Aug. 14th, 2013

bellinghman: (Caricature)
Further to this post, sister now has a new house. She's had to pay cash because her last relationship left her with a trashed credit rating (as well as a very sour taste in her mouth) as a result of her being injudicious in trusting her fellow financially. However, with her inheritance and with a few thousand loaned to her by [livejournal.com profile] bellinghwoman and me, she's managed to scrape together enough money and get herself a semi, in Bosham near Chichester.

She's going to be paying us back in what she doesn't have to spend on rent.

We may decide to drop in on her on the 24th. Hey, it's not far from the house-warming we're going to already. Only the next door county, and if we're having to go south of the river anyway ...
bellinghman: (Caricature)
There is a drink. It is made by injecting high pressure steam through finely ground coffee to cause the coffee to be quickly 'squeezed' from the grounds, and it's made on purpose just for you: there's no batch production.

Or, in other words, it is expressly expressed from the grounds, and expressly for you.

What a wonderful collision of three different meanings of a word. It's understandable that the originators decided to call it 'express coffee'. Except that, they being Italian and the letter 'x' not being in the Italian alphabet[1], that became 'espresso'.

So the Italian word for it is 'espresso'.

The French, however, call it 'expresso', since they have the letter 'x' in their alphabet, as do the Spanish (who call it 'expreso' - note the non-doubled 's').

(I have seen someone mocking French company Carte Noire for calling their drink 'expresso'. This is one of those cases where the ignorance is not where the mocker thought it was.)

We English usually borrow culinary words from the French rather than from the Italians, with the honourable exceptions of pizza and pasta where even the French use the Italian words. So we have courgettes rather than zucchinis. And as we have the letter 'x' (and the word 'express'), it makes more sense for us to use the French spelling than the Italian.

I note that Americans have much less of a tendency to use French sources in the kitchen — they have zucchinis and cilantro. So it's not invalid for them to use a different term in this case, one that differs in a single letter.

Me, I'm going to be perfectly happy to see either 'espresso' or 'expresso'. Both are correct in my eyes.

[1] The 26-letter western alphabet is often termed the 'Roman Alphabet'. The actual alphabet according to Italians is 21 letters: J, K, W, X and Y not being proper members, and the Romans[2] had 23 letters (missing J, U and W).

[2] Well, not all Romans at all periods, since as an example the current Romans are Italians and have 21 as previously stated.

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