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BernieM
1265107.  Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:54 am Reply with quote

In this week’s show Sandy referred to a valet in a discussion about valets and butlers.
‘Valet’, however, rhymes with mallet, and not ballet.

 
crissdee
1265118.  Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:29 am Reply with quote

I may be wrong here (suze?) but I think when it comes to "gentlemen's personal gentlemen" it rhymes with "ballet" and when it comes to Central Europeans cleaning your car really well, the other state of affairs applies.

 
Alfred E Neuman
1265123.  Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:43 am Reply with quote

Round here it’s vallay in both those circumstances.

 
BernieM
1265127.  Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:50 am Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
I may be wrong here (suze?) but I think when it comes to "gentlemen's personal gentlemen" it rhymes with "ballet" and when it comes to Central Europeans cleaning your car really well, the other state of affairs applies.


The word is the same in both senses.

 
GuyBarry
1265137.  Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:25 am Reply with quote

From a quick search it looks as though the original pronunciation was with the "t" sounded, and that the pronunciation to rhyme with "ballet" was a hypercorrection influenced by its French origin. Nevertheless, for the meaning "personal manservant" the latter is the only one that I generally hear (in southern England), and the one I use myself. It's listed first in the COED.

The "vehicle attendant" meaning seems to have come across from North America, where they don't generally pronounce the "t". It seems to be more often used as a verb here, especially in the form "valeting", where in my experience the "t" seems to be pronounced, maybe to make it easier to say. All a bit of a muddle really.

 
BernieM
1265160.  Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:29 am Reply with quote

https://blog.oup.com/2013/04/french-words-in-english-niche-valet-ballet/

 
BernieM
1265163.  Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:33 am Reply with quote

Also:

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=YtojrMr0Ft4C&pg=PA484&lpg=PA484&dq=valet+“pseudo+french”&source=bl&ots=FNCDTV8kqf&sig=BglcckiBlXMhCSp4ZzxVXM8UhNU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjxw_mTrvDXAhUJBMAKHR71CRQQ6AEIJzAB#v=onepage&q=valet%20“pseudo%20french”&f=false

 
tetsabb
1265211.  Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:23 pm Reply with quote

Should we 'ask Jeeves' on this issue?

 
Bondee
1265223.  Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:56 pm Reply with quote

BernieM wrote:
In this week’s show Sandy referred to a valet in a discussion about valets and butlers.
‘Valet’, however, rhymes with mallet, and not ballet.


While we're being pedantic, Sandi spells her name with an i, not a y.

 
suze
1265257.  Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:01 pm Reply with quote

Valet is a bit of an odd one. The French word from which it is derived is valette, which makes the "VAL-it" pronunciation etymologically sounder.

All the same, it's not the one that I would use. As a North American I would say va-LAY, while British people would be more likely to say VA-lay. (It is fairly common for words of French origin to be stressed differently in Britain and North America, and there are examples both ways around. Garage vs moustache.)

I'm reading suggestions that, in Britain at least, there is a class distinction in pronunciation. Those posh enough actually to have a gentleman's personal gentleman pronounce him to rhyme with mallet; those who just wish they could afford one pronounce him to rhyme with ballet.

Is the word ever used in the Fry and Laurie Jeeves and Wooster, and if so which way is it pronounced? (Hugh Laurie went to Eton, so I'm willing to take his word for it re how posh people talk!)

 
ali
1265265.  Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:02 pm Reply with quote

Jeeves and Wooster episode 1 - Bertie is about to use the word 'valets'.

 
suze
1265272.  Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:03 pm Reply with quote

Good work ali. The suggestions I was reading appear to hold a non-zero amount of water.

 
Alfred E Neuman
1265282.  Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:12 am Reply with quote

So, have we established that BernieM is quite posh then? :-)

 
suze
1265448.  Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:37 pm Reply with quote

He will have to answer that for himself, but it is possible.

I note from Bernie's profile that he is from Monmouthshire. The mallet classes tend to think that Monmouthshire is in "England really", and the town of Monmouth itself once sought to switch into Herefordshire if it were ever declared definitively that Monmouthshire is in Wales. That was in fact so declared in 1972, but the town of Monmouth is still in Wales.

 
BernieM
1265804.  Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:16 pm Reply with quote

Yes indeed I am posh; I am both disgustingly rich and have the class to have a full fruit bowl, even when no-one is ill. 😀

 

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