Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pardon Your French, Malaysians!

Okay, so I am cruising my facebook newsfeed and Jit Murad's status catches my eye and causes my heart to surge and my senses to be inflamed: he bemoans the over-use and misuse of the French preposition "d' " in Malaysian titles, names and brands.

Obviously people are looking for that luxe touch, something classy, European, whatever. So they see French names and words and assume that this is how things are spelled. The first name I can think of is "D'Artagnan", a character from The Three Musketeers.

The name means something like "of Artagnan", like "son of Artagnan" or "from the family / house of Artagnan". The D' is functional, it has meaning. It is also a short form of either "De", "Du" or "Des" - each being feminine, masculine or plural forms of "of" or "from".

Now, I did French at school for about three years. I can't remember much, nor can I articulate grammatical rules well, even for English. I do know that the reason why the preposition is shortened to D' is because the immediately following word begins with a vowel. If it were in its extended form, it would be a little less fluent to say. For example, it's easier and sounds better to say "D'Artagnan" ("dartanyan") than De Artagnan.

So when I see such monstrosities as


I just see ignorance dressed up with some weird, tacked-on sophistication. UGH!

People obviously think this is a cool way to write "the", don't they? Stick your tongue between your teeth, "the" is not pronounced "de".

(I have made these names up because there are SOOOOOO many people out there who are guilty of this. If you really have a brand name of any of the above - it is purely coincidental)

After reading that FB post, I felt compelled to be very anal and patronising and to tell those who don't know, that not knowing is not an excuse for ignorance. If you don't know how to use it, it definitely shows when you do.  So all those crummy people out there massacreing the French language and laughing it off, fine, do what you wish.

But it shows that YOU HAVE NO IDEA.

In the end, it's not really about the French language is it? It's about your kebodohsombongan! How is that for language? :p


(why must i?)
In this insanely sensitive atmosphere, I would like to state that this is a blog post, not an essay, article for formal publication or newsmedia publication. It's intended to be a laugh, but if you don't like the joke, feel free not to laugh.


pye:rudz said...

i did notice this but never thought of writing about it.
and yeah, am sick of it as well.

Jordan said...

I wrote about this a few years ago:

That was three years ago and since then I've seen so many examples of D'Something that I've given up trying to figure it out, but yeah I still find it strange.

mamasan said...

i wouldn't be so put off about it if I didn't think the use of it was out of a desire to look cooler or more sophisticated. Yet it just smacks of tacky!

There are other irritating things I suppose, like people who say "icebok" when they mean fridge - i know, terribly meanspirited of me!

Hav a lovely Raya and break ;)


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