Prends la méridienne.

Prends la méridienne.

prah lah may-ree-deeYEN. Click below to hear this.

Take the chaise lounge.

That’s right, offer the comfiest chair to your guest! Very thoughtful of you, especially in this heat. (It’s mid-90s F here; what’s it like where you are?)

Here is a case of two languages evolving side by side. That deck chair that you love to stretch out in used to be called a chaise longue–simply a long chair.

But two things happened: one, the French longue became confused with the English lounge. Same letters, rearranged, and of course a very different pronunciation, and giving us a peculiar bilingual name for the chair. Two, somehow the French direct and completely descriptive word was replaced with la méridienne, which more or less means a “southern”. An evocative name, conjuring up sun and vacations and beaches, and surely better for advertising.

As for the pronunciation of chaise longue, say /shezz lawg/, and dont forget the nasal vowel in longue.

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