Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Reader Piqued By French Mutilations

Reader Piqued By French Mutilations Reader Piqued By French Mutilations Reader Piqued By French Mutilations By Maeve Maddox Mari, one of our readers, writes: Perhapsyou could address a problem that seems to have reached epidemic proportions: the difference between pique, peek and peak. Recently I have been inundated with people giving sneak peaks and having their curiosity peeked. I pointed out the peak for peek spelling myself in an earlier article. Its an easy mistake to make since ee and ea are alternate English spellings for the long e sound. Misspelling the French word pique is a shame since it looks so cool. And theres not much excuse for doing so. English writers dont seem to have any trouble with the word unique which is spelled according to the same pattern. Mari is also troubled by the cutesy spelling of French Voil as Walla. while youre at it, perhaps you would add Voila I might be forced to blind myself if I see Walla again. I suppose that people who write Voil as walla may feel its closer to the French pronunciation, but even if it were, which it isnt that much, the weird spelling walla is confusing. It makes me think of wallah as in laundry wallah. When I googled walla, I discovered that the word actually has meanings. Walla is radio broadcasting jargon for a sound effect imitating the murmur of a crowd in the background. The word walla is a way of swearing by God in Arabic. Walla! is an Israeli internet news portal, search engine, and email service provider. While were on the subject of mutilations of French expressions, heres one that gets me. chaise longue a chair that holds up the sitters legs; a deck chair Americans long ago changed the longue, meaning long, to lounge, since that is what one does on such a chair. Chaise lounge no longer bothers me, but I do have expectations regarding the pronunciation of chaise, My preferred pronunciation is /shez/, but Ill even settle for /chaiz/. The fingernail scraped the blackboard, however, when I watched a Wal-mart television ad for lawn furniture the other evening. The cheery salesman wanted to sell his customer a chase lounge. Here are a few other French words and expressions that should be written or spoken with care. chic /sheek/ stylish coup de grà ¢ce /ku dÉ™ grahs/ (literally mercy blow) killing a wounded creature to end its suffering. dà ©j vu /day jah voo/ (literally, already seen) the feeling that one is experiencing an event that has happened previously. It is NOT amusing when people say dà ©j vu all over again. faux /foe/ (false) jewelers often advertise faux pearls. Copywriters must take care not to write ads offering genuine faux pearls. fiancà © /fee ahn say/ man engaged to be married fiancà ©e /fee ahn say/ woman engaged to be married hors doeuvre /or derve/ (literally out of or apart from the work, i.e., the main course) Thought: People who write walla for voil probably say /hors duvers/ for hors doeuvres. risquà © /ris kay/ off-color, naughty, as in a risquà © joke. RSVP (abbreviation for Rà ©pondez sil vous plaà ®t, Reply if it pleases you) Added to invitations for which the host wishes to know if the guest is coming or not. Please RSVP is redundant, but common. visvis /vee zah vee/ (literally face to face) The French meaning was once more common in English than it is now. Dancers were said to dance visvis. There was a style of horse-drawn coach called a visvis in which passengers sat facing one another. Now, however, visvis is used more often to mean in relation to as in these headlines: Senior Citizens vis a- vis the Indian Society Vietnam vis a vis Iraq in Congressional DebateLessons Learned? Or Biases Deeply Ingrained? NATION-STATES VIS-A-VIS ETHNOCULTURAL MINORITIES The headlines also illustrate the various ways that visvis is written in English. Voil! /vwah lah/ (There it is!) If you decide to eschew the walla spelling, take a close look at the vowels and the direction of the accent mark. Dont write voil or viol. voir dire /vwar deer/ (literally to see to say) a legal term youve probably heard on Law and Order. It refers to jury selection. So, spice up your speech and writing with French words and expressions. Just dont mutilate them when you do. Want to improve your English in five minutes a day? Get a subscription and start receiving our writing tips and exercises daily! Keep learning! Browse the Vocabulary category, check our popular posts, or choose a related post below:Fly, Flew, (has) FlownFlied?60 Synonyms for â€Å"Trip†9 Forms of the Past Tense

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