SPICY LANGUAGE.

Or, in its own words, Langue sauce piquante: Le blog des correcteurs du Monde.fr: the blog of the proofreaders of Le Monde. If you know French, or are trying to learn, this is a great way to immerse yourself. A recent entry discussed the history of the multivalent word sacre (carrying both the positive and negative connotations of Latin sacer); another explains why you sometimes have to use the singular even when it seems you’re talking about something plural. I have to say, though, that I’m not sure they properly understand the quaint sexist outcry “Va va voom!” (or, as they have it, “Va va voum !”), since they include it in an entry on onomatopeia; like the similar “Hubba hubba!” it’s more a venting of primal emotion in assonant syllables than an attempt to represent a natural sound, like “oink.” (Thanks to Mark for the link!)

Comments

  1. And note the nice pun/polysemy and thus translation problem in the blog’s name. You’d rather find langue sauce piquante on restaurant menus than anywhere else.
    I’m extremely glad that there’s now a second readable French blog on language that I know of.

  2. What if the original “va va voom,” the one in the movie, was onomatopoeic (engine revving up), and that in the Renault Clio commercial simply expressed emotion?
    I’m going sound odd now, but compare this song “received from the spirit” of Mother Ann (Lee) — and the last words of Fowles’ Maggot.

  3. Cryptic Ned says:

    This is a bit of a minor point, but I’ve always heard it as “va va va voom!”, not “va va voom!”. There’s a big difference in terms of the buildup to the eventual Voom.

  4. That blog is linguistically deep. Editors and proofreaders are already nitpicky, and now they’re blogging about it.
    And what timing: didn’t the editor of Le Monde just step down today?

  5. Thanks to Mark for the link!
    And thanks to the hat for posting it! I found it here, which would be a third readable French blog.

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