Monday, February 28, 2011

Really, her name c'est ne pas Booger

10:27:30 AM: Booger: did you have fun?

10:29:03 AM: Scott D. Scheule/NATL/TAX/EYLLP/US: A lot. Except for Friday. I was so sick Carlos drove to a drug store, bought some Day-Quil and insisted I do a few shots.

10:30:59 AM: Booger: seriously?

10:31:01 AM: Booger: I'm so sorry!

10:32:00 AM: Scott D. Scheule/NATL/TAX/EYLLP/US: Yeah, it's going around.

10:33:15 AM: Booger: aparently.

10:33:18 AM: Booger: I don't wanna get it.

10:34:57 AM: Scott D. Scheule/NATL/TAX/EYLLP/US: It's unavoidable. It's to be got.

10:35:36 AM: Booger: tu ne parle pas de c'est la

10:36:21 AM: Scott D. Scheule/NATL/TAX/EYLLP/US: Do you know where the "pas" comes from?

10:36:38 AM: Scott D. Scheule/NATL/TAX/EYLLP/US: In Latin it means "step", like pace. Why is it also the negative marker?

10:36:56 AM: Scott D. Scheule/NATL/TAX/EYLLP/US: I shall tell you.

10:37:25 AM: Booger: please do.

10:41:22 AM: Scott D. Scheule/NATL/TAX/EYLLP/US: In Old French, there used to be a phrase that was something like, I can't walk a step."Are you going to go to the discotecque, Emperor Charlemagne? I won't go. I won't go a step." Eventually, people were extending that use in all sort of ways. "Would you like some horse, Ms. of Arc?" "No, not a step." And eventually, the "pas" became so commonplace, people forgot the figurative meaning and just threw it onto any negative sentence. Now, amazingly enough, in spoken French, people have started dropping the "ne" entirely but kept the etymologically ridiculous "pas." So it's something like "Ms. Binoche, will you marry me?" "I marry step you!"

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