Wednesday, October 28, 2009


This one follows on a bit from the "Fannie Mae" entry of a month or so ago. Like Fannie Mae, it's something entirely opaque (to me) to do with economics. it is, I understand, a Stock Market 'index' rather like Dow Jones. Its name comes from an acronym of "Financial Times" and "Stock Exchange". All of this is so-far-so-boring, and would die that way if it were merely pronounced "eff-tee-ess-ee", as it by all right should be. But instead, oh those wacky economists, they figure their being cutesy (or "CTSE") by pronouncing it "footsie", as in the game of playing with someone's foot under the dining room table. So that economists can, with a completely straight face, say "the footsie went up today" and presume (wrongly) that they don't sound like morons.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Emmanuelle Chriqui"

This awesome name belongs to a Montreal actress who is currently gaining fame from TV shows I've never seen and movies I've never seen. No matter, what matters is her incredibly awesome name.

It's not so much the soft-core "Emmanuelle" that appeals, though that is in and of itself an awesome name, so much as the spectacular surname, which is pronounced "shrieky". That is pretty awesome by itself: like Itchy and Scratchy, Shrieky sounds like a great name, perhaps for someone who is easily frightened. But 'Chriqui' is such a fabulously exotic spelling of it, that results from her Moroccan Jewish heritage. it is, apparently, an Arabic word spelt according to French phonetics. Very cool, no matter how you spell it. Though it probably decreases your fans' ability to Google you if they can't spell you... "Megan Fox" is, for example, rather more straight-forward.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Little Italy"

It was my wife that pointed this out, and if it hadn't been for her I'd have never thought of it. The Italian neighbourhoods that sprout up in cities across the North America are inevitably given the name "Little Italy", just as Chinese neighbourhoods are inevitably "Chinatown". Never a "Little China" or an "Italytown" to be had.

But this is, of course, not the point. The wonder of "Little Italy" is in the amazingly mellifluous sound of its name, particularly if you have a North American accent that softens the letter 't'. If so, what you are saying is approximately "lidda lidda lee", a dance of the tongue on the roof of the mouth far more satisfying than Nabokov's description of the feel of the name "Lolita" on the human mouth.

J. R. R. Tolkein has made famous the phrase 'cellar door'. Beautiful it is, but I think "Little Italy" has it beat, hands-down.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


'The Black Eyed Peas' is actually a pretty good name for a hip-hop group. It's also, I guess, a good name for a whatever-they-are-now group. I'm not a fan, but they have an interesting story. In particular, the story of Allan Pineda Lindo, who was born in the Philippines to a black American father and a Filipina mother, who farmed sweet potatoes with his family, who was adopted by an American 'foster parent', who joined the Black Eyed Peas in L.A. All good stuff that'll make a good documentary one day. Certainly 'keepin' it real' in a way that a lot more posturing hip hop artists couldn't even conceive of.

And yet, the man has a damn stupid moniker. I get that "APL" is his initials, but it doesn't explain the '.de' (Germany?) or the 'ap' or the full stops in between or the all-lower-case or the question of how on earth you're supposed to pronounce it (it kind of looks like a url). In addition, is a pretty stupid name. But certainly trumps even that. Do people call him on a daily basis? Do they call him 'apl' for short? Do people confuse him with Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter?

Note: as of a month after this entry, I've noticed that almost half of the visits I get to this blog come from people googling "How to pronounce". Since the answer isn't really contained here, I'll have to add it - as best as I can. I can see a few websites that say that the first part is indeed as the fruit. So it makes sense for the third part to be a reduplication of that: app, as in there's an for that. That really only lives the second half, which could be 'day' as in 'midnight come and me wan go home' or 'dee' as in 'Dee Snyder'. So that leaves us with one of the two following pronunciations:


 Do with that what you will...