Toodles! | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Monday, April 19, 2010

Toodles!

No, I'm not going anywhere, I just had a word epiphany.

Now, I'm nowhere close to having the vast knowledge of the original Word Nerd, but I am in love with language (which doesn't necessarily include being an amazing grammarian, FYI). I actually minored in linguistics in college.  Besides that, I was a vocal performance major which required me to take quite a bit of foreign language.  I took Italian, German and Latin.  I tried French one semester, but had to drop, and now I don't even remember why.  Anyway, I didn't learn anything beyond "Je m'appelle Lara" that semester, and consequently, my French has always been pretty sad.

But, I can still understand a great deal of it--not spoken, mind you--because it is a Latin-derived language and if a word doesn't have a similarity to Latin itself, it is likely to have a similarity to Italian or Romanian.  (Oh yeah, I speak Romanian fluently because of my LDS mission.)

Lately, I've had an Agatha Christie obsession, as all who are my GoodReads friends know.  More specifically, I've had an obsession with her books that feature the adorable little Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. The thing about Monsieur Poirot, is that he speaks French. A lot of French.  And Agatha Christie never bothers to translate it for us, so you either have to figure it out from context or actually know French.

So, like I said, I can read French okay.  Nothing great, but I can get a very good sense of what is being said, and get the rest from context.  So, that's cool.  The other problem I have with French is pronunciation, and I'm sure many will understand this particular conundrum.  I've sung in French enough to do it okay, but it doesn't come so easily to me.  Not like German and Italian, which are much more straightforward.

So I've been using the opportunity to try and improve my French diction.  Joel makes fun of me, sitting in the corner, reading my murder mystery and muttering French phrases to myself.  I suppose it is a bit strange, but whatever.

Last night, while I was reading, I came upon the phrase a tout a l'heure.  I hadn't ever seen that before, and I quickly figured out it means "see you soon."  But as I said it aloud several times, I got really excited.

It sounds just like Toodle Loo!!

So, nerdy person that I am, I ran to the computer and Googled to confirm my suspicions.  And there it was.  That's why we say Toodle Loo. (Probably no surprise to all of you Francophiles and Word Nerds out there.)  It isn't nonsensical after all, but then, language rarely is.

And that's why I love it so much.

20 comments :

  1. Oh, Lara. You make me laugh, but I probably would have done the same thing so I can't say much.... By the way, Nerds are cool in my book, so there ya go!

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  2. I love French. Sigh. I love this blog post too. And now I am going to have to borrow more Agatha Christie books from the library (if our silly library has any...).

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  3. I'm not a language girl...
    it's true.

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  4. Oh, now THAT is COOL! And worthy of true Word Nerd-dom.

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  5. Good to know.
    So toodle loo to you.

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  6. Learning to speak French is one of the things on my 30 Before 30 list. It's just a beautiful language.

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  7. I lived in Belgium and took two years of French and I still didn't know that!! :)

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  8. What a great discovery! That is such a fun little surprise. Thanks for sharing. Now I know some French, too!

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  9. I love French expressions! From our French friend Gilles, I learned about "Mind your own onions" (mind your own business) and "The carrots are cooked" (the goose is cooked). So many food expressions. I love it! I didn't know about the origin of "Toodle Loo," though—so great!

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  10. All the best people are nerds. And Hercule Poirot? Love him!

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  11. I've been noticing your Agatha Christie books on GoodReads and have been pulling a couple off the shelves at the library lately, too, so I thought that was fun. I always loved reading the Hercule Poirot books because I loved French...I was even French Club president. I don't speak well, though, just enough to make myself feel stupid when I try.

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  12. I have now adopted this as my word of the day! : )

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  13. I've read every single syllable Agatha Christie ever wrote, three times. I'm not kidding. Every book. Three times.

    And I ADORE Poirot! Check out the Poirot mysteries on DVD at the library. They are so fun! (But they're not all original stories, and even the original stories, like "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd", arguably her best story, has a different ending! But you'll enjoy the French, is what I'm saying.)

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  14. My husband speaks French and has used that phrase before. Cool insight!

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  15. I love learning stuff like that! I remember in college reading Thoreau and realizing that is full of everyday sayings. It was a happy day for me.

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  16. I wish I could speak another language. And it's fun to know the origins of slang words that we use all the time.

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  17. Well, I'm french and I didn't know the expression Toodle loo, I am really surprised to learn a very current french expression became slang in english. Thanks for the information.

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  18. i love words. i have favorites and even did a post about words. i wish i could understand another language. all i know is bad words in samoan because of my cousins...haha.

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  19. Thanks for the french lesson. Good to know! Toodle-Loo!

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