Friday, November 7, 2008

Check Your Work

When you were in school, did your teachers tell you to check your work? I cannot think of any teacher who would say you should not.

Checking work comes in handy for professional life, too.

Check out the name of this store:

Le Bon Vie

I took French in high school and lived in France for a while. I can see exactly what is wrong with it, but I understand most people would not. I can guess what the person did who named the store. This person thought, “I’ll call the store, ‘The Good Life,’ but I’ll do it in French.” This person then looked up the words in a French-English dictionary.

Unfortunately, French has masculine and feminine words. This means lots of confusion for non-French.

The sign should read: La Bonne Vie.

This would have been avoided by having someone who knows French check the work. It is possible the person who named the store did know the difference but decided the named looks better the way it is and that people wouldn’t understand it otherwise. In that case, the store considers its customers ignorant. It might be so, but I don’t think that is a very smart philosophy.


Mike Pittman said...

Did it occour to you that La Bonne Vie has two more letters. If you are being charged by the letter, sometimes it's better to be cheap and appear to be ignorant then to be broke and 100 percent correct!


Braden said...

Yeah, I know, Les Schwab has the same problem:

It should be Les Schwabs. AFter all, Les is the plural form of "the"

Or maybe La Schwab. I'm not sure if Schwab is masculine or feminine, but it seems kind of frilly, so I'm going with feminine.

Mike Pittman said...

Maybe Schwab IS the plural. For some words, the only way to know if you mean plural is which article you place before it. Schlüssel means key or keys depending upon its article. If I use the masculine der as in der Schlüssel, then I mean a single key. If I use the feminine article die (pronounced dee) as in die Schlüssel, then I mean more than one key.

With Schwab, the problem is not whether it is plural, it's the article itself. Obviously, Schwab is German and someone placed a French article in front of it. Was it a Frenchman poking fun at he Germans, or was it a German taking a poke at the French. It might well have been what caused the Germans to attack France in WWII.

It also could have been someone who was both German AND French who was proud of their heritage.

When such a quandary exists, I sometimes find it useful to apply Occam's Razor and think "Les" may not be an article at all. Les just might be the diminutive for Leslie and Schwab is his last name.

Nah...nothing is that simple!


Anonymous said...

Great blog you have here. My girlfriend a big English buff and I'm not for the most part. She enjoys using the big words, I keep it simple. Looking at your blog improves my skills my friend.

I'm looking to add you to my blog roll if you're willing to do the same in return. Let me know.