Ma nouvelle chaudière.

Ma nouvelle chaudière.

mah noo-vell sho-deeYAIR. Click below to hear this.*

My new furnace.

A thing of beauty, don’t you think? Well, if you’re into heavy metal, anyway. So to speak. We had to get a new one because the old one, at 25 years, gave up the ghost.

So this is une chaudière, a boiler, so named because it used to be basically a gigantic pot full of water, heated up over a wood fire. Nowadays, it’s a marvel of electronics, shiny new ductwork, a natural gas feed, and a fan so quiet that I hardly know it’s running.

The whole system is called le chauffage central, central heating. It makes the whole house chaude. (That’s feminine, because la maison is feminine.)

You may wonder why the adjective chaud and the noun chaudière have a d in them, while the noun chauffage and the verb chauffer (to heat)have an f. That’s because the former were born from the Latin caldera, a pot or kettle for heating things in, while the latter come from Latin califacio, make warm. The consonant in the middle, at the “hinge” of the word, makes the difference.

And another thing about that chaudière: That’s where the English word chowder comes from, which beats a pot of hot water any day no matter which flavor you choose.

*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file:


2 responses to “Ma nouvelle chaudière.

  1. I wish you another happy twenty-five years of cozy home with your new furnace. Love, Maman

    • Can you see us trotting up and down all these steps in 25 years? I expect we’ll be moving long before that. Someone else will have to make it last that long! :-)

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