Thursday, April 19, 2007

Shop talk

I went to get my hair cut today. The barbershop was quite busy, so I went to the bit where people were waiting, but there was nowhere to sit. An American customer in classic preppie dress-down garb - blue buttondown, chinos, deck shoes, no socks - pointed to the other side of the shop and said: "There's additional seating over there."

"Additional seating"
? That's not something that people say; it's something that appears on notices. You say "more seats" or "other chairs". People who talk about "additional seating" wear millinery on their heads and hosiery on their legs and refer to their friends and family as "personnel". But maybe not wearing socks makes you talk that way.

Newly shorn, I went to get my laptop sorted out. It's been making worrying noises, and takes an age to start up. As I was waiting for the man to do his techie magic, I browsed the bits and pieces of kit for sale, paying particular attention to sound gear. One speaker system had multilingual packaging, so I learned that the French for "subwoofer" is "le subwoofer".

Now, I may only have a mediocre O-level in French, but I've read enough Asterix to know that animal noises change identity when they cross the Channel. The French for "cock-a-doodle-doo" is "cocorico"; "oink" is always rendered as "groin". Thus, a French subwoofer is surely "un subouaouaer".

And if it isn't, it blimmin' well should be. Zut alors!

9 comments:

First Nations said...

when you've lived with a dog that says 'eeuroop' that all goes flying right out the window.

Billy said...

Don't the French have their own word for email?

Murph said...

I call my subwoofer "Oz".

patroclus said...

Billy: The Académie Francaise wanted to ban l'email and tried to enforce le courrier electronique, or le courriel for short. This didn't catch on, and the French ended up calling an email un mel.

Annie said...

I must immediately find a French person as now have a very powerful desire to hear someone say 'le subwoofer' in a French accent.

dh said...

'Additional seating' is correct. So is saluting when you pass Ronald McDonald.

YTSL said...

Hi Tim --

Hope you don't mind but I've tagged you for a meme; details of which you can find out about on your next visit to my blog. :)

Tim Footman said...

Crikey, YTSL. I've got a veritable tag backlog (a Filipino dialect?). Will attend to it...

YTSL said...

Hi again Tim --

Tag backlog? Take it as your being a very popular fellow -- as opposed to me who only has been tagged just the once! -- and that should make you feel better! :b