Tag Archives: French

Murder Is Bad

murder-meme1Peas and Cougars is one of my favorite blogs and the woman who writes it, Rae, pointed out that I would be a bad person and bad things would happen to me if I didn’t share this meme. Just to be safe, I decided it deserved a whole blog post. Allow me to explain.

It’s true that English, especially American English, greedily gobbles up words from other languages, generally mangling the original pronunciation in the process. Excellent examples include kimono, karate and karaoke. I learned the latter here, so the first time I heard it in the States, I had no idea what the person was talking about.

American friend: The place has carry-okie on Thursdays.

Me: Oh, is that some kind of ethnic food?

The other day, we were recording some English lessons for sixth graders and part of one lesson was, ‘I want to be…’ We had ‘I want to be a doctor.’ ‘I want to be a farmer.’ ‘I want to be a patissier.’ The narrator pronounced that last word American style with a hard R at the end. I told the client the correct pronunciation, pointing out that since it was not an English word, we should probably use the proper French pronunciation. Better yet, we could use the perfectly good English equivalent, ‘baker’.

Client: Oh, no. We can’t change the word and we have to use the American pronunciation.

Me: But it’s not an English word. There isn’t an ‘American’ pronunciation. If you say that word to the average American, they won’t know what you’re talking about.

Client: That’s OK. Japanese understand it.

Me: (Carp face.) Uh…OK.

There was a time when such an exchange would send me into a murderous rage, causing my head to explode and raining sticky bits of brain onto the client and anyone else unfortunate enough to be sitting nearby.

But that didn’t happen. I shrugged. I sighed. I let it go.

Meditation Cat says…


Yoga is good. Meditation is good. Not murdering anyone is very good.

On Language

Another silly job today. There are some t-shirts. A little boy says “t-shatsu”. Big sister (not me) tells him how to pronounce it correctly, which he does. End of scene. It took less than an hour to shoot.

Language is a funny thing. I had some time to kill at the office yesterday and stumbled across a French translation of the pop-up book “What’s in the Fridge?” It’s a box shaped like a fridge with an accordion pull-out of illustrations of what you might find in the fridge. I was surprised by some of the words that are the same: chow mein, ketchup, sushi, taco, kumquat. Some were almost the same: soupe alphabet, sauce barbeque. Some I could guess: nouilles (noodles), pieds de cochon marines (pickled pigs feet). Some I would never have guessed: cornes de gazelle (fortune cookies), guimauve (marshmallows), pieuvre (octopus, which by the way is “taco” in Japanese), ignames (yams), vers (worms).

My favorite? Miaoum (cat food). Nom, nom!