Tuesday, August 16, 2011

plus ca change



plus ca change [ˌplu sɑ ˈʃɑnʒ] int. phr.

1.) Used to express the view that superficial changes cannot alter the essential nature of something, especially human nature (Dictionary of Foreign Words, Adrian Room (ed.), 2000).

Etymology: In full, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. French, literally "the more it changes, the more it stays the same".

"On change quelquefois le prix, quelquefois le bouchon, mais c'est toujours la même piquette qu'on nous fait boire.—Plus ça change—plus c'est la même chose" (Les Guêpes, Alphonse Karr, 1849).

"They sometimes change the price, sometimes the cork, but it's always the same plonk we're given to drink. The more they change it, the more it stays the same" (ibid., translation from A. Room, op. cit.).

(Ideale Ansicht der Akropolis und des Areopags in Athen, Franz Karl Leopold von Klenze, 1846)
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Hi, all. I finished the 2nd draft of my thesis last week so I went off to Wales to celebrate with some backpacking in Snowdonia National Park. We had some good times, drank some ale, got completely soaked, and now all my clothes smell of mildew. So, the complete British experience IMO. But, I'm back now so I can announce the belated winner of last week's Climbing the Mountain challenge. It's...JayJay! She wrote:
"Angry didn't even touch on the minatory look that she shot toward the man holding the camera. His insouciant attitude fueled her ire a fond, as he continued to snap away. Turning her head she uttered a quick oath that included something about the photographer being condenmed to languish on on a bed of nails while being stabbed by a thousand pitch forks. Her companion chuckled at her ben trovato statement and he couldn't help the small smile that played across her lips as she leaned in toward him, momentarily forgetting the photographer."
Nicely done, JayJay. I'm not entirely certain why her statement is ben trovato, but it definitely piqued my curiosity. An honorary mention also has to go to D4, who wrote a hilarious entry about Bill and Hillary that included the phrase "nascent twinkie". Okay, next week's words are: gaucherie, simulacrum, saeva indignatio, sophistry, baroque, lacrimae rerum, and lassitude (pick your favorite five). Thanks for reading!

24 comments:

cheshire said...

Thank you.

jos xx said...

hi there welcome back. so i wasn't completely wrong when i thought you were british lol!

re: it's the worst phobia ever. no i've never seen people climbing those rocks, they're really high and i think it's quite dangerous...

congrats to the winner!

jos xx

GMSoccerPicks said...

I am completely mesmerized by that painting. It's the greek empire at its peak. How majestic is that?

Ohh btw, im a Liverpool (but mostly River Plate and Barcelona. Both since i was a kid) fan, but love football and im from Argentina so writing about the Kun Aguero was a no brainer for me after yesterday's performance.

Jenny Woolf said...

This is such a useful phrase. But I've been away and need to catch up on your blog. I don't know "saeva indignatio"

Chris Hashemi said...

Wow, seems like you've been having fun. Beautiful artwork, and I love the way this word sounds when spoken.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yes, nothing evokes Britain like mildew. What a rainy little isle you have there.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations on finishing the second draft! Not sure the smelling of mildew sounds like fun though.

nowaysj said...

Hey man, I have been remiss. I guess plus ca change. But I am changing.

My day is not complete without Aenos.

ironchefman said...

This seems like a phrase for the Weltschmerz afflicted.
Forgot how much I missed this etymological blog!

Meri said...

I would love to go to Wales! Sounds like fun, too- my kind of trip!

JayJay said...

As you can see I predominantly write random little drabbles. Thanks though.

Sounds like you had fun in Wales.

Re: the plus ca change I'm so glad that you had the recording of how to pronounce it. I knew it was French but I was butchering it.

Lemons Don't Make Lemonade said...

This word sounds so profound and...professorial.

ivy's closet said...

This French word definitely makes me think of the politics here in the states.

Bibi said...

Psst, uhm, could you please change the "c" from "ca" to a "ç".
Because if a Frenchman read what you've written, they'd read it as "ka". (I know, I'm nagging :p)

Congrats on the 2nd draft! I'm going to have my thesis bound tomorrow, and then I'll be finished finished finished all the way finished!

-E- said...

@Bibi you raise a good point, but when English-speakers adopt a foreign word or phrase they omit diacritical marks (the cedilla in this case). thus, "Übermensch" becomes "Ubermensch" and "façade" becomes "facade". it's a bit of a grey area, but i'm of the school of thought that once a word is in a major dictionary the diacritical marks should go.

Bibi said...

Ah, thanks for your explanation ^^ Now that you mention it, you guys do the same thing with façade/facade. English lesson of the day, yay!

A Beer for the Shower said...

Cangratulations on finishing the second draft, mate. We both raise a glass in your honor.

meandmythinkingcap said...

good one. It is like my hair. The more I comb to keep it down, the more it stays up.

A Beer for the Shower said...

This sounds like the perfect thing to say around the rich neighbors while swirling a glass of wine. Now if only I had the dexterity to speak a French term and swirl a glass of wine simultaneously.

And good luck with the thesis. Not sure I'd backpack to celebrate that, but everything else sounds about right!

Mai Yang said...

dunno how to read it properly. hehe

Diego Sousa said...

that painting is beautiful!

Inverse said...

I would drop this phrase just to sound like a high brow dick :P

Henry said...

High brow is right....

Kid Shuffle said...

just looked up snowdonia, and it looks breathtaking!

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