This next post is not exactly about grammar, nor is it about the English language. However, it falls within the lines of several topics we discuss. (And I can guarantee at least one reader, Lee, is going to love the topic!)
There is a club in Los Angeles called Les Deux. It’s very popular with celebrities. “Les Deux” is French for both, or, literally, “the two.” It is (roughly) pronounced lay DUH.
I got roped into watching The Hills one day with my roommates, and Lauren Conrad pronounced it “la DOO.” That surprised me.
I just chalked it up to her being, well, dumb. The stars of The Hills aren’t exactly future rocket scientists.
A few months later, I had to call the club for work.
I’m always deliberately vague of what, exactly, I do for work, but I can tell you that it involves a lot of VIP access, exclusive offers, nightlife, that kind of thing, mostly in Las Vegas but also in Los Angeles, New York and worldwide. (Going to Vegas? I’ll hook you UP.) I was trying to get a table at Les Deux for one of my clients a few weeks ago.
I dialed the number.
“Hello, la DOO.”
I was thrown through a loop. Apparently, everyone pronounced it this way.
I spoke to the manager and arranged the table for my client. I was dying of curiosity, so I had to ask her:
“Tell me,” I began, “why do all of you pronounce it la DOO?”
She paused. “That’s how it’s pronounced.”
“Well,” I said gingerly, “actually, in French, it’s pronounced lay DUH. It means both.”
“Oh,” she said. “That’s just how it’s always been.”
I didn’t lecture her or anything. I wasn’t about to do that.
Anyway, I have a point to all this.
This is similar to people who insist that “everytime” is a word, that “everyday” is interchangeable with “every day,” that “definately” is the correct spelling. These are very basic errors. People know that they are being incorrect, but they choose to continue to be incorrect rather than to learn how to do the right thing.
Keep in mind that I do not expect people to know how to pronounce French words. That’s not fair. I do, however, expect the staff to pronounce their nightclub’s name correctly. If the staff gets it right, the world will follow. If it’s the cool place to be, everyone will try to outdo each other by pronouncing the word perfectly. Enough of my clients try to pronounce La Esquina or Felidia with ethnic flair, thinking it makes them sound authentic.
One last thing: le DOO is how someone would pronounce le doux, meaning “the sweet.” So maybe that’s another meaning to the club’s name.
Do you have thoughts on this?