or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hic, Hæc, Hoc

We don't watch a lot of television, but tonight, after watching Video On Trial (which is hilarious), we were kind of flipping around, seeing what was on (nothing), trying to guess the titles of movies we've probably never seen based on six-second glimpses ("Tommy Lee Jones and Ashley Judd." "Isn't it that movie where she was framed for killing her husband?" "Double Jeopardy."), and generally just kind of wasting time. On one of the French channels there was a French opera (turned out to be Meyerbeer's "Dinorah"), and since we always have the captioning on, I could see that one of the sound-descriptive comments in square brackets was "Il hoquet."

"Hoquet!" I thought. "That's the same as 'hocket' in English!"

And so it is.

"Hoquet" means "hiccup" in French. A hocket is a musical technique, originally for voice but available for most instruments, in which two or three voices or musical lines alternate notes rapidly, making a sound of (illusory) rapidity and (genuine) complexity and excitement.

None of this is likely to help you in your day-to-day life, but isn't it good to know these things?


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