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    Well, the Scots say "Fook" too. Maybe he just talks that way.

    uuuugh, I know what you mean with that "Van GOGHCKKK" silliness!

    You won't have fallen into the real trap until you hear yourself saying: Meeekay, meeekay, meeekay, meeekay mowuse, meeekay mowuse while counting your fingers. Ask a French school kid to show you zat one.

    "Chee-lay," anyone?

    oh no! I'm guilty of the Chee-lay as I used to live in Mee-ah-mee.

    btw, Coquette, bravo on mastering those technical terms! You're entering a whole other level of French sophistication, il parait.

    Ugh, I can't stand the Van Gogh crap.

    I had my first "real" job in Paris, and now have a hard time remembering words like "fichier" in english. I think my co-workers just find me snobby.

    I too am guilty of saying Chee-lay but usually only when speaking to friends whose first language is Spanish.

    Oh, and the Van Gogh thing has always bothered me.

    Seems like Cheelay might be inching its way into being non-pretentious.

    La Dauphine, thanks! I actually get by pretty well in French except for all those times that I'm making horrible embarassing errors.

    I had an ex-boyfriend from Swistzerland who wanted to take me to see "Speederman" instead of Spiderman.

    I still laugh when I think of it.

    mon dieu...I AM that person...not the van gogh person, but the "if i were in paris " person. i don't think i can help it....i simply MUST sprinkle my english with all the french i know. use it or lose it

    What drives me NUTS is when Americans say stuff like "she has a certain Je-ne-sais-quoi" (jennasaykwah).

    And there are more of these but my brain is trying to forget.

    Ah but you, La Dauphine and Dagny, each have a perfectly legitimate excuse. Most yuppies here in Chicago do not.

    Typical american mis-pronunciation of french words drives me crazy, too. Especially the DOUBLE mis-pronunciation of "lingerie." Heard on NPR this morning -- a report of the manifs in Aulnay-sous-Bois by a reporter who couldn't even say "brasserie" right. C'mon, guys, that's so totally easay.

    Yes, but when encountering an unwanted suitor, "I am zorry, I do not zpeak Eengleeesh," is so perfect. Then again, if they're really a jerk, "I'm sorry, I don't speak English," may be more deserved.

    Last week, I was at work on the phone with my boss, talking about a report I was supposed to have read.
    And before I could stop it, I blurted out the sentence: "Je suis vraiment désolée, je n'ai pas eu le temps de le lire, la semaine a vraiment été hectic."
    And the worst is, I said the last word with a very RP British accent.

    Oh, shame. Definitely.

    oh god, I had an ex-boyfriend who used to get mad at me for pronouncing words like "Notre Dame" (the cathedral, not the school) with a French accent because they were, well, French. I tried not to, but it was hard as I was teaching French and trying to teach pronunciation. He thought I was doing it on purpose, and it was one of the reasons we broke up. Really.

    Sorry to get off topic, but am I the only one who was slightly intrigued by you "shopping for lingerie and having a hot-water tank installed?" I'm sure it even sounds better in the French.

    Well right here I need to step in and say that I am one of the people who are "guilty" of pronouncing Van Gogh's name correctly. I don't see what's wrong with that. I make an effort to say "Coelin Powell" (presumably because the guy doesn't know how to pronounce his own name properly), so why don't you make a bit of effort to get a famous painter's name right?

    IS it "correctly"? I'm under the impression that that gutteral sound is rubbish. And there's nothing more disrespectful than to mispronounce someone's name, famous or not.

    From Wikipedia:

    * The correct pronunciation of "van" is like the English word "fun".
    * The correct pronunciation of "Gogh" starts and ends with a similar consonant sound to the Scottish word "loch", and also has a similar vowel sound.

    Asking a Dutch person for directions to the "van go" museum will usually lead to a look of either confusion or contempt. A better approximation of the correct pronunciation for non-Dutch speakers is "fun hoh".

    Yes, but I'm talking about countrymen interacting with their own countrymen.

    There was a girl in my Alliance Francaise class from Germany who made a point of mentioning, often apropos of god-knows-what, that in GERMANY we ALWAYS pronounce famous people's names as they should be pronounced in their own country. Okay, so the girl was annoying, but if that’s how you do in Germany, then it’s not pretentious.

    In America, my feeling is, feh. If I'm trying to impress a professor or an art curator or something I might go for the artist's native pronunciation--I can be fawning that way. And of course we all say “MoNAY” for Monet. But when someone goes out of their way to say any sort of pronunciation that you wouldn’t hear on NBC nightly news or in your average high school classroom (where they would just say “Van Go”) then yeah, it's a little pretentious.

    But if you say Van GoCK with a playful twinkle in your eye, you win my vote. It shows you *know* but you’re not trying to high-hat me.

    I work in the arts in the USA and the overriding sentiment is that you pronounce Van Gogh (VAN GO).

    Van Gok is seen as being unnecissary and pretentious. And if it's pretentious for the art community, than well!...


    My beef is ordering "bruschetta" at an Italian restaurant in the States. If I pronouce it "broo-skeh-ta," the waiter rolls his eyes at me. If I pronounce it like every other American ("broo-sheh-ta"), I have to listen to a lecture on Italian pronounciation from my learned frere who spent half a year in Italy, doing what else besides eating bruschetta and studying Italian.

    Rock, me, hard place. (In that order.)

    (By the way, it's strictly "Van GO" for me. I spent the entire audio tour at the Musee D'Orsay being pissed off at my pompous ass of a narrator.)

    For the record, roger, I think correcting a person's name (who's LIVING no less) that their mother gave them because they "don't know how to pronounce their own name properly" exceeds arrogance!

    Um... wikipedia hardly counts as a source. I mean, you could have written that... after spending some time in Chile, I came to a middle-ground-- a kind of "Chill-lay"

    oooh, everyone's getting huffy. Potato potato. Van Gogh, van Gogh.

    Whatever. My name's been mispronounced my whole life. I'm not losing any sleep over it.

    Je te sens tendue aujourd'hui... ;-)

    And by the way, i pronounce Van Gorrrr ! ;-D

    I'm confused about what my options are. If I'm from the Midwest (which I am), am I supposed to pronounce things the correct way or the incorrect way? I'm supposed to say "chili" instead of "Cheelay"? Or is there a third option I'm missing? I mean, I get that Americans don't know how to pronounce many foreign words. But then are we supposed to try, or not? Sorry, I'm not trying to be critical, just need clarification.

    Well, in the case of Chile, I think that if you're speaking English, and have little or no knowledge of Spanish, are in the Midwest (as I am), etc., etc., then it is a bit pretentious to say Cheelay. Basically, if it's not how you would normally pronounce it (in English, at least), then it's pretentious. If you're speaking English, there's nothing wrong with pronouncing a country the English way. I mean, when you mention Spain in English, do you say Espana?

    Which brings up a question: why did people pick Chile for varied pronunciation, anyway?

    Hey Coquette- We are hearing about all the trouble in Paris' suburbs. Can you please give us an update and let us know what the mood is like there? Thx, J

    No relation with your post but I see I am in your blogroll so somehow, you might have been paying me a visit sometimes. Drop me a line and I'll be glad to give you the pass for the protected access. a bientot


    I thought about it a bit more and it strikes me that the first thing that comes out of your mouth, the way you want to pronounce the word without forethought, is just fine. I mean, if you want to say van Gok, and it comes out naturally out of repeated use, people shouldn't jump to their own conclusions and think you're pretentious. I think, if you're thinking about it, and choosing something based on expectations, that's when it becomes bad. If I'm around my North American friends, and suddenly Ahch'n'Em comes out instead of Aitch and Em, I would hope they forgive me.

    I'm not that bothered by franglais because sometimes there are words that are more precise in France. For example, in contemporary art, a dispositive is different from an installation. I'm not running around saying "dispositive" all the time, but if I feel my anglophone friend can understand me, I'll use the word. It's more precise.

    I believe the english language has only profited from the influx of new words gleaned from other languages. So why be such a nit-wit nit-picker?

    For some of us, it's really difficult to break the habit. Being raised in francophone Louisiana (though I've learnt that many non-francophones also learn French pronunciations if only from people and place names), I learnt French pronunciation for a lot of words (places, people, etc.) before the English/American one and find it difficult to switch between the two depending on which language I'm using (I also find it difficult to not using various French constructions in English outside of home, but that's something else entirely). Having studied Japanese and Chinese and grown up with many Vietnamese and Spanish speakers, I similarily find myself pronouncing things in such a way simply because that's how I hear it in my head. I can't say "Pekin" for "Beijing" (with a hard "j") simply because that's not how it comes to me. I feel terrible that people think that I'm being snooty when I do such things, and I'm sure that many others feel the same.

    (And, to share something that amused my college friends in Michigan to no end: I had no idea that the name of the university of "Notre Dame" was not pronounced in the same manner as the cathedral, churches, etc. We always referred to anything with "Notre Dame" as "Our Lady" in English. Oh, the embarassment. ~_~)

    really, ms coquette - are you folks hanging in there ok? are the riots near you? sounds like it's everywhere. :\ or are you on your way to chicago already?

    You must say :
    lettre recommandée
    with a "e" at the end, because letter is feminine ;-)

    You must say :
    lettre recommandée
    with a "e" at the end, because letter is feminine ;-)

    You must say :
    lettre recommandée
    with a "e" at the end, because letter is feminine ;-)

    Chee-lay - I think this might be so common because even in English, when you refer to, for example, the Chilean government, you would say "Chee-lay-an." (Right? Or am I so out of it that most people would say "Chilly-an"? If so, ignore this!). So it's easy to do the back-formation back to "Chee-lay." After reading all this I'm starting to worry that I'm going to be paralyzed saying any foreign word in English like I am when I come to the word "aunt..." which to use, which to use! As for the "Reetz" guy, maybe he just is doing it to amuse himself, like I did yesterday when I was telling everyone I was going home to watch "Dtopgahn, with Val Keel-mAIR and Dtomcruz." Because it's just... fun to say!

    I think maybe I'm the one who's out of it. See, the only time I hear "Chee-lay" is when the person speaking (clearly) goes out of their way to pronounce it so, and after deliberation. The only time I hear it is when it's said pretentiously. (And when I'm speaking in Spanish, but obviously...)

    This is probably getting way off track, but I meant to point out the distinction between the way the adjective "Chilean" is pronounced (as opposed to the noun "Chile"). I have only heard "Chee-lay-an", never "Chilly-an" for the adjective. But maybe that is what many English speakers say, and I'm just wrong. But if I'm right, then I was just offering that as an explanation for why Chile in particular (as opposed to any other Spanish-speaking country) was being pronounced in the Spanish way by English-speakers - because they are equating it to the way they pronounce the adjective.

    Let me mention I used to have a teacher that would say ve-je-ta-bles instead of vegetables. How annoying is that? She had an out-date British accent. Taught history of costume, and pronounced Biba like Bee-Bvar. I coudn't make it out until i finally read the spelling. I thought she was saying Beaver.

    What about "chaise lounge"?

    A friend who works for DSW would pronouce it as "chase" lounge but my francophone ears would cringe. "No, no!... it's shezzzzz!!"

    That's ridiculous. If there is a particular correct pronunciation for a name of a country, or city, or whatever...and you KNOW the correct way to say it by the standards of a local native of that place, Then do so.
    It shows you actually know something besides what is in your back yard.
    There is a difference between pronouncing something correctly, and interjecting an accent 'just because'.

    Hello - "chaise" is FRENCH for chair. It is a word we Americans took from the French, therefore pronoucing it with the proper accent shows you "know something besides what is in your backyard."

    La Dauphine, therefore we agree...

    Then forgive me. I thought you'd meant that I'd be using an affected French accent for no reason, which would be absurd (even for moi). :)

    I checked out this site and kind of love it I would love for more photos of the boroughs and northern Manhattan Anyone got em?

    I checked out this site and kind of love it I would love for more photos of the boroughs and northern Manhattan Anyone got em?

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

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