or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Euro a go go

I am the sort of person who likes to discuss words. Duh. I am also the sort of person who gets really, really involved in discussing things. Therefore, it will come as no surprise that I had a big messy argument with someone once over the validity of the word "restauranteur". His position: that the word originated as "restaurateur", and that the newer version is a vulgarism. I countered that the huge majority of people would reasonably think that a restaurateur is someone who restores houses and that "restauranteur" is so well established that trying to force the older word on people would be wilful perversity. I believe I said that we routinely add "-er" or "-or" to words to signify "one who", and that "-eur" was merely the French version of this, and I expect he countered by saying that we attach those suffixes to verbs, not nouns, which is a pretty good point. But as I have said before, English is not tightly logical; it makes up the rules as it goes along, and if it wants to slap "-eur" to the end of a French noun, then by god that's what it's going to do. He was not buying my arguments, but I stand firm that not only is "restauranteur" a valid word, it's superior to the original French because it's more readily understandable to the majority of people.

We did, however, agree that "restauranter" is an abomination.

Answers.com rather snootily says that "[a] popular misconception is that the word is pronounced the same as restaurant, whereas in actuality, there is no n in restaurateur." This is undeniably true, and it's also true that there's also no "n" in "waterfalls" or "paralytic"; perhaps they should announce such things to people more often just to avoid confusion. There is an "n" in "restauranteur", though. "Restaurateur" is the older word in English: "restaurant" came later, and then "restauranteur" evolved. "Restauranteur" in the written language is nearly a hundred years old; I think we can forgive its existence, even if some of us will never use it.


Speaking of "-eur", I swear that I once saw embroidered on the back of a cheesy jacket the words "AMATURE GOLDEN GLOVES". A quick Googling of "amature" reveals that it has been used nearly a million times, and the number is sure to increase as porn sites featuring "amature beastiality" and "free amature masterbation video" become ever more popular. It's things like this that make one fear for the future of humanity. The spelling, I mean: bestiality and self-abuse have been around for a long time.


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