Date: Fri, 17 Mar 1995 07:51:05 -0700
From: Bruce Gelder bgelder[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CAMEL.SIM.ES.COM
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.