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Thread: menage-a-trois

  1. #1
    thedaffodils's Avatar
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    Default menage-a-trois

    Her disdain for convention once scandalised society when she lived in a menage-a-trois with two men who were the best of friends.
    Read more: Ayton Castle in Berwickshire hit by tragedy of George de la Rue's death | Mail Online

    Hello!

    1. I wonder how to pronounce menage-a-trois, which is a word from French. I think "s" is mute in trois as it is mute in trois in French, but I don't know especially how to pronounce "menage" here.

    2. Do most native speakers know this word?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: menage-a-trois

    You can hear the pronunciation here: Menage a trois | Define Menage a trois at Dictionary.com
    Last edited by 5jj; 06-Nov-2011 at 14:39. Reason: typo

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: menage-a-trois

    2 Probably- it's a common term

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: menage-a-trois

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    2 Probably- it's a common term
    Yes indeed. It's hard to talk about social life without using French borrowings: 'I was having a tête-à-tête with a friend (whose dress was to die for [this phrase looks English enough, but it's a word-for-word translation of à-en-mourir - meaning 'extremely attractive'] when we had a bit of a contretemps.'


    b

  5. #5
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: menage-a-trois

    She must have a certain je-ne-sais-pas to attract two such influential men!
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. #6
    raindoctor is offline Member
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    Default Re: menage-a-trois

    Quote Originally Posted by thedaffodils View Post
    Read more: Ayton Castle in Berwickshire hit by tragedy of George de la Rue's death | Mail Online

    Hello!

    1. I wonder how to pronounce menage-a-trois, which is a word from French. I think "s" is mute in trois as it is mute in trois in French, but I don't know especially how to pronounce "menage" here.

    2. Do most native speakers know this word?

    Thank you!
    debris is a french word; in this word, 's' is not pronounced in English
    menage is like garage, barrage, etc.
    'oi' sound in trois is like that in 'repertoire' and 'reservoir'

    There is a nice book let "French phonics for Americans" by Giauque, Gerald S. This booklet uses many words that are common in French and English to get a grip on French patterns.

  7. #7
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: menage-a-trois

    Dang. I meant "je ne sais quois." Oh well.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: menage-a-trois

    Quote Originally Posted by raindoctor View Post
    menage is like garage, barrage, etc.
    That depends a lot on how you say 'garage' - and I'm not simply referring to those who stress the first syllable (rhyming 'garage' with 'disparage')
    I use 'dzh' /ʤ/ for 'garage, and would use 'zh' /ʒ/ for 'menage' (if I ever had call to say it).

  9. #9
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: menage-a-trois

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Dang. I meant "je ne sais quoi." Oh well.
    It's OK - 'a certain je ne sais pas' is one of the misquotes that a famous British comic comes out with - I thought you were quoting him knowingly.

    b

    PS To spare your blushes I lost the errant 's' - For the record, students, it's 'Quoi', pronounced (in English phonemic script, /kwʌ/)
    Last edited by BobK; 08-Nov-2011 at 11:09. Reason: PS added

  10. #10
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    Default Re: menage-a-trois

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    That depends a lot on how you say 'garage' - and I'm not simply referring to those who stress the first syllable (rhyming 'garage' with 'disparage')
    I use 'dzh' /ʤ/ for 'garage, and would use 'zh' /ʒ/ for 'menage' (if I ever had call to say it).
    Yes - raindoctor was talking about the commonest Am Eng pronunciation. This underlines the general problem of 'sounds like....' descriptions of pronunciation, especially in a polyglot forum like this.

    b

    PS Autobiobraphical note: Having a Lancashire-born father, a Scottish-born mother raised in Wales and living in England, and 20 years experience working in an American company, I use all three of the pronunciations you describe.

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