pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

As I found out in an entry of [livejournal.com profile] muckefuck’s, French évier “sink” comes from Latin aquarium.

So you have the double évier : aquarium in French: one an inherited word, one borrowed straight from Latin into modern French without participating in centuries of sound change. (The latter word meaning pretty much what an English speaker would expect.)

Inherited/learned doublets like these are always fun, especially if (as here) the meaning is quite a bit different. (You can also have doublets that are very close in meaning, such as fragile : frail or shirt : skirt in English. Still interesting, but not quite as impressive. Cognate triplets and quadruplets are even more fun, though I can’t think of any off-hand, especially not ones that involve complete words rather than morphemes/word-parts.)

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

I remember that I wrote something with weird symbols in a margin of a history essay at one point, and somehow that got me making a phonetic alphabet (before I had even heard of the IPA, I think), which I used to annotate the pronunciation of the French words I learned. (I think I entered new words in the booklet in normal spelling starting from the beginning of the booklet, and in phonetic respelling starting from the end.)

I don't remember much about the scheme I used, save that /ʒ/ as in "measure" was written "z͆" (even though, I think, /ʃ/ as in "ship" was "š").

I wonder where I got the idea of that weird bridge above the z from. (I also think it didn't last all that long because it was a bit awkward to write.)

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

For some reason, while I know intellectually that there are two languages in Canada and that there are areas where the majority speaks one language and areas where the majority speaks the other, I never quite internalised that fact.

I realised this when I watched a video on YouTube with a group of (I'm guessing) Canadian girls singing the "Caillou" theme song in French. And it seemed weird to me to imagine that French might be their first language, one they feel completely at home in and that they use every day—rather than a language they learned later on.

When I think of a Canadian, I think of a white person living in Vancouver, Toronto, or Edmonton and who speaks English. Imagining someone whose first language is French and who might not even know any English (or only as much as the average Anglo-Canadian [is that the term?] knows French, which is probably pretty close) seems weird.

Perhaps I need more exposure to French Canadians so that my perceptions will move closer to the reality.

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pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)
Philip Newton

June 2015

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