Saturday, July 7, 2007


As I mentioned before, Colin and I are experiencing a bit of homesickness and culture shock. One of the many ways that I have felt disoriented in New Orleans is my new found inability to pronounce anything. As you might be able to guess, a large number of streets, restaurants and public buildings have names which are french in origin. This actually presents no problem for me, because although I failed grade school french, I am pretty capable of pronouncing french words and understanding the basic linguistic rules that govern french pronunciation. The problem I am having is the words which through the course of history have become purely "New Orleanian" in pronunciation.

Now a similar phenomenon existed in Illinois (who can forget Versailles pronounced ver-sails, or Cairo kay-ro, or even library, of the famous "Library, State and Van Buren" pronounced lie-burr-ary?) but here it is either more common, or I have more trouble figuring it out.

Therefore, I present to you a brief pronunciation lesson ala New Orleans:

Example number one, how would you pronounce the following word?

This is a major street along the Mississippi river in New Orleans. If you tried, as I did to pronounce it as if it was Greek, "tah-choup-it-oulas" you were wrong. Down here it is pronounced "chap-ah-too-lis", after the native American tribe that inhabited this area.

Example number two:

This is a famous Creole restaurant in the French Quarter. Colin and I had dinner here recently and enjoyed the shrimp remoulade, and the "fork tender" brisket. (Brisket so soft you can cut it with a fork.) The correct pronunciation of this establishment is "two-jacks".

Here is another street,

that neither Colin or I have figured out how to pronounce. Is it "frer-re" like brother in french, or is it "frer-rette" sounding sorta like ferret? Let us know how you think it is pronounced. Freret is a street that runs through Tulane's campus and into the industrial corridor. The picture above shows the mosaic sign that is inlaid on some of the sidewalks of the older streets of New Orleans.


Blogger Mame said...

I refuse to believe that tchoupitoulas is a word. It is simply too ridiculous.

I hope the southerners are understanding of your mistakes. That's one thing I seriously miss about the South. Over here in New England everyone hates everyone else.

Also, I miss you guys!!

Post some Dag pictures plz :-)

July 9, 2007 at 5:19 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home