Search this blog

February 1, 2011

Attention à la prononciation!

Say you're hanging out with your French conversation partner; shooting the breeze and just talkin' turtlenecks--les cous roulés-- as you're wont to do. Soon the conversation might turn to homophones of  "cou." Coût means "costs," obviously. Do you know what coup means?

"Oh, like coup de foudre?" you might guess without pronouncing the last syllable as emphatically as one should. Your partners eyes would go wide, and she might ask you to repeat. "Coup de foudre. Coup de foudre! Coup de foudre? C'est quand on voit la personne on aime pour la première fois..." You'll try to explain that it's what happens when you see the person you love for the first time, and finally she'll understand that you were talking about a bolt of lightening.

You see, if you didn't pronounce the last syllable it might sound like you were saying, "Coup de foutre," which is neither love at first sight nor a lightening bolt, and she would think you were talking about being struck by a bolt of sperm.

So it's a good thing this is just a hypothetical situation and definitely didn't happen this afternoon.


  1. Hehehe... nice. The "quoi?" look of confused horror is one not easily forgotten, I've found.

  2. Ah, la prononciation française...she is tricky, yes? :-P

    I had my roomie correct the way I was saying "ce que." Here in Burgundy, I've taken on a bit of the accent and blurred the intonation as "cesque." According to roomie, who is from Champagne-Ardenne and therefore has a different French accent, it sounded as if I was saying "suce queue." :-P

    Darn the Burgundy accent...

    -Barb the French Bean