des en peluche
Friday, February 25, 2011
The exact meaning and origin of "fuzzy dice" is unclear, but one theory holds that U.S. pilots in World War II used dice in their cockpits for good luck, and they continued the practice when they came home from the war. (Text & image from Wikipedia)
dés en peluche (day on peh loosh) noun, masculine
: fuzzy dice
Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce these French words: (Download MP3 file)
dés en peluche. Fuzzy dice... ce sont les dés en peluche suspendus au rear view mirror. Fuzzy dice... they are plush dice suspended from the retrovisor.
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
"Trying to Wrestle a Sou Out of You-Know-Who!"
I am wandering aimlessly through an auto-parts store, killing time. I arrived a day late to pick up a repaired pneu, but the man behind the comptoir tells me: ce n'est pas encore prêt.
My eyes travel over to la salle d'attente, where a few aluminum chairs and a stack of curdled car magazines are about as inviting as a baseball dugout. On second thought, I'll roam the field....
I travel up and down the aisles of the auto-parts store, quite unsure of what I'm looking for. I begin to wonder whether this may be, after all, the store's sales strategy:
...when wide-eyed woman comes to collect repaired item... indicate the "waiting room" (pointing out the hard chairs, coffee-cups strewn floor, and sticky motor magazines)... and watch her run for the pricey auto-parts aisles!
The ploy works and before I know it I am shopping for items that have never seen the doodled pages of my shopping list: car tattoos, escape hammers, and fuzzy dice.
Fuzzy dice! They have those here in France?! Suddenly I am transported out of a foreign land of auto parts... and into a universal meeting ground. Though I have never owned a pair, I can somehow (in the vague recesses of my mind) relate to fuzzy dice, or "les dés en peluche". Is it an American thing?... or is it something kitsch (like lava lamps and garden gnomes--which also exist in French homes and gardens)?
I stand for several nostalgic minutes, filled with fuzzy, dicey memories of times past, but in the end the ploy does not work (...though I almost, just almost, buy one of those "head lights": a battery-powered lamp on a hairband. Is it for staring into the car's engine? Or part of a survival strategy? (...to go along with the escape or "life hammer", which, by the way, doubles as a seat-belt scissor in the event of entrapment!!!)
Anyway, I might have purchased the headband-lamp-majig (and used it to read in bed at night)... had not the man behind the counter shouted "à vous, Madame". Turns out my tire is ready...
I fix triumphant eyes--batting lashes and all--on the salesmen behind the counter... if theirs was a money-digging ploy... well then it's no dice, les gars! I have all I need today.
Le Coin Commentaires
Have a correction (in English or in French?). Would you like to respond to today's story -- or share one of your own. Comments are welcome and appreciated. If you like, tell us which city you are writing in from and the local weather in your area! Click to leave a message.
Update: For those of you wondering just what were the rare wines tasted during Monday's visit to Burgundy... check out the answer in the comment's box to that "aviner" edition. (P.S.: don't forget to come back and read the rest of this edition... with photos and a note from my Mom.)
un sou = a cent (centime)
le pneu = tire (tyre)
le comptoir = counter
ce n'est pas encore prêt = it's not ready yet
la salle d'attente = the waiting room
à vous, Madame = your turn, ma'am
les gars = guys
Michel Thomas method for learning French: learn at your own speed--listening, speaking, and thinking through the language. Order 10 CD program here.
"My Boys": Max and Smokey-Doo
For Jules... a new photo of her grandson...
The following soapbox happens when your mom is a regular in the comments box! My mom, Jules, writes:
Regarding MAX'S day-beau (I know I have slaughtered that word, but spellcheck is dumber than I).
I believe you must have run down to the cellar and stuck the microphone in his face around 6 a.m. demanding his help. He looks shocked and cold and sleepy - what a great sport he is to put up with you.
I, of course being Max's #1 fan, think you should make him a regular on your blog...give him a little warning before you place him in front of 40,000 people and better yet, have a little conversation plus the word.
A TYPICAL GRAND-MERE
*Note: Mom is referring to the video (seen at the end of this post) that Jean-Marc made of Max. And Mom's right: Max was dragged out of bed in time to be pushed in front of the video camera (this, after he swiped my own microphone the day before... making "ideal working conditions" impossible for this fly-by-the-seat-of-her pants publisher!)
Time for another read? Would you like to learn a few more French words, in the process. I hope you'll take a minute to read my story about passing the French Drivers Test!
A Message from Kristi: Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.
Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
2. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.
Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety
Just a quick question, 'is a knome a different kind of gnome, perhaps even more kitch?'
I hate all of that car 'tarting up' I suppose it's part of American culture that balances Steinbeck, Hemingway, Heller, Bird, Dizzy, Lady Day, Pollock, Lloyd Wright and too many more to mention whom we love so much. I'm drivelling on (my age is showing) I must stop now.
Another super little read for me as I start to put my lunch together, thank you.
Posted by: Mike Hardcastle | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 12:05 PM
Hey Kristin, Two small corrections in English (I think!). I don't believe we call it a "retrovisor" in English, I believe it's a "rear view mirror" ... to be confirmed. Also, "ailes" should be "aisles" to the best of my knowledge.
Thanks for always brightening my day with your French Word-A-Day!!
Posted by: Robyn in Strasbourg | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 12:08 PM
Hi Robyn, many thanks for catching these misspellings and for your lovely note - and to Mike, for mentioning the k in my knome (I think I need for fix that one, too :-) Also, Mike, I liked your tarting up (the cars). Too funny. Bon ap!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 12:35 PM
Great read (as Mike said), reminds me of a time long past when I had my first car, a 1950 Ford (did they even have models back then?). I never had fuzzy dice as the car was not "cool". Over 30mph the two front fenders would start to flap where they had rusted away from their mountings next to the door. Lest anybody add 14 more years to my many years, the car was old when I bought it for $100!!
Posted by: Bill in St. Paul | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 12:52 PM
about the latest comments in the previous FWAD:
Robyn Daniels, I share every word of your post. I also feel the same about "la haute cuisine", and would even add "la haute couture" on the list!
Thank you for unveiling the location of "le lieu sacré" where the wine tasting took place.
(lieu sacré / lieu saint = the sacred place)
-> As for "les dés en peluche":
I wonder whether the man behind the counter noticed your camera, and smiled when he saw you approaching that (expensive?!) car... 'She likes the beautiful "volant" (= driving wheel) and "les sièges" (= the seats)... typical woman! Oh! she is now taking a photo of the inside of the car! Good sign for us!'
Never would he have known what the real attraction was all about... "deux dés en peluche"!
I had no idea dices were associated with good luck, but, thinking about it, I now see a straightforward connection and understand why it used to be a perfect "mascotte" for pilots in WWII. In cars, nowadays, people hang all sorts of "porte-bonheur" to have a safe journey, anything from "un petit lapin rose en peluche" (= a fluffy little pink rabbit) to a sticker representing St Christopher, patron saint of travellers.
These dice on the photo look quite big. Wouldn't they distract the driver?
-> back to "l'évènement mémorable" (= the memorable event) of wine tasting, and your journey back home. I imagine you (not Jean-Marc) drove all the way back to your own "domaine". If for any good reason the police would have asked you to stop your car, they would have noticed "l'haleine avinée de Jean-Marc" (= Jean-Marc's breath smelling wine). Hmmm... what I am imagining may be based on my obsession with not taking any risk on the road, but also on your remark about Jean-Marc who, in the car ride home, was 'savoring the wine lingering on his tongue' (haven't guessed yet what you were savoring at the time... got to think a bit more before giving, as the French say, "ma langue au chat")
PS - read the very last comment - sent by Chief Grape' himself. What? the 'exclusive' wine (which, no doubt, costs a snobbish 'exclusive' price) could not even been bought! Is the sale "réservée" to a very 'exclusive' clientèle? Indeed, quite an experience!
Posted by: Newforest | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 01:02 PM
the headband lamp is invaluable in a potpourri of situations! as well as a great cadeau!
Posted by: kathy compton | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 01:11 PM
Hey, Kristin -
Nice story today. Not at all overthought.
I do have two notes, one practical and one … well, I guess it might be practical, too, if I ever get back to France, and then find myself discussing dice.
1) The escape hammer is a good, inexpensive insurance policy. (Here, anyway, they cost about $10.) They quickly break auto glass, which is a surprisingly hard thing to do.
2) Is there no elision in "fuzzy dice"? It's not "day zon peh loosh"? That's one of the toughest things about spoken French for me—I never know when to elide (most of the time) and when not to (occasionally, but with no rules I can discern).
And by the way, not to cast aspersions on your simile, but if you were a guy, you'd find a baseball dugout pretty darned inviting. : >
Posted by: Bruce T. Paddock | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 01:21 PM
I used to think fuzzy dice were the height (or depth) of kitsch till I caught a ride with a middle eastern couple whose auto interior had been lovingly & completely lined with red ball fringe...swinging down the highway with all that was unforgettable.
Posted by: Zann | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 01:24 PM
Zann, thanks for unwittingly catching another typo (I'd misspelled "kitsch". Loved your note about the middle easter couple and their lovingly cared for car.
Newforest, ah, you might have been onto something re the pricey car... but I did not take that photo! Thanks for another "aviner" example ("l'haleine avinée de Jean-Marc"). RE the comment I made at the end of Wednesday's post: no need to read anything into it. It's too vague of a
statement (the result of a few erased words...) and, by now, I've changed my mind about writing any further
notes on the topic :-) Nothing world-stopping in any case (not that any news here is... :-)
Kathy, excellent idea to give those headband lamps as gifts... next time I'll pick up a couple!
Bruce, LOL/MDR: I wanted to take back that part about the dugout, but the line that followed (about going out to field) already anchored it in (hmmm... a bit thought out afterall :-). And, truth be told, I don't think the dugout would be that bad a place to be and can imagine its appeal to any
sports enthusiast or fan (or eyelash-batting belle :-). Not sure about the elide - a word that should be in my vocab... hélas... had to follow the context of your note. But I know Newforest might help us! P.S.: along with the headlamps, I will p/u one of those escape hammers (I was just a little
creeped out and a little superstitious).
Bill, quelle image of those front fenders flapping!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 01:55 PM
Cute post today! I think the auto parts waiting areas are the same here too! I end up walking around and there are all kinds of gadgets for cars I never thought of. My husband has one of those headband flashlights and he uses it quite often when he needs both hands free!
Have a great weekend!
Posted by: Eileen deCamp | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 01:57 PM
Enjoyed your heavenly story today (pair-a-dice, paradise) which reminded me of a mistake often made. We’ve all heard the phrase a “pair of dice” used, but dice is plural so a “pair of die” is correct.
Your second story on taking the driving tests for a French license brought back memories to me. Shortly after being assigned to duty in France while in the Army, I had to obtain an international drivers license in Melun, France. Like you say….. Scary!
Posted by: Herm in Phoenix, AZ | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 02:19 PM
Fun post today, elicting lots of amusing anecdotes. I am still laughing at Zann's description of red ball fringe in the couple's car! SCreeeech. As for "a pair of die," I don't think so. Common usage has gone way too far to turn back now, Herm.
I have tarted-up my car (LOVE that expression) with a huge felt flower that winds around my rear view mirror, and no, does not obstruct rear-viewing. Am thinking some pink ball fringe might just set it off nicely. (Oh, my husband will shiver and quake and know I've gone over to the strange, dark side.)
Thanks for making my morning, Kristin.
Posted by: Pat Cargill | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 02:44 PM
p.s. I love the pics of Max and Max & Smokey-Doo.
Also, for some eye-opening choices for fuzzy dice, check out: fuzzythis.com
Posted by: Pat Cargill | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 02:50 PM
Ah, les sale d'attente must be the same all over the world! Your story reminded me of the shooting galleries and other games at county fairs in my youth growing up in LA County ... the prize was either a stuffed animal or fuzzy dice.
Posted by: Suzanne, Monroe Twp., NJ | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 02:51 PM
I have to say that, in that leather bomber jacket, and with his shorter haircut, your Max looks a heck of a lot like a young James Dean. How a propos to the very retro-influenced picture of the fuzzy dice and 50's car!
Posted by: Debbie from Baltimore | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 03:04 PM
When I went back and reread Le Coin Commentaires following your "aviner" blog, I couldn't help but think of the movie "Bottle Shock". It's set in the early 70s and is about an upstart Napa Valley winery that has its Chardonnay represented in a pretentious Paris wine contest that's apparently supposed to highlight the superiority of French wines. Some funny twists and you can probably guess the ending! Their wine is on display in the Smithsonian. I had to check it out on the Internet after I saw the movie--couldn't believe it was a true story!
Posted by: Jan in Colorado | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 03:12 PM
I loved your story of the auto parts store :) I tend to feel the same way on entering such places of busniess.
I LOVE Jules! No one can say it like a Grand-Mere.She is often my heroine :)
I'm afraide that, judging from the recent photo of Max, he is squarliy on the thresh hold of manhood. I hope he knows that he will always be your 'boy', and he is blessed that he is :)
Have a great day!
Posted by: Missy | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 03:17 PM
I've been thinking about what you wrote. We say "pair of pants" and "pair of gloves." Last night I cooked up a pair of steaks. So why not a pair of dice?
It always bugs me when I hear someone refer to a single die as "a dice." On the other hand, I unfailingly say "a scissors," so I'm hardly one to talk. But at least I know I'm doing it wrong.
Posted by: Bruce T. Paddock | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 04:39 PM
Good points, Bruce. I wear a "pair of glasses" is another example. It’s easier to say “a pair of xxxxx’s”.
Posted by: Herm in Phoenix, AZ | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 06:05 PM
When you translated un sou as a cent (my locals insist on centime) it reminded me that I was in France at the time of the change from francs to nouveaux francs in (about) 1960. Two prices were marked up in shops as with the change to the euro. The point is though, that one was given change which could include hands-full of worthless aluminium (excuse my English spelling) coins which one promptly threw away.
I remember my first car as well Bill, a Ford Prefect in salmon pink and rust which I bought for £10 (about $30 at the time). Two remolded tyres cost £3 each and my insurance (3rd party fire and theft - who would have wanted to steal it?) was £10 also. It had the disconcerting habit of wanting to dive into the nearside so it was always a fight to keep it in a straight line. It's a good job that traffic density was less at the time. I could drive it at about 40 m.p.h. and a knew when I had reached that speed because the little aeroplane bonnet (can't remember the American English) decoration would lift as if trying to take off. Time to lift the right foot a little!
Bruce, I think that an 's' is only pronounced zed when between two vowels within a word. Newforest could perhaps confirm this (or even Jean-Marc).
Posted by: Mike Hardcastle | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 06:35 PM
Hi again Kristin,
Your mention of the headlamp made me laugh. My husband frequently uses one to read in bed if I want the lights out so I can sleep and the sight of him always makes me laugh. We also use it to find things at night in a couple of rooms in our house that have no lights. So yes, they do come in handy and I think you should get one.
Also, what a handsome son you have and I'll bet he's just as kind and wonderful as both of his parents. You must be so proud of your children.
Posted by: Carolyn | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 07:03 PM
No alert combat pilot would have time to roll dice in his cockpit. If they knew about it, armed svcs would not let pilots hang personal items in cockpits. Distracting and can get in the way at times demanding critical decisions.
[Such problems still dog us. Many driving accidents involve makeup application, cellphone use, coffee cup juggling and spills, eating bkfst, taking eyes from road to attend to small children, etc.]
Fur dice entered the low-income, US, car scene in the mid-50's. Tres chic et comme il faut!
Posted by: Max Roberts | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 08:02 PM
My husband uses the headlamp for hiking/camping.
Love the pair of dice hanging in the car. I am too young (not by much) to remember them.
thanks for the picture of Max and Smokey. What a handsome young man and cutie pie dog.
Posted by: Karen from Phoenix, AZ | Friday, February 25, 2011 at 10:52 PM
Hmmmm...."des en pelouche." In 1954 in my
college French class, we were all told that the "s" at the end of a word WAS pronounced
if the word following begins with a vowel,
i.e., "daon payloosh" (or something!).
Which is correct, sil vou plait? "Day-on"
Posted by: Mary K. | Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 12:21 AM
Just want to add: all your boys are charming: Max, Chief Grape & of course Smokey Doo...........what a trio!
Posted by: kay | Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 05:45 AM
I wanted to thank you for getting me through this winter. I was looking for something completely different on our local library data base and the cover of your book "Words in a French Life" appealed to me and I decided to check it out. Needless to say...I am learning French. Love your stories and can hear your voice. We live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Today is - 40 Celcius. Some winters are harder to get through than others. This falling in love with learning of something new is what gets me through most winters and this time it was with the help of your book that I have decided to learn the language as I wait for the printemps and my jardin to wake up.
Hvala. (Thank you!)
Posted by: Desa | Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 03:36 PM
In the 50's all the dashboards were made of metal....personally I had a 1950 Meteor...( among other cars) as I was growing up.... constantly upgrading my cars!!!. One of our favourite refrains was...
I don't care if it rains or freezes..
I've got my magnetic Jesus...
Up on the dashboard of my car....
Gee it looks so very nice ...
Right between my furry dice...
Up on the dashboard of my car...
Posted by: Barry doughty | Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 05:15 PM
a late reply to you, Mary...
Sorry, I was out today, making the most of our shy sunshine - all gone now, and replaced by a cold wind + a few showers!
First of all, you must bear in mind that, for some technical reason (?), Kristin cannot type any accent in the top title. Consequently, the word "des" in bold, at the very top of the newsletter is not "des" (plural form of the indefinite article un/une).
It is the noun "dés" (dice) -> plural of un dé (a die) - "dés", with a missing acute accent!
"dés en peluche"
There is no close connection between "dés" (dice) and "peluche" (the fluffy stuff a cuddly toy is covered with) - and we are not dealing with any of the cases implying a compulsory "liaison".
***So, here is the answer to your question:
There is no "liaison" between "s" at the end of "dés" and the next word "en" - "en peluche" being the term that indicates what the dice are made of. If the dice were made of plastic, wood, gold or silver.... the same would apply.
"dés en plastique"
"dés en bois"
"dés en or", "dés en argent". Here, there would be a "liaison" between "en" and "or", and between "en" and "argent". You would still pronounce the nasal sound "en", as normal (careful: French nasal "en" and no addition of "n" sound at the end! ), but, your "en" would have to be swiftly and softly followed by "nor" , or, by "nargent", without any interruption in between.
How to pronounce properly:
You must pronounce "dé"... in a French way, and with a mute "s", then, "en peluche"
---> careful about the sound "é" in "dé".
The "accent aigu" (acute accent) on "e" gives a short and sharp sound, very different from "a" in 'daze' and different from the sound 'ay' in 'day'.
There is no diphthong at all when you pronounce "é" - in other words, stick to one sound only, and don't make your tongue glide between 2 vowel sounds!
In fact, "é" is as short as the English "i" in 'sit', 'fit', and it is that sort of English "i" that can lead you to a French "é".
In the International Phonetic Alphabet, it is represented by [e] .
I know Kristin doesn't use the I P Alphabet when giving the sound representation...
Oh well, as we are dealing with pronunciation, what about the "luche" of -> "peluche")...
Carry on if you are interested.
Here you have to pronounce a beautiful French "u". No problem with "che" as it is pronounced like the English 'sh'.
If you pronounce the French "u" like the English "oo" (the 'oo' of look, not 'blood') you will end up with a laddle (une louche)
Better now: if you pronounce "en pe"-..., like "un peu" and "luche" like "louche"
you will end up with dice being 'a bit fishy', because......
"un peu louche" = a bit seedy, a bit fishy.
Posted by: Newforest | Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 06:15 PM
Sure wish Jean-Marc was coming to Napa, California, as I would love to taste your wines. We are about 1 hour NW of San Francisco, and we are brimming with wine bars, complete with a wine tasting card you can take to the various wine bars in downtown Napa. http://www.napadowntown.com/wine_card.html The Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant in SF at the Ferry Buildling has has a wine and cheese store in Napa at the Oxbow. The Oxbow was recently voted as one of the best public markets in the US. http://www.oxbowpublicmarket.com/
Posted by: Frances Anamosa | Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 10:19 PM
about sous, centimes.... and "s"
For centuries, the French monetary units used to be "la livre" and "le sou" (first called "le sol") You needed "20 sous" to make "une livre" and "un sou" was divided into 12 "deniers".
A few years after the French Revolution, (end of XVIII century) and after the introduction of "le système décimal" (decimalisation), money got counted in "francs" instead of "livres", and in "centimes" (no more "sous"!). The coin of 5 "centimes" (so, 1/20 of a"franc") was considered as the equivalent of the old "sou". People took the habit of calling it "un sou" and kept doing so for well over a century - so, "un franc" was "vingt sous"... The word "sou" was still used in France until the late forties.
End of story about money:
Creation of "le nouveau franc" in 1958/59 and new money started to get circulated as from Jan 1960. "1 nouveau franc = 100 anciens francs"... (as you remember...)
Nickname of the new franc -> "100 balles".
Introduction of "l'Euro" in 1999 ...
Nowadays, "sou" is a familiar word and means the smallest coins like pennies, cents, "centimes". It is slang for a very small amount of money.
-> ne pas avoir de sous / ne pas avoir le sou / ne pas avoir un seul sou / être sans le sou
= to have no money / to have an empty purse / to be broke
-> If you have "plein de sous", you are rich...
-> j'ai besoin de sous = I need money!
yes Mike, in French, "s" placed in between 2 vowels inside a word is pronounced like "z".
In the case of a liaison between "s" at the end of a word and the initial vowel of the next word, you do not pronounce the "s" at the end of "les"
For ex, in "les oranges":
- you pronounce "les" -> like "lé" (with "é" sound and no "s" sound in the end -> see what I said in previous post to Mary about it)
- "lé" is immediately followed by "zo"(liaison)
- followed immediately by "range" (nasal "an", and don't pronounce a separate "n" )
"Bon dimanche à tous et à toutes!"
Posted by: Newforest | Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 01:36 PM
Thank you, Newforest!
That's what I thought was the case, but don't understand. Why is it lay-zor-ahnj but not day-zon peh-loosh? There's not a close connection between "dés" and "peluche," but there is between "dés" and "en," no?
Posted by: Bruce T. Paddock | Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 03:22 PM
It's essentially a matter of liaison being 'compulsory' or not.
- Here, with "les (z)oranges", we have a case of a 'compulsory' liaison between "les" and the initial vowel of the noun that follows (grammatically connected with "les")
- same if the word "oranges" was preceded by "des/mes/tes/ses/leurs/ces"
- and same story again with les/des/mes/tes/ses/leurs/ces (z)iris, (irises)
- or... les (z)urgences, mes (z)albums, leurs (z)élèves... etc
Essential point for pronunciation:
whether "les, des, mes, tes, ses, ces" are followed by a noun starting with a vowel (or not): the "es" here must always be pronounced like "é" (sound of the acute accent on "e") and the "s" is never pronounced. You simply produce a "z" sound linking itself quite naturally with the initial vowel of the following noun... and you pronounce the chain of syllables in a continuous 'flow' - so, do NOT stop after "les" (pronounced "lé") and carry on with "zo"-ranges, all-in-one-go.
When the complement of the noun expresses what the noun is made of: no liaison. I'll put (x) to indicate the fact.
- les maisons (x)en pierre
- les rubans (x)en soie
- les dés (x)en peluche. Here we didn't deal with "des", but with the word "dés"... [different word - different rule] - no liaison.
As for "en", pronounced as a proper French nasal "en" (same sound as nasal "em", "an", "em") there is a compulsory liaison between "n" / "m" and the initial vowel of the word that follows.
Hence-> en (n)or
same for -> en (n)attendant (waiting/while waiting)
but NO liaison if you have "en" followed by an initial (mute) "h" in front of a vowel......... that's another story... no point going any further.
It would be much too long to list all the cases of 'compulsory' liaisons - something to learn little by little anyway.
Only one quick word now:
There are some "liaisons obligatoires" (compulsory), and a lot of "liaisons facultatives" ('optional') and there are also some "liaisons interdites" ('forbidden')...
mind you, none of them are classified as "liaisons dangereuses"!
Posted by: Newforest | Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 05:27 PM
Thank you from me too Newforest,
I think (but it is a long time ago) that people were still using the word sou for the old centime, which were the valueless aluminium coins which I remember. If my arithmetic is correct then one old centime was worth 1/2000 of un nouveau franc, no wonder we treated them as scrap metal.
I seem to remember that the expression, 'I haven't a sou' was commonly used in England to emphasize a lack of money.
Presumably this expression came back to England with soldiers from WW1 or before, like bogies for nose trails. Don't see children with them anymore but they were common when I was a boy in the olden days.
I'm pleased that I got my 'Esses' right and I appreciated your explanation of dés des which has generated so many questioning contributions. Kristin did put the accent in on the translation which should have made it clear, but the difference is quite subtle.
Posted by: Mike Hardcastle | Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 05:39 PM
When the complement of the noun expresses what the noun is made of: no liaison. I'll put (x) to indicate the fact.
- les maisons (x)en pierre
- les rubans (x)en soie
- les dés (x)en peluche.
was exactly what I needed—a rule I can hang my hat on. Thank you so much!
Posted by: Bruce T. Paddock | Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 07:17 PM
P.S. Loved the Les Liaisons Dangerouses reference.
Posted by: Bruce T. Paddock | Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 07:19 PM
when you said:
'then one old centime was worth 1/2000 of "un nouveau franc",
you meant -> one old "sou",
Posted by: Newforest | Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Posted by: Mike Hardcastle | Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 09:41 PM
The 'fuzzy' dice of the 1950's were knit out of angora yarn, very fuzzy, knit by girlfriends for their boyfriends' car mirrors.
Posted by: criscal | Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 11:35 PM
Qui est Newforest? J'apprecie ses lecons de grammaire et de prononciation.
Posted by: Theresa | Monday, February 28, 2011 at 06:19 PM
"Liaisons, what ever happened to them?...Liaisons..."
Has anyone read down this far?
Not a sou, but lots of glory, Jules if you can spot the musical source...
Posted by: Zann | Monday, February 28, 2011 at 06:41 PM
All of what you said made so much sense. What do you do for a living besides having such a command of the French language?
Posted by: Joie Blair | Monday, February 28, 2011 at 07:06 PM
Yes, liaison is a big topic, but Newforest, any time you'd like to add a comment or two about it, it would be helpful. Most of the time I'm confident, but even when I do it correctly, I'm not always sure of the reasoning behind it, such as no liaison for something such as "maison en pierre." I knew that "des" meaning "dice" had an accent, but didn't know about no liaison with it. We can always learn something from you.
Posted by: Marianne Rankin | Monday, February 28, 2011 at 09:17 PM
I love all this refinement of pronunciation !
merci beaucoup Newforest!
I see a little "faut", ladle has but one "l",
la louche = a ladle
(laddle would sound like a saddle.)
Posted by: suslamb | Monday, February 28, 2011 at 10:18 PM
The best French lesson ever!!! :)
Posted by: Candy in SW KS | Tuesday, March 01, 2011 at 01:11 AM
Gorgeous photo of a gorgeous couple on their wedding day. Of course, as far as I am concerned, you can never publish too many photos of that hunk o' burnin' love you call Jean-Marc. Everything about you is so angelic and sweet. Is there a dark side? Sly glances at le boulanger? A discreet smile for le commercant? An extra nip of Pastis when the family is asleep? You are, to me, an exceptional daughter, first and foremost. I am not thrilled with your childhood stories but you survived and if you do have an extra nip of vin, you deserve it.
Posted by: [email protected] | Tuesday, March 01, 2011 at 06:30 PM
Notre tres cher Newforest,
Moi aussi je te remercie les lecons de prononciation! Here's a case that's puzzled me: WHY do the French pronounce the "s' of "Jean Jaures" (accent grave on the last "e")and the "s" on "Dantes" (accent grave on the "e")? Is the obvious clue that accent?
Posted by: Glee | Tuesday, March 01, 2011 at 06:44 PM