Date: Fri, 17 Mar 1995 07:51:05 -0700


Subject: Re: /kup/

Can anyone comment on the pronunciation of a type of car, also

of French origin, a "coupe'" (with final accent), pronounced /kup/ in

the U.S.? Am I right in ascribing this to a "reading pronunciation?"

-- Cathy Bodin

The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories says this (italics omitted

because of the medium I'm using):

A number of other names for automobiles or automobile styles were first the

names of carriages: coupe, landau, brougham, and station wagon. Coupe or

coupe' is the term for a small automobile with two doors and a single seat

for two people. As the name for a carriage, it referred to what was thought

of as a "cut-down" version (hence the name, from French coupe', the past

participle of couper 'to cut', but probably more immediately from carrosse

coupe', literally, 'cut-off coach'). The horse-drawn coupe or coupe' was a

small, enclosed carriage with four wheels, a door on either side, a single

seat for two facing forward, and a driver's seat outside separated from

the passenger section by a glassed partition.

[The book then goes on to comment on landau, brougham, and station wagon.]

Do you think the French cringe over our pronunciation of


Yeah--the French have long since given up on our ability to say any of their

words with reasonable accuracy.