Thursday, April 08, 2004

already old

This is the east coast elite?
Having a waitress who pronounced "bruschetta" like "broo-sket-a," however, is somewhat sub-optimal.
Not only Mr. Yglesias, but his interlocutors, who charmingly seem to think "quixotic" is a spanish word, and that the french pronounce déjà vu "deja vyu" [hence, the joke above, which is even less funny now that I've explained it]. Along with the usual subject-verb agreement difficulties.

More constructively, this is the intelligent argument for mispronunciation, from Fowler:

To say a French word in the middle of an English sentence exactly as it would be said by a Frenchman in a French sentence is a feat demanding an acrobatic mouth; the muscles have to be suddenly adjusted to a performance of a different nature, and then as suddenly recalled to the normal state. It is a feat that should not be attempted. The greater its success as a tour de force, the greater its failure as a step in the conversational progress; for your collocutor, aware that he could not have done it himself, has his attention distracted whether he admires or is humiliated. All that is necessary is is a polite acknowledgement of indebtedness to the french language indicated by some approach in some part of the word to the foreign sound, and even this only when the difference between the foreign and the corresponding natural English sound is too marked to escape a dull ear.
But this does not apply to bruschetta: in italian, ch (followed by a vowel) is the k phoneme, which requires no unfamiliar exertions on the part of an english-speaker. So there is absolutely no reason to mispronounce the word except for ignorance.

Tune in tomorrow and I will expound on the niceties of ordering a single biscotto.

[This is all wonkette's fault.]


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