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She did not speak the french of France
Posted by: Sav (---.sympatico.ca)
Date: September 28, 2004 11:24PM

Looking for 1st line, author, rest of poem that contains the lines:

"She did not speak the french of France,
But the surded french of Martinique"


Re: She did not speak the french of France
Posted by: RJAllen (---.creation-net.co.uk)
Date: September 29, 2004 09:46AM

Just a guess, but is it "sordid French of Martinique"?


Re: She did not speak the french of France
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-05rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: September 29, 2004 01:49PM


Re: She did not speak the french of France
Posted by: IanB (---.tnt11.mel1.da.uu.net)
Date: September 29, 2004 10:23PM

'surd' means deaf in French, and in English.

The SOE gives it secondary meanings of 'indistinct' or 'dull' as a description of a sound; 'unvoiced' as a description of speech; and 'not expressible by an ordinary fraction' as a description of a number.

From all this, it has acquired figurative meanings of 'stupid' or 'irrational'.

So I guess 'surded' is a poet's neologism from 'surd', and the poet didn't think highly of the Martinique accent.


Re: She did not speak the french of France
Posted by: Dave Higgen (---.dyn.sprint-hsd.net)
Date: November 03, 2004 07:10PM

The verse is an incidental poem in one of the SF stories of Cordwainer Smith (aka Paul Linebarger.) By the way, if you have not read him, you should run, not walk, to your nearest library or bookstore and get the collected works!

The story is, if I recall correctly, "Alpha Ralpha Boulevard", and the complete verse goes:

She wasn't the woman I came to seek
I met her by the purest chance
She did not speak the french of France
but the surded french of Martinique.

I assume he is referring to the creole-flavored french dialect spoken in Martinique.


Dave


Re: She did not speak the french of France
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: November 03, 2004 08:40PM

Sounds very interesting, Dave. Thanks for the information.

[www.cordwainer-smith.com] />

Les




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