Archive for the ‘French’ Category

All about -ette

March 28, 2021

Diminutive, feminine (in some sense), both. In the One Big Happy strip of 3/4, in my comics feed on 3/36:

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In modern English — that’s important — the suffix -ette has two relatively productive — that’s also important — functions: as a literal diminutive, referring to a small version of the referent of the base to which –ette is attached (“diminutive” suffixes can have a variety of other functions, notably as expressing affection towards this referent); and as a literal feminine, referring to a female version of the referent of the base to which –ette is attached (“feminine” suffixes can have a variety of other functions, notably as markers of grammatical gender (ggender), as opposed to natural, or sex, gender (ngender); English doesn’t have ggender).

The big generalization about modern English is that –ette attached to bases with inanimate reference (like disk) tends to have the literally diminutive function (diskette), while attached to bases with human (or, more generally, higher-animate) reference (like usher), –ette tends to have the literally feminine function (usherette). Novel formations follow the generalization: a spoonette would be a small spoon, not a spoon in female shape, or a spoon intended for use by girls and women; while a guardette would be a female guard (perhaps viewed dismissively or derogatorily), not a miniature guard.

Ruthie’s brother Joe apparently fails to appreciate the big –ette generalization, and takes a bachelorette to be a miniature bachelor, rather than the female counterpart of a bachelor (in Joe’s terms, a grown-up girl — a woman — who isn’t married yet).

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More for the birds

September 5, 2020

Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky arrived this morning with a collection of astonishing bird-related birthday presents for me: a ground-hugging bird bath, a Water Wiggler for the bird bath, and a hanging metal mesh bird feeder in the shape of a penguin. (There’s always something penguin-related.)

None of these is a standard item for the yard or patio, but Elizabeth has been cultivating birds in her own backyard and now knows a lot about bird gear. (Oddly, though she lives only about six blocks from me, she has bird visitors I do not: hummingbirds, chickadees, and parakeets, in particular).

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It’s a metaphor, son!

January 21, 2020

On Facebook recently, this supermarket snap, presumably from a store in Quebec, with a notable offering highlighted:


(#1) Five parts to the labeling: the name of the product in French (ailes de lapin); the name of the company (Canabec, a Quebec distributor of game — gibiers — and exotic meats; cf. elsewhere Plaisirs Gastronomiques, a Quebec company offering gourmet food, and Gaspésien, another Quebec fine food company); the name of the product in English (rabbit wings); the weight (in grams); and the price (in C$ / CA$ / CAD)

Much FB merriment over ailes de lapin ‘rabbit wings’, to which I responded:

Um, these are rabbit legs, right? Metaphorical? They resemble chicken wings and can be cooked in all the same ways. (Chinese rabbit wings are yummy.) M. Lapin: “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! for then I would fly away, and be at rest.” (Psalm 55) — later adding: “Oh, that I had wings like a rabbit! for then I would bound away, and be at rest.”

It’s a metaphor, son! A metaphor! Apparently one that is dead in Quebec, and so unremarkable in Quebecois — cf. Fr chauve-souris ‘bat’ (lit. ‘bald mouse’), Engl head of lettuce (where are its eyes and mouth?), and other dead metaphors that become entertaining when you attempt to breathe life back into them.

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A syncretic religious holiday

December 8, 2019

Recently posted on Facebook, this melding of the traditions of Judaism with the traditions of Jedi-ism for the holiday season, in French:


(#1) ‘May the light be with you’: the Jedi Master Yoda wields a lightsword menorah for Hanukkah (Fr. Hanoucca) — Happy Hanukkah! (Joyeuse fête de Hanoucca!)

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V me, I’m Irish

March 17, 2019

(Men’s bodies and tons of mansex — anal, anal, anal — in street language. No actual penises on display, but nevertheless absolutely not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Padraig porn for the day:


(#1) The TitanMen gay porn sale for this weekend: Kiss me, I’m Irish

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le naufrage, le naufragé

March 16, 2019

A dire nautical theme in today’s morning names: le naufrage ‘shipwreck, sinking’ and le naufragé ‘shipwreck victim, castaway’, powerful elements of popular culture and frequent subjects of news stories, books, and films.

I was first taken to le naufrage de l’Andrea Doria, an event that vividly evoked the summer before my junior year in high school; then (among the innumerable fictional representations of shipwrecks and castaways, going back to the Odyssey and before) to Tom Hanks in the appalling Cast Away; and, then, through the whimsicalities of googling, to Le naufragé (English title Stranded), a 2009 short comedy-drama film — about which I can find virtually nothing of substance.

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The MetaCat

March 3, 2019

From various friends on Facebook who know that I’m interested in meta-comics, this 4/21/17 Imbattable strip by Pascal Jousselin, in an English translation:


(#1) Imbattable (‘Unbeatable’) is a bandit superhero in a yellow and black costume

Among Imbattable’s superpowers is his ability to break the walls of the cartoon’s panels and freely move between them. With the result that temporarily, in the fourth panel, the cat is in two places at once — a phenomenon that unsettles both the cat and the old lady.

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French 2sg pronouns

February 10, 2019

On the Language Nerd Facebook page yesterday, this playfully framed, but seriously intended, flowchart, “Your guide to being polite in French”, for choosing between the 2sg pronouns tu (‘familiar’) and vous (‘polite’) in current French — a bow to the treatment of T and V pronouns in Brown & Gilman 1960:

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News for French penises

October 6, 2018

Passed on by friends on Facebook, a French dildo / vibrator in the shape of La Tour Eiffel:

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Yes, you can pleasure yourself (vaginally or anally) with a replica of this world-famous landmark. While enjoying its punning name (La Tour Est Folle lit. ‘The Tower is Crazy’, but see below — with the pun pairing Eiffel – est folle).

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The Gay Village, Swiss Chalet, poutine

August 8, 2018

Further notes on the 31st motss.con in Montréal (which came to an end with a stragglers’ breakfast on Monday); background in my 8/3 posting “The rainbow pillars of Montréal”. And further explorations of things Swiss, or at least things called Swiss, in particular that Canadian institution, the Swiss Chalet restaurant chain. Motssers on holiday in Québec, food: that means poutine, (by report) consumed often and by many during the con.

Brief visual background on the con’s location, the Gay Village of the city:


(#1) Aerial view of Rue Ste-Catherine E. in the Gay Village, with its overhead rainbow-colored balls (from Chris Ambidge)

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