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More from the Language of Advertisers

A discussion of the peculiarities of languages and the differences between them.

More from the Language of Advertisers

Postby Stargzer » Wed Nov 23, 2005 11:13 pm

Where, oh where is Palewriter when you need an advertising person for a whipping boy? :lol:

On the way to work this morning, the day before the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, I heard an advertisement on the radio for a grocery store chain called Trader Joe's. Don't get me wrong, I like the store, and we shop there occasionally. This morning they were advertising green beans, just in time for Thanksgiving dinners. Not ordinary green beans, mind you, but the long, tapered kind "found in quality restaurants" and imported from France.

What really did it for me was this line:

"In France, they call these beans haricots verts."


Excuse me? AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!! For those unfamiliar with French, that translates literally as "beans green." What else would they call them?

Read it for yourself at the bottom of page 7 of their flyer.

Where are you, John? I hope you didn't write that one!

Gail, however, would like their Holiday Tip, also on page 7:

Whilst in the throes of the holiday hustle bustle, treat yourself to a little something (read: chocolate).


Maybe I'd better go find myself some cocoa . . .
Regards//Larry

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Postby Brazilian dude » Wed Nov 23, 2005 11:30 pm

that translates literally as "beans green." What else would they call them?

So? Yellow press is called imprensa marrom in Brazil, not imprensa amarela.

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Postby Stargzer » Thu Nov 24, 2005 1:34 am

Brazilian dude wrote:
that translates literally as "beans green." What else would they call them?

So? Yellow press is called imprensa marrom in Brazil, not imprensa amarela.

Brazilian dude


You know too many languages, BD! :)

In the US, the term Yellow Press or Yellow Journalism came from the yellow ink or yellow paper used to print the sensationalist stories. I don't know the origin of the Portuguese version of the term, but Brown (marrom) is probably closer in color to the "stuff" they were printing (and still print today) :wink: , although Systran translated the idiom correctly as "Yellow Press."

In the Trader Joe's case, the advertising copywriter was using the French words to imply that the French called them something exotic rather than just plain old "green beans." I wouldn't have been so flustered if they had been advertising imported French (or even Canadian) potatoes and said the French (or Québécois) called them pommes de terre (apples of the earth). That is a different term altogether, even exotic, not one that an English speaker would expect. I'm not really familiar with Portuguese, but Systran translates potato as batata, which sounds like a cognate to me, and, had Trader Joes been advertising Portuguese Potatoes and had I been familiar with the language, it would have solicited the same reaction as haricots verts.
Regards//Larry

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Postby Brazilian dude » Thu Nov 24, 2005 9:17 am

but Systran translates potato as batata

Which is correct.

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Postby Andrew Dalby » Sat Nov 26, 2005 9:11 am

Stargzer, in preferring good American green beans to showy French haricots verts you have Ernest Hemingway on your side. Americans in Paris, in Hemingway's /The Sun Also Rises/ (British title /Fiesta/), enjoy a restaurant meal including green beans -- not a word about haricots, whether verts or any other colour. See today's quotation on the Food Word site --

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/dalby/blog/cat_quotations.html

-- and keep on eating the French fries.

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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Nov 26, 2005 2:27 pm

Andrew Dalby wrote:...

-- and keep on eating the French fries.


Which the French Embassy pointed out, at the time there was such a brouhaha in Washington when the French Government did not choose to support the US ditto in the latter's desire to make war on Iraq (one wonders how many people in the US wish now that they had listened to the French and many others who warned what an unnecessary disaster such a war would be), are not French in origin at all, but Belgian....

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Postby Stargzer » Sat Nov 26, 2005 5:13 pm

Bienvenue, Andrew!

Andrew Dalby wrote:Stargzer, in preferring good American green beans to showy French haricots verts you have Ernest Hemingway on your side. . . .

-- and keep on eating the French fries.

Andrew


It's not that I prefer one to the other; the French beans were good, much skinnier than the big fat ones one usually sees. It's the temerity, or perhaps even the unmitigated gall, of advertisers trying to hawk something as pedestrian as green beans by calling them haricots verts, as if they were a special, exotic item.

Consider this exotic-sounding menu:

Le Menu:

eau froide
soupe aux fèves
jambon et pommes de terre crantées

cold water
bean soup
ham and scalloped potatoes

Regards//Larry

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Postby Andrew Dalby » Sun Nov 27, 2005 12:15 pm

Yes, Stargzer, I do see exactly what you mean. You want to pour eau froide on these pretentious chefs ...

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Postby anders » Sun Nov 27, 2005 3:22 pm

The principle must be as old as food. Think of all the animals that are English in the field but French on the table: calf - veal, cow/kine - beef, sheep - mutton, pig - pork, deer - venison.

Additions to that list welcomed.

And when my parents got married (people did that sort of thing in those days), the main course at the dinner was Vilt à la Diana, 'Game etc.'. That meant hare, which was among the few meat species that could be bought without using ration card coupons.
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Re: More from the Language of Advertisers

Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Nov 27, 2005 5:57 pm

Stargzer wrote:...

What really did it for me was this line:

"In France, they call these beans haricots verts."


Excuse me? AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!! For those unfamiliar with French, that translates literally as "beans green." What else would they call them?

Read it for yourself at the bottom of page 7 of their flyer.


Larry, I checked out the little section on haricots verts at the bottom of page 7, just as you advised, but I couldn't find the sentence you quoted. What I did find were the following sentences which included the term :

Haricots verts (fine French green beans) require warm soil to grow. ... Haricots verts are traditionally more upscale looking as they're quite tapered and fine. ... We're selling each 8 ounce package of Haricots Verts for just $2.79.


As a matter of fact, beans can be called many different things in French - e g, fève, féverole, haricot - just as they can in English, depending upon what sort of beans they are. The problem with the above is not the reference to the French name, but rather a construction like «traditionally upscale looking» which sort of gives the whole thing away - who gives a damn what the things taste like, so long as they are «upscale looking» («traditionally upscale looking» - whatever that means - must be an added plus !). But since the purchasers are paying 2.79USD for 227 grammes of the stuff («a great price for this sophisticated veggie»), presumably a sizable premium over what they pay for good old-fashioned string beans of closer provenance than France, well, caveat emptor !...

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Postby Stargzer » Sun Nov 27, 2005 6:00 pm

Andrew Dalby wrote:Yes, Stargzer, I do see exactly what you mean. You want to pour eau froide on these pretentious chefs ...

Andrew


Not the chefs; the advertising copy-wrongers.
Regards//Larry

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Re: More from the Language of Advertisers

Postby Stargzer » Sun Nov 27, 2005 6:19 pm

M. Henri Day wrote:
Stargzer wrote:...

What really did it for me was this line:

"In France, they call these beans haricots verts."

. . .

Larry, I checked out the little section on haricots verts at the bottom of page 7, just as you advised, but I couldn't find the sentence you quoted. . . .

The problem with the above is not the reference to the French name, but rather a construction like «traditionally upscale looking» which sort of gives the whole thing away - who gives a damn what the things taste like, so long as they are «upscale looking» («traditionally upscale looking» - whatever that means - must be an added plus !). . . .

well, caveat emptor !...

Henri


Semper!

Or is that, in the words of M. Booth: Sic semper emptor? :)

I was quoting from a radio advertisement I heard on the way in to work on Wednesday, so it may not be an exact quote, but I'm pretty sure it's close to the original. Only later in the day did I find out my wife had gone shopping at Trader Joe's. And yes, these are slimmer than the big fat green beans one usually finds, especially in cans or in the frozen section.
Regards//Larry

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Postby gailr » Mon Nov 28, 2005 9:46 pm

Stargzer wrote:
Andrew Dalby wrote:Yes, Stargzer, I do see exactly what you mean. You want to pour eau froide on these pretentious chefs ...

Andrew


Not the chefs; the advertising copy-wrongers.


Along these lines, I always wonder about restaurants which make a special point of presenting "with au jus".
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Postby tcward » Mon Nov 28, 2005 11:59 pm

Gailr, that's one of my absolute biggest pet peeves! :lol:

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Postby Andrew Dalby » Tue Nov 29, 2005 8:59 am

I like gravy. I hate jus.
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