Thursday, 7 July 2011
Posted by M.H. Forsyth
Right. I'm off on a special, top secret, week-long mission to France where I am going to investigate wine, armagnac and mousse de canard. I've written some blog posts that ought to go up automatically while I'm away. For now, I shall tell you about the French word for now: maintenant.
Main is the French for hand, as in manual. Tenant is the French word for holding, as in a tenant who holds a bit of land. This means that now in French - maintenant - is the time you are holding in your hand.
We have the same word, with an utterly different meaning. Maintenance in English means keeping something going and goes all the way back to the idea of holding something up in your hand. It's also one of those oddities of etymology that we contrast handmade things with those that are manufactured. Guess what manufactura meant in Latin.
Ages ago I wrote a post on why the French can't do pop music. I was just looking around for a picture and found this. All it says is Everybody dance now, but... but... No.