Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Where do people get the idea that the French pronounce voilà as "wah-lah"? Are they confusing French with German? But even in German, the "v" doesn't sound like a "w": it's pronounced like an "f."

And while I'm at it:

The expression coup de grâce is not pronounced "koo duh grah." See that "e" on the end of grâce? That means you pronounce the "c" right before it: "koo deu grahss."

The word gras, pronounced "grah" in French, is usually an adjective meaning "fat," but can also be a noun signifying fatness, fatty tissue, etc. The mispronunciation "koo duh grah" calls to mind a well-endowed woman crushing my skull by whipping her torso at my face.

Ah, sweet fantasy...



Elisson said...

I'm sorry - you've assumed that Americans are not ignorant. Oops!

Charles said...

And yet, Germans with strong accents sometimes pronounce "v" as "w" when speaking English. At least, this has been my experience. I've always been puzzled by this, and the best I can come up with is that since "w" sounds like "v" in German, they are applying the same logic backward and assuming that "v" will sound like "w". I don't know, though.

Anyway, do people really pronounce "voilà" as "wallah"? Has it been that long that I just don't remember?

Kevin Kim said...


Yeah, I heard "wallah" on a TV show just the other day.

Good point about Germans speaking English.