“Half memoir, half travel, A Yank Back to England...is an absolutely wonderful book, not only about going home again but also about love and family and tradition and the passage of the years.”
—Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic (Washington
To see the entire quote, click here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Deux, trois, quatre... "sink"?

I explained to Frances that the “Cinque Ports” were, originally, a cluster of five ports dotting the south coast of England, established and reinforced by the Plantagenet kings in the thirteenth century to protect the realm from sneaky and persistent French attacks. The ruling class in those days, descended from William the Conqueror, spoke mostly French, and “cinque” had been derived from the French word for “five.” Even so, no attempt at French pronunciation was ever made or even countenanced. It just wouldn’t be cricket.
“So a ‘cinque’ port becomes a ‘sink’ port? That’s odd,” said Frances.
“Odd? Doesn’t sound odd to me! English pronunciation of French – get it?”


Maggie said...

Ummmmmmm.... I have to agree with Frances here... ;)

Michelloui said...

I was chuckling at this. Over at She's Not From Yorkshire (post: pick a language to massacre), they blogged about the English speaking other languages.
I would like to suggest that regarding foreign languages the English are as stubborn as the French, but in a different way!

willow said...

And doesn't Italy have the Cinque Terre?

Hope your birthday was a happy one!