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I've just tried to listen to Monsieur Pamplemousse, Michael Bond's French restaurant critic sleuth. It's all done in cod French accents. I suppose it wouldn't be too bad, actually it would. With lines like "funny thing about death, one minute you're there, the next minute pfft" the dialogue is pretty smelly too. And then there are the French names. M Leclerc and Moulin Rouge.

Leclerc is pronounced Lecler, the c is silent. It's a bit like the old joke about the Frenchman trying to pronounce Hørsk: the h is silent, the consonants at the end of words are silent and then the o is crossed out. So everytime I hear LeclerK I wince.

And then to Moulin Rouge. For some reason, and Luhrmann film is guilty of this to the extent that I couldn't watch it, Moulin is pronounced Moo-Lon, this makes it sounds like moulons, the second person plural of the present indicative or imperative of mouler, to cast, mold or grind. So whilst "let us grind" might be appropriate, there's a bloody i in Moulin, even Moo-lan is better than Moo-lon. Pah!


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 1st, 2009 10:12 am (UTC)
Funny !
To bad they did not keep Moo-lan in the french translation !
I have the same feeling with french music bands trying to sing in english... sometime it's just not possible
Aug. 1st, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
That sounds terrible. I can only equate it to watching Hollywood films with bad portrayals of Britain or Britons. I couldn't watch U-571 and still have trouble with episodes of the West Wing.

Aug. 1st, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
Must be related to "lonjery" for lingerie in British dept stores.

Maybe there was something about the accent of the kind of upper-crust Brits who went to France to buy underwear and hang around the burlesque that has led to standardized misrepresntation of that vowel. I can't think of any other examples atm, but I bet there are some.
Aug. 1st, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
Forgot to add, we watched a Poirot the other day set (and to at least some extent filmed) in France, and all the French characters were played by Brit actors. Which is fair enough if you just want someone to talk English with a French accent -- but these guys were mostly talking in French, not English! -- which just seems ridiculous. Hearing two French characters talking to one another in French, both with accents worse than my own, is very frame-breaking. You'd think, as they were actually in France, it would have been easy enough to hire French actors for the purpose -- but maybe there was some union prohibition.
Aug. 3rd, 2009 01:27 pm (UTC)
On the other hand, have you ever heard recordings of Michael Bond reading the Paddington stories? He sounds almost exactly like Michael Hordern.

Paddington does not speak with a Peruvian accent. This has often concerned me.
Aug. 3rd, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
I have heard Michael Bond and his voice is delicious but I hadn't really thought that about Paddington before. I guess he should. Apparently the very latest book is about immigration.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )