Reading through an opinion piece in The Times recently, I came across a “French” word and paused to consider it because it looked wrong.
A little to my surprise, I was right to find faute with the word: it doesn’t exist. The correct word is épistémè (note location and direction of accents) which is also insane looking but doesn’t cause me to do a double-take and get to Googling.
As for the content of the article, I have no idea what any of it meant. Shortly after resurfacing from an extensive primer on Foucault and the concept of épistémè I went back to the piece and came away more confused than when I started. This just goes to show you that while I am able to detect misspellings of French words, I still have a hard time understanding things in English.
→ I re-read Lolita when I was in Lyon a couple years ago and was excited (poor word choice?) to learn that Humbert Humbert attended lycée in Lyon. It was an odd bit of biographical info that led me to seek out more about Nabokov. He spoke and wrote in his native Russian as well as English and French. Color me impressed.
→ Despite fronting my (statistically) favorite band and putting out six solo albums I quite like, Sting will forever be the guy who taught the world to willfully mispronounced “Nabokov” as NAH-boh-kahv just to suit his rhyme scheme. It’s actually nah-BOH-kaff. You can listen to a genuine Russian pronouncing it here.