Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Once I figured out what was going on with the following passage from "Les Miserables," I ended up thinking it was hysterically funny! See what you think :)

"Cosette did not know what love was. She had never heard the word uttered in its earthly form. In the books of profane music which came into the convent, amour was replaced by tambour, or Pandour. This made puzzles which exercised the imagination of the great girls, such as; Oh! how delightful is the tambour! or; Pity is not a Pandour! But Cosette had left while yet too young to be much concerned about the "tambour." She did not know, therefore, what name to give to what she now experienced. Is one less sick for not knowing the name of the disease?"

OK, so the nuns don't want the girls singing songs about passionate love, so for the word, "amour," they substitute rhyming words. They use the words "tambour" and "Pandour." So what do those two words actually mean?

Tabour has several meanings, but I think the one meant here is a type of drum (think "tambourine.").

A Pandour is what is shown in today's picture. It/he is, according to thefreedictionary.com, "... one of an 18th-century force of Croatian soldiers in the Austrian service, notorious for their brutality [via French from Hungarian pandur, from Croat: guard, probably from Medieval Latin banderius summoner, from bannum ban1]." (Note about Pandour...if you google the word, you will see that there was a famous body-builder named Bobby Pandour. The internet is full of pictures of him in nothing but a fig leaf. So, when I first googled the word, I was confused and thought, "THIS is what the nuns had the little girls singing about?!?!?"

Which brings us back to our Les Mis quote...Hugo said that the great (or older) girls were puzzled. I would say so! The nuns had them substituting the words for "drum" and brutal foreign soldiers for the word "amour" in songs. The songs must have sounded completely crazy! LOL!

Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted at bermudaonion.net. We talk about and share new words that we have come across in our reading - go over to WWW and check it out!

27 comments:

  1. Wow! Your figuring out what the nuns were doing sounds like a detective story. Very interesting.

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    1. Thanks! I am having fun with this looooong book :)

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  2. Fun post! I had to laugh about Bobby Pandour! Interesting.

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    1. I thought it was funny too! Google it if you have time!

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  3. Oh, I'll be able to remember tambour since you compared it to tambourine! Both of your words are new to me.

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    1. Me too :) Thanks for coming by, and thanks for hosting!!

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  4. New words to me!!
    Here's mine:
    http://junkboattravels.blogspot.ca/2010/03/wednesdays-words-segotia.html

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  5. They are new for me also, very interesting.

    http://tributebooksmama.blogspot.com/2012/04/wondrous-words-wednesday_11.html

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  6. I like a lot your post and asked me what are the two words in the French text : I'll search them ! Thanks.

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    1. Annie - It is so nice to have a French-speaking person as I am reading Les Miserables! Thank you for coming by and looking at this!

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  7. Well, the guy in the fig leaf might make sense for some of those songs! What a great bit of research you've done!

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    1. Lisa - thank you so much :)

      I was confused at first when I googled it and all the pics of Mr. Figleaf showed up! I was like...what are these nuns DOING?!?!

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  8. I love how you delve so deeply! How's that script of yours going, by the way.

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    1. Thanks!

      See the widget at the top of my right column? Page 28 - BUT I have to do 100 pages by the end of the month :/ I think its really funny, if I do say so myself(!)

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  9. Great post. I loved reading Les Miserables and started recommending it to anyone who would brave such a long, daunting tome. If I ever get so sick I cannot read, I'll definitely want to listen to the audio book. I doubt I'll ever make time to read the novel again.

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    1. It is a big BIG book - LOL! So, I put it down for days on end, but always pick it back up again :) Thanks for your nice comment!

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  10. Excellent word post today! It was interesting but also made me laugh.

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    1. Then I accomplished my two-part goal - haha!

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  11. "Pandour" is an interesting word. Like both words.

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    1. Thanks - although I do not think either one will come up in conversation too much :)

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  12. Wonderful post Libby, obviously you put a great deal of thought into your observation, great job as always. I so enjoy reading your blog :)

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    1. Thank you very much! I hope you can join us for WWW this Wednesday, if you like?

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