Le comte compte ses contes.
luh kawt kawt say KAWT. Click below to hear this.
The count is counting his short stories.
Maybe the count is a librarian, or a bookstore owner. Maybe he just loves to read short stories. What’s certain is that he is causing massive confusion. Some of those French homonyms, again!
Let’s take a closer look:
le comte = the count (as in, the purple puppet on Sesame Street). This word comes from the Latin comes (companion, which eventually came to mean an attaché to the emperor). This is the word that also gives le comté, the equivalent of the English word county: the domain where le comte or the count hangs out. Has nothing to do with counting, in either language!
le conte = the short story. The origin of this word is conter and raconter, to tell or recount. The story can be true or pure fantasy, but it should be entertaining.
compter = to count (kaw-TAY). From the Latin computare, which of course also eventually gave us computer. Then we have le compte, which could be an accounting, an account (bank, ledger, etc.), or a settling of accounts.
And we’re not done yet! There is quite an array of idiomatic expressions based on le compte, some of which we’ll tackle another day. This should keep you busy for today!