Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Quick, get me out of here!

It's not the food I mind so much as the language. It's not French, it's not English - it's some fast food no-man's-land in between.
The first hint of trouble is the name, Quick. It's a fast food chain very much like Macdo, with the same linguistic booby-traps set all over. The next clue is Drive:
How do you say that in French, drive? I don't honestly know. In all my years in French lessons at Westminster City School I don't remember ever being taught how to say that. (Not that I remember much actually from all those years of French lessons.)

It's a French chain. According to wikipedia, it's actually nationalised by the French government!
What's all this then?

That's "du fun servi sur un plateau". The milkshake cup says "Milk Shake your body" and the softy cup says "Nice cream"!

But never mind all these Anglicisms and bad puns. More important: how, when you're ordering, do you say these words? How do you say milkshake in a French way? Sam reliably informs me it's "meelk-shek". And how about bacon?

The word bacon in English I pronounce like everyone else, with a "bay" and an unstressed o, called a "schwa" and written [ə]. According to French rules of pronunciation it should be bacon, with "ba" as in the English word "bat" and that kind of nasal "on" that the French have. But you don't say it like that in Quick or Macdo. You say "beiconne", with the first syllable as in berry and the second like in our "con man". 

Do you see what I mean? And that's just one word! There's a whole minefield of these things in there:
  • the Cheeseburger
  • the Suprême Cheese
  • the Quick'n Toast
  • the Giant
  • the Long Chicken
  • the Long Chicken Barbecue Bacon
  • the Long Bacon
  • the Long Fish
- and that's just the burgers! Quick! Get me out of here!

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