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Author Topic: Pronounciation Cheat-Sheet  (Read 7838 times)
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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« on: September 13, 2007, 05:04:36 AM »

I grew up with half a family who had their own interesting pronounciations for many English words. That must be why I have such a horrible time with pronounciations. I tend to pronounce it as I see it.  Roll Eyes So... I thought it was time for a little cheat sheet.

Just to get us started, here are a few fashion words. I looked them up on dictionary.com since my good dictionary is at home. Some weren't available.

Paletot (type of coat) “Pal – toh”
Basque (type of bodice or jacket) “bask”
Pardessus (type of coat)
Pelisse (type of coat) “puh-lees” (French)
Bavolet (curtain on bonnet)
Casaque  “ka-zak” (this is different than I thought)
Watteau “wo-toh”
Burnous “ber-noos”
Polonaise “pol-uh-neyz”
Guipure “gi-pyoor”
Coiffure “kwah-fyoor”
Coronet “kawr-un-net”


Anna
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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Carolann Schmitt
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2007, 06:09:07 AM »

Pardessus (type of coat) "par-doos"

To add to the list:
Voile (type of fabric) - French pronunciation "vwahl", English pronunciation "voyl"
Engageantes - (undersleeve) "on-gah-jhant"
Zouave (soldier or type of military uniform) - "Zuave" (rhymes with suave), not Zoo-ahv
Matelasse (type of fabric) - "mat-luh-say"
Marseilles (type of fabric) - "Mar-say"

I can't take credit for all of these. I have a good friend with a PhD in French who serves as my personal translator - very helpful when your language skills are limited to English, German and Latin.  Smiley


Carolann
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Carolann Schmitt - Only a historian understands how much you need to know in order to recognize how much you don't know. - Elizabeth Ann Coleman
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2007, 06:50:34 AM »

Thank you for the additions. It looks like I learned a popular one wrong  Smiley

I used to have a co-worker friend who taught French that I could ask. Then she took another job.

If folks don't mind, once we have a lengthy list, I'll alphabetize them in a pdf form.

Anna
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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Straw & Winter Millinery - Available on Etsy
Fanciful Utility: Victorian Sewing Cases & Needle-books
From Field to Fashion: The Straw Bonnet
NoahBriggs
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« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2007, 08:48:07 AM »

Zouave (soldier or type of military uniform) - "Zuave" (rhymes with suave), not Zoo-ahv

Although mispronouncing it could also be period-correct.  Not everyone was up on their French back in the day.  I am so used to hearing it pronounced "zoo-ahv" that the "wrong" pronunciation has embedded itself in my brain as the "correct one".  And here I have good French pronunciation!  Embarrassed
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2007, 09:13:39 AM »

Although mispronouncing it could also be period-correct.  Not everyone was up on their French back in the day.  I am so used to hearing it pronounced "zoo-ahv" that the "wrong" pronunciation has embedded itself in my brain as the "correct one".  And here I have good French pronunciation!  Embarrassed

While wandering to the main office to see if there was any chocolate, a similar thought crossed my mind. How might a woman who never studied French have pronounced the words she read in a magazine? Would she have used the pronounciation she guessed? Would she have avoided the use of the word until she heard the proper pronounciation? Who would have actually known the French pronounications? Who would have studied French? How many of the unfamiliar words were French? Did we develop our own Americanisms for these same garments? (Check Americanisms dictionaries online.) How would others react to a mispronounced word in public? (depends on the part of society.) Right about then I found a nice chocolate brownie.

Anna
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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Straw & Winter Millinery - Available on Etsy
Fanciful Utility: Victorian Sewing Cases & Needle-books
From Field to Fashion: The Straw Bonnet
NoahBriggs
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« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2007, 03:41:49 PM »

Just read the Dictionary of Americanisms, cover to cover. (Oh, the joys of light office days.)  Very few, if any French terms that got assimilated into English, let alone the clothing terms.  It was mostly Spanish, or words invented by Americans or the vulgar pronunciations of regular words.

Those with higher education could possibly know French.  Major science, military and civil engineering and math texts were in French, imported directly from Paris.  French was also the official language of diplomacy.  This is why it was taught at West Point.  Thus an example of French terms you will see in military science-

defilade: (def -il-ayd) cover
enfilade: (on-fill-odd) to flank someone, the flanks
ambuscade: (aym-byoo-scod) ambush
debouche: (dee-boosh) to deploy from a narrow passage.  The Spartan hunks in 300 debouched from the Gates of Fire Passage to defend the road.

Military engineering has fancy French terms for the different parts of a trench, and the types of fortifications, including the masonry forts.

You want chocolate?  Get past our security and you will drown in chocolate on our floor.  It's coin of the realm around here.  I'm talking delicious junk food, Halloween Overdose chocolate, not the rich truffles guys buy girls once a year on Valentine's Day.  Grin
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Elizabeth
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« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2007, 03:55:31 PM »

I'm wondering if novels might not be a good source for American mis-pronounciations?  Things that are written from a middle class point of view, with a somewhat condescending air, tend to write down the dialects of "lesser classes" and "social climbers" alike, very phonetically.
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Elizabeth
Trish Hasenmueller
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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2007, 05:49:58 PM »

I also think novels and stories in magazines are a good way to get pronunciations.  I also think you have to consider accents when you begin pronouncing words.  At the Trial event I had a Godey's from Jan. 1861 and attempted to read "Mrs. Ward's Visit with the Prince."  It was pretty funny when I, with my Tennessee accent, began trying to read Mrs. Ward's vernacular...from New Hampshire, no less!  I just had to change it into something you could consider 'country'.  I don't know if the audience was laughing more at Mrs. Ward's antics or me trying to read what she said!

Trish Hasenmueller
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NoahBriggs
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2007, 03:15:56 AM »

I don't know if the audience was laughing more at Mrs. Ward's antics or me trying to read what she said!

  Both.   Grin
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2007, 04:48:49 AM »

Just read the Dictionary of Americanisms, cover to cover. (Oh, the joys of light office days.) 

Is it a good thing or a bad thing I have occasionally done this in previous years? I started with one on webroots. Now that there are downloadable ones on Googlebooks, I'll work through those. I would prefer one I can sit with during the winter and read at home.

Chocolate - At the table set-up for a leaving co-worker, I found a delicious, dense chocolate chunk brownie.

Anna
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
http://annaworden.wordpress.com/
Straw & Winter Millinery - Available on Etsy
Fanciful Utility: Victorian Sewing Cases & Needle-books
From Field to Fashion: The Straw Bonnet
Trish Hasenmueller
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2007, 05:02:06 AM »

...and I thought you slept through that story, Noah!  You must've been 'resting your eyes'.

Trish Hasenmueller
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Amanda Rawls
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« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2007, 05:52:46 AM »

there's only one term I know for sure, and it's barouche - 'ba-roosh'. What about fiacre?
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NoahBriggs
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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2007, 06:50:38 AM »

...and I thought you slept through that story, Noah!  You must've been 'resting your eyes'.
Trish Hasenmueller


I am a farb - my eyes were on screensaver, not resting.  Embarrassed
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NoahBriggs
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« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2007, 06:52:40 AM »

Now that I think on it, French terms will show up in Louisiana.  That's a "well, duh" moment.

Pirogue (peer-og)  a boat carved from a tree trunk to travel the bayous.
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
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« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2007, 07:18:18 AM »

I've been looking at various dictionaries and language manuals this morning. Louisiana is a good point. NOLA must have had some publishing. I'll see what is out there digitally. Then ask my librarian.

Anna
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Anna Worden Bauersmith
http://annaworden.wordpress.com/
Straw & Winter Millinery - Available on Etsy
Fanciful Utility: Victorian Sewing Cases & Needle-books
From Field to Fashion: The Straw Bonnet
NoahBriggs
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« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2007, 11:44:56 AM »

Try Maine and Quebec, too.  That's where the Cajuns were before they got the boot.

"Cajun" is a corruption of the word "Acadien".
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Cassandra
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« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2007, 02:58:08 PM »

Here's one my parents and I had a little argument over.
                         _
   Chemise (She-mez')

Both of us were wrong! They thought the "ch" sounded like a "k" and I thought the "i" was long! 
  I'm also the kind of person that calls 'em as I see's 'em. Tongue
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iphigenia
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« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2007, 06:18:43 PM »

Pirogue (peer-og)  a boat carved from a tree trunk to travel the bayous.

Not to be confused with "pierogi," those delicious carb-laden Polish dumplings!
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NoahBriggs
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« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2007, 03:09:42 AM »



  'Rogies.  Yum, yum!   Grin

  Chemise (Shem-'meeze) from the French.  Again.  Is sont fous, les francais!!  Literally means "shirt", and in today's world is the name of the under top for a shirt in the absence of a brassiere.
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Glenna Jo Christen
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« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2007, 11:21:08 AM »

How might a woman who never studied French have pronounced the words she read in a magazine? Would she have used the pronunciation she guessed? Would she have avoided the use of the word until she heard the proper pronunciation? Who would have actually known the French pronunciations? Who would have studied French? How many of the unfamiliar words were French? Did we develop our own Americanisms for these same garments?

You and Noah brought up very important points regarding pronunciations. Young ladies who attended "female academies" and the like very well may have learned French and even "proper" French if they had a good teacher, but the majority of women probably didn't have that opportunity. As a result, I suspect a significant portion if not a majority of women probably made hash of French terms. As for men. educated men learned classical Greek and Latin rather than French so they were rarely in a position to correct (or even care Wink) if a woman mispronounced a French term.

French fashion terms were deemed important enough though to be a significant part of the "Dictionary of Millinery and Dress-Making." in Beadle's Dime Guide to Dress-Making and Millinery Unfortunately, the dictionary did not include any pronunciation guides, only brief definitions. Sad

Glenna Jo (who once had a very good German accent, but still mangles French)
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