Zhaaarrr
September 13, 2019 11:47 AM   Subscribe

A full minute of Alex Trebek saying "genre", assembled by Jeopardy! champion Alex Jacob, because he hates everything and everyone.
posted by Etrigan (58 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Jawn
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:49 AM on September 13, 2019 [9 favorites]


That was way more painful than I was expecting.
posted by slogger at 11:50 AM on September 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


Actually this has an odd, poetic beauty. Alex can “genre” me anytime.
posted by kinnakeet at 11:50 AM on September 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


This is officially art.
posted by Etrigan at 11:53 AM on September 13, 2019


This genre...
posted by Fizz at 12:00 PM on September 13, 2019


This is the kind of quality post we can all agree on.
posted by AgentRocket at 12:03 PM on September 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


If I ever beat cancer after decades in the public eye, I implore you all to please dunk on me this hard afterwards.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:05 PM on September 13, 2019 [11 favorites]


This is in the same zharn as Benedict Cumberbatch pronouncing Penguin
posted by JDHarper at 12:05 PM on September 13, 2019 [20 favorites]


Like...

That's the way it's pronounced?

He occasionally gets the little "re" so light you can barely hear it, but it's a french word and how the french folks pronounce it. ZHAWN-re.
posted by skullhead at 12:07 PM on September 13, 2019 [6 favorites]


skullhead: I believe it's the way in which he mentally goes off on a post-college backpacking trip while specifically pronouncing that one word.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:10 PM on September 13, 2019 [31 favorites]




It's a monosyllable in French with one consonant at the end; adapting it into English involves making the nasal vowel into a vowel+/n/, turning the rhotic into an English (or Englishish) r, and adding a vowel to the end to deal with the resulting -nr not being a valid English syllable coda.
posted by Earthtopus at 12:17 PM on September 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


I've subjected myself to this fully 3 times, so who is the real villain here?

(It's me)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:26 PM on September 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


After the first 10 or 15 seconds, it was just a sound and no longer a word that had meaning.
posted by asnider at 12:29 PM on September 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


I blame Canada.
posted by aubilenon at 12:32 PM on September 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


That's just perfectly normal semantic satiation. Everyone in the universe has that.
posted by The Tensor at 12:32 PM on September 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


skullhead: I believe it's the way in which he mentally goes off on a post-college backpacking trip while specifically pronouncing that one word.

Fwiw, Alex grew up in a bilingual home and speaks fluent French.
posted by theodolite at 12:32 PM on September 13, 2019 [14 favorites]


I've subjected myself to this fully 3 times, so who is the real villain here?

Fool yourself once, shame on you.
Fool yourself twice, shame on you.
Fool yourself three ... you can't get fooled again!
posted by Naberius at 12:36 PM on September 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


Like...

That's the way it's pronounced?


Not in English, it isn't. It's not "a French word" at this point, it's an English word derived from a French word. If you're speaking English it's weird to randomly swap out some words for their French equivalents just because they are spelled the same way in French.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:37 PM on September 13, 2019 [16 favorites]


Fwiw, Alex grew up in a bilingual home and speaks fluent French.

That's what I said
posted by aubilenon at 12:39 PM on September 13, 2019


it was just a sound and no longer a word that had meaning

Alex, what genre is the dada genre?
posted by miles per flower at 12:43 PM on September 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


What is the etiquette on stuff like this? English would be pretty unbearable if every word had to be twisted into a version of any country that happened to provide the root or origins for a word, but it makes sense in some contexts or if perhaps you speak or are tied to the language. The video in OP just kind of seems like he's saying it that way to put on airs, which whatever, good for him, but in the role of gameshow host I would think clarity of language would be priority.
posted by GoblinHoney at 12:55 PM on September 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


While showbiz_liz is correct above, his pronunciation really isn't that unusual in the community where Mr. Trebek is from (I'm from the same community) and in other French adjacent communities in Canada (he lived in Ottawa for a time as well). I suspect Anglophone Americans unfamiliar with French likely feel it is an affectation as opposed to him simply saying the word. He might be saying it with a bit more relish in some of those clips but to my ears, he's saying it how I and just about everybody I know says it. Even my Anglophone aunt pronounces it this way.
posted by Ashwagandha at 1:19 PM on September 13, 2019 [17 favorites]


For me (familiar with French French but not Canadian French) his pronunciation kind of falls into an uncanny valley. It's not really a (French) French pronunciation because he's not pronouncing the 'r' the way you would in French, which involves completely different muscles than in English, and that difference affects the surrounding sounds as well. He's also not doing the standard (American?) English pronunciation. He's somewhere in between, and maybe what bothers some listeners is a perceived failure to commit.

That, and the fact that when (American?) English speakers want to make fun of French and its perceived snootiness they'll often focus specifically on the nasal 'n', which Trebek so lovingly emphasizes.
posted by trig at 1:25 PM on September 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


The weirdest part is when he says "genres," and it's French up until the S and then suddenly turns English.
posted by biogeo at 1:28 PM on September 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


French pronunciation because he's not pronouncing the 'r' the way you would in French

That's right. In my branch of Canadian French if you were to pronounce that 'r' as you do in European French you'd be thought of as being snooty. Also that "failure to commit" as you describe is a feature of some regional forms of Canadian French (especially outside of Quebec with older people). You hear it in the English speakers as well as the French speakers of those communities. And yes it is kind of weird. I recall the first time I was in Quebec and spoke with my regional French accent - they asked me if I was Greek.
posted by Ashwagandha at 1:35 PM on September 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


I'm from a firmly English-speaking part of Canada and I've always heard it the way Trebek says. Not weird to me.
posted by tickingclock at 1:39 PM on September 13, 2019 [7 favorites]


Not in English, it isn't. It's not "a French word" at this point, it's an English word derived from a French word.
The link you provided lists his pronunciation as the second one. And as many have pointed out, he's from a French-bilingual background, so those loan words are likely to get a French-Canadian tinge to them.

I don't see what the fuss is aboat.
posted by skullhead at 1:53 PM on September 13, 2019 [9 favorites]


Ya, similar background here and the only thing weird about his pronunciation to me is how American the R sound is.
posted by Evstar at 1:59 PM on September 13, 2019


"Did you know that Trebek speaks French?" is an in-house in-joke.

What really presses me is the way they say sophomore.
posted by Ruki at 2:08 PM on September 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


Doesn't sound like anything to me.
posted by Nelson at 2:27 PM on September 13, 2019 [7 favorites]


Now do him pronouncing GIF.
posted by Edward L at 2:35 PM on September 13, 2019 [5 favorites]


The weirdest part is when he says "genres," and it's French up until the S and then suddenly turns English.

Like Dry Lips, you oughta move to Kapuskasing and you'll get more of that version of French.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:38 PM on September 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


Now do him pronouncing GIF

I'll fight anyone who doesn't pronounce it /ʒif.ə̥ /

that's supposed to be a whispered schwa
posted by The Tensor at 2:57 PM on September 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


John热
posted by saysthis at 3:07 PM on September 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


Is that how he pronounces the name of the street in Detroit, too?
posted by The World Famous at 3:17 PM on September 13, 2019


Do his Yves Saint Laurent next!
posted by soelo at 3:38 PM on September 13, 2019


What is: the genre of kicking cancer’s ass?
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:22 PM on September 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


I don't see what the fuss is aboat.

I'm sorry?
posted by loquacious at 4:30 PM on September 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry soary?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:37 PM on September 13, 2019 [5 favorites]


Doesn't sound like anything to me.

Yes, Bernard.
posted by Philofacts at 5:33 PM on September 13, 2019


I'm generally not a fan of dunking on the way people talk. It's generally not something they choose, and they may not even be aware of it. Trebek is clearly saying the word like he was brought up to say it, not as an affectation (and even if it was an affectation, I don't think that would be the worst thing in the world. Most of the english-speaking world pronounces 'genre' this way, you know. Americans are the outliers here).

It's possible I'm am sensitive to this as I've always had an "outlier" accent that did not align to my rural Australian background. It's just the way I talk, and I'm not going to "put on" an accent perceived to be genuine, just to satisfy some norms. Let your freak flag fly, Alex.
posted by smoke at 5:38 PM on September 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


It's generally not something they choose, and they may not even be aware of it. Trebek is clearly saying the word like he was brought up to say it, not as an affectation

I can assure you, he is aware of it. His tendency to overpronounce foreign words (and words that have much less... "flavorful" pronunciation in common North American English usage) is something that many writers, contestants, audience members, and interviewers have mentioned to him over the years. There is a reason that the compiler of the video was able to pull so many instances of the word "genre" appearing on the show, and he didn't have to go very deep to find them.

(and even if it was an affectation, I don't think that would be the worst thing in the world.

Alex Jacob is a known nice guy in poker circles and was popular enough with the producers of Jeopardy! to be invited to the All-Star Games earlier this year. If you don't think Trebek had an absolute veto, well, there were some people who won more money and more games than Jacob who weren't there; it was not because Jeopardy! lost their phone numbers. I feel pretty safe that his intent in making this (and I know that mine in posting it) was purely affectionate. No one thinks it's the worst thing in the world, or even the worst thing on television, or even a bad thing at all.
posted by Etrigan at 7:24 PM on September 13, 2019 [7 favorites]


GoblinHoney: "What is the etiquette on stuff like this? English would be pretty unbearable if every word had to be twisted into a version of any country that happened to provide the root or origins for a word, but it makes sense in some contexts or if perhaps you speak or are tied to the language. "

There was an SNL skit many years ago with Jimmy Smits where all the Anglo people are hyper-correctly pronouncing words like "enchilada" and "San Diego."
posted by Chrysostom at 9:10 PM on September 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


I remember a Prairie Home Companion skit advertising a course on how to pronounce classical composers' names like NPR DJs do.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:23 PM on September 13, 2019


Not in English, it isn't. It's not "a French word" at this point, it's an English word derived from a French word. If you're speaking English it's weird to randomly swap out some words for their French equivalents just because they are spelled the same way in French.

As a French Canadian who speaks almost no French I feel like I am the one true authority on American pronunciation of French words. My basic rule is that whatever Americans do to a French word it is going to be awkward like Rick Steves trying to blend in in Europe.

The dissonance produced here by Trebek is that he breaks the rule of American rule breaking and pronounces that one word like a french speaker would and it is wrong that he is not wrong in the way he should be wrong as an Americanized Canadian.

It's easy to understand once you grasp that it is ungraspable. My next TED talk will be about the underlying logic of the pronunciation rules of British place names.
posted by srboisvert at 4:44 AM on September 14, 2019 [5 favorites]


If you're speaking English it's weird to randomly swap out some words for their French equivalents

If I never again have to hear the word "milieu" pronounced in "French" by an English speaker, it will be far too soon.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:11 AM on September 14, 2019


I don't think I've heard that before. I've always pronounced it mill-yew; what is the "French" way?
posted by JDHarper at 6:58 AM on September 14, 2019


It sounds fine to me; that's how Capt. John Luke Picard says it.
posted by xedrik at 7:30 AM on September 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I've always pronounced it mill-yew; what is the "French" way?

It's sort of "mee-lyuh", and really lean into a Maurice Chevalier accent warning: TVTropes link.
posted by Etrigan at 8:46 AM on September 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Totally normal around my parts. In fact I had to click on the link to remember how it is pronounced in "English" since everyone who speaks English around me says it more or less like Trebek. See also: croissant, depanneur, entrepreneur, entrée, avant-garde, cliché, faux pas. No one is trying to be fancy-pants, they just speak some franglais.

One time I was stuck in Minot (My-not) North Dakota and was asking a confused someone about their town of Minot (Me-noh). I grew up in a unilingual English family and had had crappy high-school French only at that point so I guess the double sided cereal boxes and lacklustre public school French still teach us something about pronunciation when we are young.
posted by Cuke at 10:19 AM on September 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


If I never again have to hear the word "milieu" pronounced in "French" by an English speaker, it will be far too soon.

Metafilter once again confirms what I firmly have believed for much of my life - the US is a weird place. I guess Americans pronounce milieu - meel-yoo.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:22 PM on September 14, 2019


For Canadians there are some French-origin words we pronounce differently from Americans (eg. foyer, niche, clique, lieutenant, and apparently, genre). It's not like anyone's trying to be a fancy-pants, that's just how we say those words. In English.
posted by emeiji at 4:49 PM on September 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I've always pronounced it mill-yew; what is the "French" way?

David Letterman once said "My problem with French is that I don't know when to stop saying a word. Milieuuuu. Milieuuuuuuuuuuuuu…"
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:22 PM on September 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


For Canadians there are some French-origin words we pronounce differently from Americans (eg. foyer, niche, clique, lieutenant, and apparently, genre).

I'm curious now. As an American, I pronounce these foy-ay, neesh or nish pretty interchangably, click, loo-ten-ent, zhanruh. I'm guessing the Canadian pronunciation is foy-ay, neesh, cleek, lyuh-ten-ent, and zhanruh but with that special gusto that comes traipsing out when Trebek says it?
posted by Navelgazer at 7:03 AM on September 15, 2019


lyuh-ten-ent

This one’s a bit of a curve ball: usually (and formally) “lef-ten-ent,” using the UK pronunciation, but this is not universal. You’ll hear it as “loo-ten-ent” as well.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:05 PM on September 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


I like mispronouncing lieutenant like the German lieutenants in Return to Castle Wolfenstein. "loy-tuh-nent"
posted by aubilenon at 4:55 PM on September 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Abstract Expressionism, Gothic, battle royale, found footage, alternate history, Gothic again, self-help, gospel, picaresque, Rodeo, Gladiator, anime (Maine), reality, blaxploitation, soul, jazz, the blues, magical realism, bluegrass, science fiction, Michael Crichton, science fiction, science fiction, tragedy, science fiction, science fiction, reggae, country.
posted by aws17576 at 11:58 PM on September 15, 2019


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