Oeuvre

24 Feb

With far too many vowels in a seemingly random order, ouevre is a head-scratcher when it comes to pronunciation. It seems French, kind of… so is there some secret French way to say it?

Well, I don’t know about that, but I can tell you the way it’s pronounced in good old Anglais: erv-ra.

And it means: the body of work of a painter, composer, or author.

Bonus fact: have you noticed that oeuvre makes up part of hors d’oeuvre? According to the most trusted of sources (Wikipedia), this is because hors d’oeuvre means “apart from the main work”. How about that.

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7 Responses to “Oeuvre”

  1. Dan February 24, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    Dear LC,

    I think you should start adding audio clips of yourself pronouncing these words …

    (then again, I can’t pronounce hor d’oeuvre for the life of me …)

    • theliteratechicken February 25, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

      Why Dan, thank you very much for your suggestion. I actually looked into including audio clips into my posts last night. Beware, your suggestion may just be taken up… terrible pronunciation ahoy!

  2. JT February 25, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    That would actually be “hors d’oeuvre”. “Hor d’oeuvre”, on the other hand, translates as “a prostitute’s main work”.

    Happy birthday 🙂

    • theliteratechicken February 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

      That’s a good point, JT. I’m terribly embarrassed by my spelling faux pas! I should just stick to English… 1tll B l0tz b3ttA, cl3arlY.

      And thanks for the birthday wish! The Literate Chicken is very pleased 🙂

      • Dan February 25, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

        Good news: LC, you did type in hors, not hor
        Bad news: I wish I’d typed hor on purpose now – I’m sure Maupassant would have approved

      • theliteratechicken February 26, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

        Actually, I edited it so it was right. Then I acted like it never happened… but the trail of evidence in the comments section totally gives my error away.

  3. Dan February 27, 2011 at 9:05 pm #

    It’s like Stalinist Russia all over again …

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