Le Jour J.
luh zhoor ZHEE. Click below to hear this.*
Today, le 6 juin, 2012, is the 68th anniversary of D-Day–the beginning of the end of World War II. Does that sound like a long time ago to you? I was almost a year old.
Interesting, how some of the things we “remember” best are things that we never actually observed. Some events are just in the air, and they are part of the fabric of our lives as we grow up, like a single red thread woven through a tapestry full of blues and greens and grays. We don’t even know how we first knew these things. We always knew them.
That’s how it was with the Second World War, or la Seconde Guerre mondiale, as French speakers call it. (Pronounce /lah suh-gawd gair maw-dee-AHL/.)
Did you ever wonder why the day was called D-Day? It’s simply a way to refer to the date without actually naming it, whether it’s a secret or whether it simply hasn’t been determined yet. There’s also such a thing as H-Hour. That’s why, in French, this momentous day in history is called le Jour J. Don’t be tempted, through the influence of the English, to pronounce the initial as /zhay/. That’s the letter G in French, and /zhee/ is J.
Here are a few links you can click on if you want to read more about le Jour J:
D-Day in Normandy: A list of events scheduled for the commemoration of D-Day in Normandy
CBBC on D-Day: A site directed to classroom teachers and students
Wikipédia: History and description, in French
Photo retrospective: 42 photos taken in 1944 and published at boston.com in 2010
*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: