Date: Fri, 17 Mar 1995 07:51:05 -0700 From: Bruce Gelder 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 >Detroit? Yeah--the French have long since given up on our ability to say any of their words with reasonable accuracy. Sigh. --Bruce