Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

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Word Mystery: puddle / charco / flaque

Wednesdays, I explore the linguistic origins of the same word in different languages.

Nicer to look at than a puddle.

Nicer to look at than a puddle.

I feel like it rains all the time here. Near constant rain or the threat of rain hangs over my head all day long. In the latter cases, when the sky does finally break open and dump its contents directly on me, it’s almost a relief since the tension and anticipation is over and I can just go about my business.

In English, there’s a common children’s couplet that goes, “Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day.” There’s also a saying (at least in the US) that “April showers bring May flowers.”

Well, it’s May and it’s still raining and I don’t even like flowers so I don’t know what to do with myself…except splash in puddles since if I’m gonna be wet, I may as well get properly soaked.

EN puddle — a small pool of liquid, esp. of rainwater on the ground. ORIGIN Middle English: diminutive of Old English pudd [ditch, furrow].

ES charcoAgua, u otro líquido, detenida en un hoyo o cavidad de la tierra o del piso. [Water or other liquid, held in a space or an indentation in the ground or on the floor.] ORIGIN onomatopoeia.

FR flaquepetite mare ou petite nappe de liquide stagnant. [Small pond or sheet of stagnant water.] ORIGIN The Picard language (region in northern France) version of Old French flache [soft].

French note: mind blown. The origin in French read forme picarde and my brain went to “picaresque” which made little sense. After realizing it was a region of France (I really do need to study regional geography more), I wondered what connection it may have to the amazing French frozen-food chain Picard. There isn’t one. Picard is just a fairly common last name.

I don’t know who today’s winner is, though it’s definitely not Spanish. I kind of like pudd, but the French definition is so nice that maybe I should give it to them? I guess I’ll do that.

Monty Python note: Terry Gilliam will be taking another running joust at his version of QUIJOTE in 2015. I can’t wait.