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Bob Ross

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Re: How do you pronounce "Merlot"?

by Bob Ross » Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:35 pm

Just so the linguist record is clear, the first uses of Merlot were in Great Britain. According to the OED:

1825 J. BUSBY Treat. Culture Vine ii. 71 The murleau. This variety announces much vigour, by the strength of its wood.

1833 C. REDDING Hist. Mod. Wines v. 141 The vine plants most cultivated in the canton of Bourg are the merlot, the carminet, the mancin, the teinturier, the petit chalosse noire, and..the prolongeau.


The Busby spelling seems to my eye to favor the MURR low variant.

The OED has three different pronunciations for the word -- one British, two US. I haven't been able to copy the markings.

I'm very surprised to read your position, Peter, that folks in the US made this a popular word, given the importance of Merlot on the Right Bank in Bordeaux.

Regards, Bob
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Re: How do you pronounce "Merlot"?

by Bob Ross » Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:39 pm

"I think what most participants to the thread see is the dichotomy between prescriptive and descriptive grammars."

I agree with everything you write here, Otto. There is, however, a practical issue.

There are two very distinctive US pronunciations of "Merlot". Both appear to be acceptable, but in some restaurants, waitstaff and sommeliers have been known to correct the way people pronounce the word.

Sad ... it discourages people from ordering wine, I think. Especially when this is such a popular grape.

The power of words ....

Regards, Bob
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Gary Barlettano

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Re: How do you pronounce "Merlot"?

by Gary Barlettano » Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:54 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:Three cheers for descriptive linguistics!


Hmmm, Otto, I see you take a very "Grimm" view of things. :roll:
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Michael Pronay

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Re: How do you pronounce "Merlot"?

by Michael Pronay » Sat Sep 30, 2006 5:28 pm

Peter, sorry if my posts seemed condescending, it was not my purpose. I tried to transport a little humor.

Of course you are right about merlot being brought to Englisdh speaking countries via the Americas.

But this does not rule out that "Merlot" wines have been well-known for at least half a century in countries where the German, Italian or Eastern languages prevail.
Ceterum censeo corticem esse delendam
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Gary Barlettano

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Re: How do you pronounce "Merlot"?

by Gary Barlettano » Sat Sep 30, 2006 6:09 pm

Slow down, you drink too fast,
You have to make the bottle last,
Just, sipping down some of Wachau's own,
Lookin' for fun and drinkin' Groovy ....

:lol:

Oops! Should have been in the other thread!
Last edited by Gary Barlettano on Sat Sep 30, 2006 6:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Bill Spohn

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Re: How do you pronounce "Merlot"?

by Bill Spohn » Sat Sep 30, 2006 6:19 pm

Image

Sorry, but it hits me in the funny bone when I see Americans trying to pronounce French names.

A nation that pronounces 'Macon' to rhyme with 'bacon', and thinks that the French car, the Renault, rhymes with pole vault....well, you have more problems in this area than trying to get one grape name correct.....but I guess one has to start somewhere.

Image No offence or anything....
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Bob Ross

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Re: How do you pronounce "Merlot"?

by Bob Ross » Sat Sep 30, 2006 6:40 pm

"Lookin' for fun and drinkin' Groovy .... "

Well, Gary, Merlot is pretty groovy too. :-)
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Gary Barlettano

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Re: How do you pronounce "Merlot"?

by Gary Barlettano » Sat Sep 30, 2006 6:42 pm

Don't forget to click on the word "Groovy!!" :lol:
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Re: How do you pronounce "Merlot"?

by Bob Ross » Sat Sep 30, 2006 6:47 pm

Thanks for the reminder to click on groovy, Gary.

Very pretty -- a perfect tune to drink a glass of Grüner Veltliner with.

The music and the wine make me smile in the same way. :D
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Re: How do you pronounce "Merlot"?

by Otto » Sun Oct 01, 2006 4:23 am

Gary Barlettano wrote:Hmmm, Otto, I see you take a very "Grimm" view of things. :roll:


Well of course! If I didn't I'd have to talk of peat instead of "feet" and turd instead of "third". But maybe that would be good considering my tastes in whisky (peaty = good) and wine (s**t rocks). Ok, I find myself a bit creepy sometimes, making such grimm puns.
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
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Peter May

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Re: How do you pronounce "Merlot"?

by Peter May » Sun Oct 01, 2006 6:44 am

Bob Ross wrote:I'm very surprised to read your position, Peter, that folks in the US made this a popular word, given the importance of Merlot on the Right Bank in Bordeaux.



Well there you go Bob, I think you've made the point yourself.

How many people do you think recognise the world Merlot as a red wine, and how many of those know what is meant by the 'right bank in Bordeaux'?

Merlot may have been grown for donkeys years in Bordeaux, and many people preferred the softer wines of St Emilion, but the M word didn't appear on the label and few (outside experts like yourself) knew the connection.

By the way, in the first edition of Hugh Johnsons 'World Atlas of Wine', revised edition of 1977 Hugh says:

"Hence the best wines of the New World use the grape names to specify the character of the wine. And hence the curious fact that to an ordinary Californian the words Cabernet Sauvignon are more familiar than they areto a Parisian gourmet."
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Re: How do you pronounce "Merlot"?

by AlexR » Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:46 am

Hoke,

When you write:
"You Old World guys had your turn. Now it's ours. (I don't think it will be for long, but hey, that's how it goes."
Are you referring to wine or empire?

I'm puzzled and wondering if you are equating the United States with ancient Rome...

Best regards,
Alex R.
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Re: How do you pronounce "Merlot"?

by Covert » Sun Oct 01, 2006 11:55 am

Jenise wrote:Bob, I've been told that MARE-low is correct


That would be good for a short stallion, but I would be careful pronouncing it at all. You never know who might be listening with a golf club in hand.
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