’s armour-propre.

Éminence grise – a person with no official title, but great influence
Years of insightful posts had made Archon an ėminence grise in the blogosphere.

Laissez faire – a non-interference approach
Small businesses benefit from laissez faire economics.

Roman ā clef – thinly-veiled novelistic accounts of real people or events
George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a roman ā clef about the Russian Revolution.

I prefer to speak my French in plain English.  Aside from a couple of these which have finally been naturalized into the language, I don’t use any of them.

’22 A To Z Challenge – L

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was going to be sure that I had an L of a post for this letter, then I thought, “Why be satisfied with half-measures?  Let’s go for a Double L version.  Words with two Ls in them are fairly common, but I have several which begin with two Ls.

I recently read a user strongly questioning silent letters in English words – particularly the silent G in words like ‘sign.’  Often, silent letters perform the same functions as accents in French, or Spanish.  They tell you how to pronounce the word.  If there were no G in sign, it would be a sin.

The Welsh language is well-known for its rather cavalier, creative spelling.  It has used a couple of its superfluous Ls to build names with.  There is (Desmond) Llewellyn, who was James Bond’s Q foil in several 007 movies.  His name means that he is a leader.

There is also the Welsh name, Lloyd.  Lloyd is a Welsh surname originating with the Welsh adjective llwyd, most often understood as meaning “grey” but with other meanings as well. The name can be used both as a given name and as a surname.  There is Lloyd Bridges, who went on a Sea Hunt, and then for an Airplane ride, and Doc Brown – Christopher Lloyd.

Not to be out-done, South American Spanish has also given us a couple of double-L words.  The funny animal that lives in the Andes is a Llama.  The funny animal that lives in the Asian mountains is merely a lama.  When you descend from the Andes, you might come out onto the llano, which is a flat plane.  It started as a ‘plano,’ but spelling drift is inevitable.

I’d like to blame these double initial letters on something like pronunciation rules, but I find no such basis.  😀

Bakers’ Dozen Fibbing Fridays

Pensitivity101 and her Loss Control Officer were distracted by a troupe of Polish folk-dancers, so I was able to make off, undetected, with another list of ten chances to win the Paul Bunyan Tall Tale award.

  1. What did the Three Wise Men bring as gifts to the babe in the stables?

Watermelon-flavored bubblegum, a Hello Kitty backpack, and a bunch of those pine-scented car deodorizers.  Do you know what stables smell like??!  And He’s not helping matters any.  He’s being investigated by the EPA for air quality violations.  “Holy shit” may be what He produces, but it still reeks.
2. Band Aid had a Number One hit with the same record 3 times. What was it?

A catchy little ad-jingle that goes I am stuck on Band-Aid brand, ‘cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me.
3. Why is Rudolph’s nose red?

Santa can’t possibly eat all the cookies and drink all the milk that people leave out for him, all by himself, so Rudolf helps out.  Approximately 40% of the milk – and almost all of the egg nog – are chemically enhanced with rum, rye or vodka.  The night barely begins before Rudolf’s bloodshot eyes start to leak down to his nose.  The bright glow helps tell where they are, but soon Rudy has no idea where he’s going.  Santa has to attach a Garmin mini-GPS unit to his antlers, even to assure they get back to dead-drunk North.
4. Who was Santa’s Little Helper?

They were some special little ‘stay-awake’ pills that Santa got from Walter White of the Breaking Bad TV show.  Pound a few of those down with a king-can or two of Monster© soda, and stay awake and alert for the 24 hours that it takes to chase the sunrise, and deliver seven billion toys in 24 hours.
5. What will you find on Quality Street?

Snooty bitches like Posh Spice, (GOOP) Gwyneth Paltrow, and Oprah Winfrey, believing their own press, and looking down their noses at lesser beings – anyone other than them.  What you won’t find, is the likes of the Kardashians, Nicky Minaj, or Cardi B – who all believe in quantity, over Quality.
6. What is egg nog?

According to the translation of the French side of Canadian cartons, it is “Chicken Milk.”  I don’t know how you’d milk a chicken.  You must need a very short stool.
7. Who is Saint Nick?

He is my neighbor, Nicholas Dunning-Kruger, whose wife is an obsessive shopper.  She only has two complaints – “I have nothing to wear.” and, “There is no room in my closet.”  She will contentedly spend 12 to 14 hours of a Saturday, going into every shoe store within a fifteen-mile radius, and still return home with nothing more than a smile.  Nick obligingly, obediently, uncomplainingly drives her around and patiently waits for her.  He is the inspiration for my Beothuk Flash Fiction.  I don’t know why he hasn’t smothered her, or slashed her wrists with a sharpened credit card.  He truly is a saint.
8. Where is Christmas Island?

It’s at the seaward end of the Happy Holidays Archipelago, just across the Incensed Christians Strait from Lovingly Inclusive Key.  There are lots of shopping and party places, but be careful if you want to visit.  There are a bunch of religious nut-cases who try to block access with large crosses, and insist that they own the entire island, when they only hold title to one small area.
9. What does Feliz Navidad mean?

It means that you’re living too far south in the United States.  Move somewhere far enough north that people say Merry Christmas – or at least, Happy Holidays – or your festive meal will be arroz con pollo. (recipe)
10. What is a gobbler?

That would be my divorced uncle, Fred, at any Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas family gathering where someone else is providing a home cooked meal.  Free is his favorite flavor.

 

’21 A To Z Challenge – K

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everybody has to be from somewhere – and that includes words.

I once heard a co-worker complain about a fellow-employee, that, “He’s a cheap bastard. Always wants everything buckshee.”  I got the meaning from context – free, at no cost – but buckshee??  Where did that come from?

At first I thought that it was from India, something from one of its 40+ languages and dialects.  However, research revealed that it was originally Arabic, from Persia – Iran, as we call it today.  It came to English as baksheesh – meaning a tip, a bribe, or a charitable donation – nouns which my rustic speaker had mispronounced into an adjective.

Recently, I thought I’d found its camel-chasing cousin.  Out of a sandstorm of definition confusion, and, from context, meaning the same as baksheesh and the term lagniappe, rode the word

KICKSHAW

Kickshaw – rickshaw – buckshee….  Surely it came from the East, but NO!
Kickshaw – a tidbit or delicacy, especially one served as an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre.
something showy but without value; trinket; a trifle, something a little extra.

It rowed across The Channel from France, and wormed its way into the English language about 1590/1600 as a badly pronounced back-formation of the French term quelque chose.  In French, it just means “something,” but in English, it has come to mean ‘something extra/something special.”

Next week we’ll be visiting its modern-day Yiddish relative, tchotchke.  Bring an appetite and your credit card.  There’ll be as many latkes – potato pancakes – as you can eat.  😀

WOW #71

Look at that bunch of cows.
Not bunch, herd.
Heard what?
Herd of cows.
Sure I’ve heard of cows.
No, I mean a cow herd.
What do I care what a cow heard?  I got no secrets from a cow!

Now that I’ve milked that pun for a few laughs, let’s consider this week’s word.

RANGALE

When referring to deer, herd seems a bit numerous, as does the word bunch.  While they can leap, they can’t fly, so they’re not a flock.  A small group of specifically Whitetail deer are a bevy, while a group of any kind of deer is properly known as a rangale.  Crows would murder for a cumulative title like that.

The term began with an old word that became range, in modern English.  It grew up in French as the word rengaille, which came to be known as the dregs of an army.  When the military had fought a battle, or won a war, and were drifting home, or back to base, in small, rag-tag, non-uniform-sized, unsupervised clots of clods, the small groups were rangales.

When William the Conqueror graciously visited the Enchanted Island, the term came to be applied to similar small groups of deer.  When we have journeyed into the United States on vacation trips, occasionally we have seen deer feeding beside the road, usually at dusk.  Actually, it happens more often to the wife than me.  Screaming down I-95 at 75MPH, trying to keep ahead of some semi that seems to want to park in my trunk, is not the time to go, “Oh, look at Bambi and his mom.”

If COVID dies before I do. I have hopes for more trips, and more deer-sightings.  If I am lucky, and successful at both, now I know what to call them.  Other than Rivergirl, who seems to live on a migration pathway, how many of you have been fortunate enough to see a group of deer in the wild?  😕

Flash Fiction #237

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E.Ayr

FAIR TRADE

I hope you rode that bicycle down here from the bank.  This ain’t no sea-going swap meet.  They ain’t gonna exchange it, for that…. that…. well, it ain’t no yacht, but it ain’t no rowboat either, even if it is painted light-loafer pink.

Them owner folks is Frogs – pardon my French – they’s Frenchies.  You go aboard to ‘negotiate,’ and they’ll offer you some of that there wine, and the next thing you know, you’ll be in some camel-chaser’s hareem in Dubai.

Nothin’ good ever come from furriners and pink boats.  C’mon, I’ll buy you a real man’s rum drink.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple https://rochellewisoff.com/ site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

***

Today’s low-brow, red-neck, politically-incorrect, intolerant, machismo-laden rant is brought to you because…. I don’t know.  Maybe because, in this supposedly enlightened, intelligent world, there’s still too much of it going on.  Vote wisely.  😀

Go Directly To Jail – Do Not Pass GO

Monopoly

Doctor Felix Feelgood here.  It’s time to shore up our psyches, and inflate our egos by passing judgement on some more

DUMB
CRIMINALS

She Went Thatta Way, Then Thatta Way, Then Thatta Way, Then …

A woman in Somerset, Massachusetts, was arrested for breaking and entering. But she was quickly caught thanks to her ankle bracelet … the one fitted with a GPS system … that she had gotten from the police … for being on probation from an earlier breaking-and-entering case.

Parlez-vous idiot?

The victim’s jewelry was missing, the electronics were gone, and a window was smashed. No wonder she was hysterical when officer Charanjit Meharu of the Calgary police arrived. Then her French-speaking father called. Speaking in French, she explained that it was all a scam in order to get the insurance money. What she didn’t suspect was that Officer Meharu speaks six languages, including French.

Drug dealer’s office in the police station

Christopher Oxley of Everett, Washington, was arrested for conducting a drug deal over the phone—in the bathroom of the Everett Police Department.

Incarceration? There’s an app for that!

A 12-year-old boy adamantly denied having stolen an iPhone when questioned by police at his home. And then the iPhone rang in his closet. Okay, yes, he stole that. But as for the Blackberry he was also accused of stealing, he double-adamantly denied… *RING!!*

A crime that’s too heavy

Clive Halford thinks big! The British career criminal stole a truck and loaded it with 18 pallets of stolen nickel and copper worth around £150,000 (about $250,000). Yes, the haul was huge—too huge. Cops arrested Halford after the truck’s suspension collapsed under the weight. Earlier, Halford had stolen a car, overloaded it, and broken its suspension too.

‘…just kidding?’

Don’t you hate it when you suffer a heart attack and think you’re going to die, so you confess to a 17-year-old murder, only to find out you’re not going to die and then get sentenced to life in prison as a result? Yeah, so does James Washington, of Nashville, because it happened to him.

You should read the book you stole

Callie Rough of Middletown, Ohio, was picked up for shoplifting from a Dollar General store with her two young children in tow. Among the booty was a book, 101 Ways to Be a Great Mom.

A Molotov cock-and-bull story

Following a dispute, Craig Aylesworth, of Bithlo, Florida, allegedly tossed a Molotov Cocktail at his neighbor’s trailer home … just as the winds shifted, sending embers on to his own trailer. Luckily, he was arrested, since he no longer had a home of his own to return to.

The new Apple iDiot

A San Francisco thief pedaled his bike up to a woman on the sidewalk, snatched the iPhone out of her hands, and rode away. Unknown to him, the woman was in the middle of demonstrating the iPhone’s new GPS tracking device, which worked—the thief was captured minutes later.

‘License and registration and an attorney, please.’

Anthony Kenneth Mastrogiovanni was impersonating a police officer when he pulled over another car for speeding. The driver quickly sussed out that Mastrogiovanni was fibbing since he, too, was a cop, but in his case, the kind of cop who doesn’t have to pretend he’s a cop because he really is a cop. Mastrogiovanni was arrested for impersonating a police officer.

‘Who’re you gonna trust, yourself, or yourself?’

How convenient! Only a few months earlier, an Iowa City, Iowa, man had his driver’s license stolen. Then who should show up at the bar where he worked as a bouncer, but the thief brandishing the bouncer’s very own license as his form of ID.

Should’ve activated your karma alarm

Is there no honor among thieves? While two suspects were being questioned by Ogden, Utah, police about shoplifting from a store, someone broke into their car and stole a stereo and several other items.

This looks like a safe place…

An El Paso, Texas, man busted into a church and absconded with the safe. Safes are heavy, so he only got a few yards before dropping it on a neighbor’s lawn, where he tried to crack it open. That’s when he was confronted by the home’s occupant—a police officer.

There’s one born every minute, so I’ll probably have more of these later.   😳

WOW #55

CCI_000010

Here’s a word only my Grandmother would have used. Actually, she was too much of a stern, proper old lady to ever allow herself to be in a position to use the word

AMBUSCADE

an ambush.
to lie in ambush.
to attack from a concealed position; ambush.

Middle French emboscade < Old Italian imboscata,

When English riffled the pockets of other languages for words, sometimes the ears and mouth worked, but the eyes were busy elsewhere. Often, foreign words were inducted into English like a Manhattan – with a twist.

Manhattan

English is Larry The Cable Guy’s “Git ‘er done” language. It don’t have no time for all them extra little syllables. The Spanish ‘La Riata’ (something to retie with) becomes simply lariat, in English.

The word petty came from Old French petit, small, minor. So a Naval Petty Officer is not mean or ungenerous in small or trifling things, but rather of secondary rank, especially in relation to others of the same class or kind.

What was subtile (soob-teel) in French, somehow became subtle (suttle) in English. Check (a means of verification) went from English to Middle French, to become cheque, and then back. The German word pflug, became an English plough. Wisely, American English has made each of them (back) into check, and plow. In French, fait simply means, ‘made, completed, or done.’ When it got to England, it became quite a feat.

Elvis Presley’s birthplace, Tupelo Mississippi, is named for a local tree. I thought that it was Spanish. You don’t even want to know how it got into English, from the Creek Indian word, ito opilwa.

WOW #50

Dictionary

I recently ran into the word

ADVERTENCY

I bruised a couple of ribs, but I’ll be okay.

Advertency = advertence: The state of being advertent – aware, attentive, heedful, knowledgeable, perceptive

The modern (somewhat restricted) equivalent is “Woke.”

I have been somewhat covert (covered, concealed) in my production of another WOW. Some of you have been a bit overt (open to view, observable) in your expectations that I do, so I thought I’d introduce most of the bunch. The family name – VERT – comes from Latin, through the French, ouvrir-to open, into English. They all have something to do with showing, or seeing – or not.

With its negative prefix, avert means to prevent something from happening, so that the results are not seen. Similarly, invert means to display something, but upside-down. Evert means to turn something inside-out, and show the inner surface. With an opening syllable that means – in, at or to – advertising points your attention to the presentation of goods that retailers want you to be aware of, and purchase.

We move to psychology to meet the introverts, who keep most of their personalities hidden within themselves, and the extroverts, who fill any room they’re in with their outward glow and conversations. Then there are the members of the family that we usually don’t mention, pervert and subvert. They’re the guys who get to see stuff that they shouldn’t.

My advertency about the term advertency came from a science-fiction book. In it, one planet prided themselves about their citizens’ knowledge and understanding of what went on around them, so that they could make the most optimal, informed decisions. The giant University even taught a course on advertency – how to notice details, be informed, know what was going on.

It all comes down to making reasonable, informed decisions. This is what many Atheists wish that the religious hoi polloi would do. If you want to worship one particular God, or follow the tenets of a specific denomination or church, do it. Just be able to give a better justification, when asked, than, “I have faith.”

Canada and the U.S. – Hell, most of the world – could use a University that teaches advertency. I notice far more things than the average Joe, but I could still use some training in how to do more.

I come over a rise, driving in the curb lane. A block ahead is a bus. I know that it will stop and block my lane, so I move out. The guy behind me now rushes up beside me, almost rear-ends the bus when it stops, and almost sideswipes me, trying to go around at the last minute. Too many drivers ‘drive’ no further ahead than their hood ornament.

If we could just raise the average awareness of citizens, then the uninformed, unaware, extrovert leaders like Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau, and Boris Johnson wouldn’t get re-elected. Probably won’t happen though. Jay Leno used to air a segment titled Americans Are Dumb, And Proud Of It! I continue to hope, though. Were you aware of that?   😕

SPEAK TO ME ONLY WITH THINE EYES….

FOR THY FINGERS HAVE F**KED THINGS UP

Grammar Nazi

PROS

He got married at the boarder, then they realized he was a smuggler. – The Washington Post knows no borders.

Niagara Falls freezes in teeth-shattering temps – My teeth are chattering at this usage.  Same headline lists an ‘artic’ blast

BC gas stations insist on swimming against the tied – British Columbians should know what tide is.  Toronto captioners think it’s just for laundry.

He just gorged them out. – Gorged means filled up.  Gouged means emptied out.

Get a sculpsured bod. – or get the always-popular dictionary, and learn to spell sculptured.

Wither goes democracy? – Upscale usage will wither if you don’t look up whither.

Two viles of drugs were found – Well, it is pretty vile stuff, in a vial (phial), or not.

Kim Kardashian wore a bust-bearing dress – I know those puppies look like they need a hand-truck to haul them around, and the sight of the photo could confuse a male captioner, but the dress was bust-baring.

***

Amateurs

Violin boes rehaired – This guy gets a special category.  He’s not a professional writer, but he advertises as a ‘Professional violin builder, seller and repairer’, who should know about bows.

Lovely, fully-detached home, near Kawanas Park – this less-than-literate real estate agent apparently is not a member of the Kiwanis service club.

Michelangelo’s Sixteenth Chapel – from Canada’s ‘Good Christian’ wunderkind, Justin Beaver Bieber

***

Please use tongue when choosing donuts – because the tongs are already in use.

April Ham Lincoln – I guess the name Abraham isn’t popular in elementary schools anymore.  But he was joined by John Afghan Eddy, and Martin Lou, the King

Two ballards were struck by a forklift – Relax, the ex-owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs is fine.  It was two bollards which were struck.

That door is closed.  Se la vi. – He lives in Utah, where they don’t speak any French.  C’est la vie.

This were “Dances With Wolves” was filmed – This is where paying attention in English class would have helped.

find a place to hold up in tonight – The police frown on holdups.  Find a safe, warm hole, and hole up.

Hubby once through an entire angle food cake – although she did come back to correct to threw, but not the angel.

What do you get when you cross a blonde with a postal worker?
A fluesy with an Uzi.
The jokester is obviously not a floozy.

Like in a freakin’ fairy tell – I have to tell you that the word should be tale.

The judge gave him a slap on the risk – At the risk of sounding pedantic, it’s wrist.

Whats the deferents between soft point and hardball ammo?  Are exploding bullets called dumb dumbs? – The difference is that only redneck gun-nuts who ask questions like this, are called dumb dumbs.