Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

tree_face
steepholm steepholm
Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Old French
For years, I've been remembering the old Milky Bar ads as pronouncing the word "Nestlé" like the English word "nestle". Checking on this video, however, I found that even the oldest advert from 1961 has the words "Nestlé Milky Bar" rather than "Nestle's Milky Bar", as I remembered. Was my memory wonky? Apparently not, if the video description and several of the comments are to be believed: rather, the soundtrack has been silently remastered so as to correct the French pronunciation. For proof whereof, this New Zealand version from the 1980s retains the classic "Nestle's", which to me will always be the "proper" way to pronounce the name of that particular grasping conglomerate.

It's interesting that they went to the trouble of retrospectively changing things, though. It got me to wondering how many people these days say "caff" rather than "café"? Fewer than of yore, I'll warrant. That was always partly a class thing, of course, with the question of whether something was a caff or a café depending not only on the speaker but the establishment in question. "Greasy spoon café" wouldn't sound right at all, to my ear.

Then there's Michelin - perhaps an even more interesting case, since the same company is well known for three different things, each of which falls into a different stereotypical class bracket...

Poll #1992866 Old French

Michelin

Mitch-a-linn
2(7.4%)
Meesh-e-lain (last syllable to rhyme with the French word for 'bread')
7(25.9%)
Mish-a-linn
7(25.9%)
More than one of the above, depending whether it's in connection with tyres, travel guides or restauruants
4(14.8%)
More than one of the above at different periods of my life
3(11.1%)
Some other answer, which I will explain in the comments.
4(14.8%)
Tags:

I'm reminded of Lord Peter getting drunk in Parliament Square at the end of Clouds of Witness -- "Hush," said his lordship. "Don' wake baby, theresh good shoul. Neshle'sh baby--jush shee 'm neshle, don't he neshle nishely?" (He is referring to the Nestle's baby drinking milk in the neon sign, which he has recently shown to Mrs. Grimethorpe, as well as Inspector Parker curled up asleep under the statue of Palmerston.)

I say "Mish-a-lin" for tires and "Blue Guide" for travel guides. Not sure what I'd say for the restaurants, as it's never been relevant to my life. I've always assumed they were all too hideously expensive for me to even contemplate, which may or may not be true.

Meesh-a-linn.

It was Mitch-a-linn when I was a kid. These days I swing between the other two.

Do you remember the BBC presenter Cliff Michelmore? I always associated him with the Michelin man. Still do. Mention one and the other automatically comes to mind. It's not just the first syllable of the names, there was a physical resemblance too.

You're right! And he was definitely pronounced Mitchelmore.

There's a village near my home town called Michelmersh - pronounced "Micklemarsh" to confuse furriners. I believe Henry V stationed his troops there en route to Southampton and thence Agincourt. (Those were the days when we pronounced the "s" in Calais - but how long before we drop it from Paris?)

Just two syllables - Meesh-lain with no -e- sound in the middle.

Probably mish-a-linn, if I were ever forced to pronounce it, which I have avoided so far.

Nestlee's is how I've always heard it pronounced here in the U.S. But the spelling Nestle' with the accent over the 'e' is the only one I ever recall seeing.

Maybe it was an old U.S. typography thing, to make the word shorter, as some newspaper headlines dropped the 'Oxford' comma.

For years, I've been remembering the old Milky Bar ads as pronouncing the word "Nestlé" like the English word "nestle".

I always pronounced it like "Nestley's," because I saw an advertisement with Farfel the Dog as a very small child and have remembered ever since: Nestlé's makes the very best . . . Chocolate. (Just looked for it on YouTube; could find others from the series, but not the one I remember. But the little click as the dog's jaw closed, that was distinctive.)

Then there's Michelin - perhaps an even more interesting case, since the same company is well known for three different things, each of which falls into a different stereotypical class bracket...

I seem to say "Mish-e-lin," but I am in the wrong country for it to be significant data.

Edited at 2014-12-21 05:54 am (UTC)

Oh gods, you've just earwormed me with the jingle and the little click.

Nine

I hadn't come across Farfel, but have just watched him in space. It's interesting that in spelling Nestlé's aloud, neither the accent nor the apostrophe is acknowledged.

My father worked for Michelin for more than 25 years. It was definitely option one in Stoke on Trent, the factory was affectionately known as "The Mitch". As in "ee's gorra job down the Mitch".

However the correct French pronunciation may be something like "Meesh - lang without a middle syllable.

Yes, I think I should have provided that as an option.

Here in Spain, we say it MEETCH-ay-leen. Because that's how it's spelled.

They say my name, Sue, as Sway.

I think there's been a noticeable change in the pronunciations of these words in the UK, towards their native pronunciations. Whether we put this down to education, travel, greater cosmopolitanness (?) and an unwillingness to steamroller other cultures, or conversely to pretension, lack of confidence, or appropriation, is a matter for argument!

Great

Yeah its Mitch-a-linn :)

So help me, I've read everything on the most recent page of your journal. I would like to friend you.

And maybe by the next time you post, I will have found something intelligent to say in response, though don't bet on it.

Friended back. Now you will have the dubious pleasure of seeing the locked posts, too.

?

Log in

No account? Create an account