Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wot's a Thot ?

The illustration here is the best I can do from memory of Mr Chad, the ubiquitous graffiti character of immediate post-war Britain.
Usually asking "Wot! No eggs?" or "Wot! No bacon?" as a reflexion of severe shortages in that ration-book era.
I expected to find lots of old original drawings via Google, but only found a few modern rehashes.

Thot ?

As an incentive & as a reward, I wanted to start my blog posts with an attractive/interesting/curious picture (not necessarily relevant to the post) and conclude with a genuinely interesting quote (quotation, if you prefer and again not necessarily related to the post) so that at least you would not have totally wasted your time here.

I wondered what to call the last line.
  • Quick quote?
  • Afore ye go?
  • Parthian shot?
  • Parting thought?
  • Short thort?
In the end, I telescoped 3 & 4 into "Parting Thot" which I assumed would conjour up "Parting thought" along with an onomatopoeic evocation of an arrow being fired into a target…

It seems I overestimated the capacity of my readers to make such lexicological leaps, as they both responded by "Huh?"

Or the more expressive French version, "Hein?"

Actually, "Hein?" is well worth mastering, as it can save you all sorts of grammatical tomfoolery with subjunctives & interrogatory word-orders etc.
Start by strongly curling your upper right lip. (Maybe upper left lip, depending on your –handedness? - I can't curl that bit…) Ambidextrous students should definitely not curl both lips.
The "H" is silent.
The "ei" is about like "a" in "can" but strongly nasal. Practice by pinching your nose until you get the hang of it.
The "n" is also silent, but not wasted, as it was the clue to making the "ei" nasal.
The "?" is the most important bit.
You need to impregnate your "ei" with a rising tone, pitched somewhere between interrogation and incredulity.

Practice frequently so it becomes automatic, otherwise you will miss many opportunities to join in the conversation.

Parting thot anyway: "Person stand on corner with mouth open long time, waiting roast duck fly in." – Chinese Proverb.

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