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FAIT

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FAIT

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:39 pm

• fait •


Pronunciation: fayt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: (Used in only two idiomatic phrases) 1. Fait accompli: Unchangeably completed, irreversible deed, a done deal. 2. Au fait: Fully informed, expert, familiar with.

Notes: Today's Good Word is the most common way the word fate is misspelled and vice versa, so look out. It appears only in the two phrases listed above, both borrowed from French.

In Play: Let's look at the usage of the first sense of this phrase, since it is the most common: "When Congress returned from recess it found the appointments of the Presidential nominees a fait accompli." The second sense is less often encountered: "Rex Motors was supposed to be au fait with the latest developments in engine design."

Word History: This Good Word is the remnant in French of Latin factum "event, occurrence," literally "thing done", the neuter past participle of facere "to do, make". English also borrowed the word directly from Latin as fact, factious, and all the verbs containing the root -fect, like infect, defect, and perfect. The source of Latin facere was the Proto-Indo-European root dhe- "put, do", which also emerged in Sanskrit dadhati "puts, places", Greek tithenai "to put, set", and Russian delat' "to do, make". Closer to home we find the remnants of this root in German tun "do" and English do. (We cannot call today's Good Word a fait accompli until we thank Trent Pelelei of Brisbane, Australia, for suggesting it.)
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Re: FAIT

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:02 am

In word history, don't forget factoid, the newest word in the family.

Au fait is new to me. I will try to squeeze it into a conversation when I want to impress someone.
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Re: FAIT

Postby MTC » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:49 am

Googling (but not ogling) "fait," I found the word appears in six expressions, all French:

au fait: Being familiar with or informed about something.

de fait: de facto (according to actual practice)

en fait: actually; in fact (really)

tout à fait: entirely, exactly, quite

l'habit ne fait pas le moine:
1.(literally) the clothing doesn't make the monk.
2.(idiomatic) It is not possible to judge things by external appearances alone; you can't judge a book by its cover

fait accompli: An accomplished fact, something that has already occurred; a done deal.

For me, speaking French is like skating over new ice--an uncertain experience. Therefore I avoid French expressions unless I have practiced them to a certainty, au fait and fait accompli for example.

Just remember, my children, "Clothing doesn't make the monk." Likewise, speaking French does not make a person sophisticated or wise.

From the desk of the Old Monk.
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Re: FAIT

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:06 pm

I really loved French back in the day. Taught it in
college for two years. But as you say, the habit does
not make the monk.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: FAIT

Postby MTC » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:16 pm

I am green with envy, Luke. French is such a beautiful language. Congratulations on your fluency.

Two of my favorite French expressions are
"esprit de l'escalier," and "trompe-l'œil." And I struggle with both of them!
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Re: FAIT

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:49 pm

I watch French movies to try and keep up, but
being away from the 'spoken' word, one tend
to lose it. In schools today most kids take Spanish.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: FAIT

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:05 pm

unless you're in Louisiana. There's a group here devoted to preserving French because we bought LA from France and the Cajuns came down from Canada. Cajun French, however, is like Tex-Mex. One Cajun gal I know pronounces cher as shah, almost chah.
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Re: FAIT

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:59 pm

There is a certain beauty in the French language. It was once the language of diplomacy and is still the “language of love”. Its nasal sounds aren’t particularly easy on some Anglophone ears, but then neither are German gutturals. By contrast, the Spanish rolled r is a thing of beauty.

If there weren’t a language police, I would like French better. When I first heard about the language police I thought it was a joke. It isn’t in Quebec. While I was working in Montreal, the English language newspapers delighted in reporting arrests by the language police. The laws about speaking French in Quebec are complex. The law insists that public speech be in French whenever possible. Undercover language police are on the job, tricking citizens into breaking the law and requiring them to pay a fine. It is a form of harassment and has caused a mass exodus of Anglophones from Quebec.

One of my cousins translates between English and Haitian. He has translated the Bible into Haitian, using English and French Bibles as his source. He informs me that Canadian French is a creole, only a little closer to French than Haitian Creole. Don’t blame me. He said I, not I.

France has L'Académie française. Its members, called “the immortals”, define the French language. Because of it, the French language has a small and stilted vocabulary. They say its pronouncements are to be used as a guide and are not the law of the land. There are those who say L'Académie française actually rules with an iron hand. I don’t know.

Friends who have been to France tell me there are no French fries there. You can get pommes de terre sautées. Can you imagine a language that has no word for potatoes? "Le Jazz Hot" may have been coined in France, but it is not said there anymore.

Okay, Francophiles, barrage me with rebuttals. Not being an expert, to quote Oklahoma’s favorite son, I only know what I read in the papers.
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Re: FAIT

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:18 pm

Currently, with the super-Mardi Gras, the current mandatory in-phrase is laissez bon temps rouler! And that's exactly how we roll in our state.
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