You Choose

29 May

canaille –  n.  rabble, riffraff, common people

Classical Usage:  The word is actually from the French for dog, which makes it even more fitting for Stowe’s context.  Augustine St Clare and his twin brother Alfred are discussing slavery.  Alfred has this to say, “It is the educated, the intelligent, the wealthy, the refined, who ought to have equal rights, and not the canaille.  His brother replies, “If you can keep the canaille of that opinion.  They took their turn once, in France.”

Classically Mad Usage:  We’re going to focus on pronunciation today.  You can either say it with a French snobby-air that tells everyone you are above the masses:  “Can I be part of the canaille?”  or, you can identify yourself with the everyman, the plumber, the waitress, the carpenter, and say,: “I can nail that as good as any canaille.”

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Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Uncle Tom's Cabin


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