Friday, May 22, 2020

What the fork?

Dictionary.com's word of the day today is soupçon, which is pronounced, according to the people at Dictionary.com, soop-sawn or soop-sawn.

Either way is acceptable, so there is no possibility whatsoever of putting the em-pha-sis on the wrong syl-la-ble. There is also no possibility whatsoever of pronouncing it as the French do, with less of an N and a bit of a nasal H incorporated at the end (-sawnh or -sawnh, it's up to you), a sound that cannot be reproduced or accurately rendered on paper.

Dictionary.com goes on to say that soupçon is a noun and means a slight trace, as of a particular taste or flavor.

Ever helpful, Dictionary.com further states that "[t]o the Frenchless, soupçon looks as if it means “soupspoon.” In fact soupçon means “a hint, trace,” from Old French soupeçon, souspeçon, literally “suspicion, anxious worry,” from Late Latin suspectiōn– (stem of suspectiō), for Latin suspīciōn– “distrust, mistrust, suspicion.” Finally, Dictionary.com tells us that soupçon entered English in the 18th century.

I find this all very fascinating, never having suspected (see what I did there?) that soupçon and suspicion have a shared root.

Moving right along....

I do wish the French would stop dropping letters with abandon and pronouncing things through their noses. Here's an example of how English, Spanish, and French (in that order) are related using some words that start with S in English but with E in Spanish and French:

school, escuela, école
star, estrella, étoile
study, estudiar, étude
student, etudiante, étudiante
Stephen, Esteban, Etienne
Spain, España, Espagna

All righty, then.

Speaking of spoons, here's an article about forks. And here's another.

I would really like to hear your reaction to those two articles.

P.S. Telling you "here's an article" and then "here's another" reminds me of the story told of the explorer (it might have been Frank Buck) who composed a telegram to the London Zoo from Africa, "I am sending you two hippopotamuses" but started over and said "I am sending you two hippopotami" and finally sent this version: "I am sending you a hippopotamus. By the way, I am sending you another hippopotamus."

If you're looking for the tar and feathers, you will have to wait your turn in line.

19 comments:

  1. The idea of an electric fork is ridiculous - just a here-today-gone-tomorrow fad. However, I found the consideration of the fork in American dining most interesting - especially as the majority of forks used in American during the eighteenth century would have come from my adopted city - Sheffield. Up to this day, many English people are quietly disturbed by American dining habits and what we see as misuse of the fork.

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    Replies
    1. Yorkshire Pudding (Neil), I agree about the ridiculousness of an electric fork and really couldn't care less that many English people are quietly disturbed by American dining habits. What we see is your misuse of the fork.

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    2. It is not a matter of "couldn't care less". I am simply observing in a socio-cultural manner. It is not a view I have ever held myself because in my opinion the purpose of cutlery is to move food from the plate to the mouth.

      Delete
    3. Neil, just like the purpose of a car is to get you from one place to another, but don't tell Clint.

      Delete
  2. The articles were interesting: the second one momentarily so.

    Having been brought up in a household where table manners were very important I was perplexed when I first went to France (where they, most sensibly, turn the fork over to eat peas) and America (where you know exactly what is done). It took me well over 70 years to decide that I would be sensible and eat peas the French way. The fact that I rarely have gravy on my meals means that I have nothing with which to glue the peas onto the fork).

    As for pronunciation I have a 'neutral' English accent which has, as times, been the bane of my life. I was taught elocution at Prep School by a French lady. In England I was often referred to as 'posh' (which I objected to strongly) and in Scotland people assume that I am from the South of England (which I object to even more strongly).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Graham, Americans will never understand mashing peas and potatoes and possibly gravy together on the back of a fork. It is simply beyond our comprehension and quite startling to observe.

      Not having heard you speak, I have no thoughts about the 'poshness' of your accent or whether you sound like you come from the South of England. To me you will always be Graham Edwards from Eagleton, 7 miles from Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides (also known as the Western Isles) of Scotland, who used to spend half the year in New Zealand. That is a mouthful!

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    2. Thank you, Bob, for your charming comment. I am delighted to be known as you described. I'm so glad, by the way, that you noticed you slight error before I came to comment.

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    3. Graham, my first thought upon spotting the goof was "I hope Graham hasn't read this yet." But you're too fast for me. My brain is now in gear but my fingers still operate more or less automatically and old habits are hard to break.

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  3. Both fork articles are interesting. The electric fork scares me a little.

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  4. I find it strange that the introduction of electricity to a fork is supposed to have an effect on our taste buds? At least that is what I understood from the article. Personally I prefer to not put electricity in my mouth!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bonnie, what about an electric or battery-operated toothbrush?

      Delete
  5. I'll go back and read the articles, but for now, how do you type the cedilla? I haven't seen the symbol on my phone's keypad. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, I was going to point you to this table:

      https://www.starr.net/is/type/htmlcodes.html

      but you were too fast for me.

      Delete
  6. Found it ç ...learn something new every day. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, glad you found it! This table:

      https://www.starr.net/is/type/htmlcodes.html

      gives you both the alphabetic and numeric HTML codes in case you prefer one way over the other. I use the alpha ones becaue they're much easier to remember.

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    2. Thanks!!
      Hope you are having a good Memorial weekend. Thank you for your service

      Delete
  7. Nakamura-san has invented yet another gift for the person who has everything or those driven to acquire the latest toy/fad.
    I understand the salting or not salting of food and do not need a fancy fork to save me from bland food.
    As for the use of forks, I grew up using my knife and fork English style and still do. However times and food fashions change and if I'm eating what I call bowl food I will eat using a fork in my right hand.
    A foot in both camps. Or maybe that should be a fork in both hands.
    Alphie

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