Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Forte: Have the strength NOT to use the word

The word "forte" has always bugged me. Not the word itself, I suppose, but it's use.

When you say "forté," you're pronouncing it wrong. It's pronounced just like "fort." But, if you were to say "That is not my fort," 99% of the people listening to you wouldn't know what you were talking about. So, you have to go on saying it all wrong, just to not sound like an idiot to that 99%. What's the world come to?

Ironically, when you pronounce the word incorrectly, that 99% that understands, yet isn't aware of the mispronunciation, thinks you're being pretentious. The other 1% thinks you're pretentious, too. Only worse. They now think you're trying to talk above your own level of "class." They've now tuned out. What's for lunch?

If you were to pronounce it correctly, that special 1% would be somewhat pleased that you said it correctly, but would then wonder how you knew the right way. Now, they're now off in their own little world, wondering why you knew the right pronunciation, knew no one would understand what you're saying, yet chose to use the word anyway. It now doesn't matter what else you're talking about, they don't remember anymore. They now think you've merely made a mistake in choosing that word and are considering what to have for lunch.

So, it's too bad about the word. It's supposed to have connotations of strength, like a military fort, no?

But, now, no matter how it's used, it dooms your point of view by distracting the listener. Stop using it. Now.

The word "strength" fits the bill quite nicely.


  1. I miss you!

    -Erika (JP's wife)

  2. LD,

    Just found your blog. Haven't had a chance to read thru all the posts, but will as time permits.

    Looking forward to meeting you at the retreat.


  3. Hi *smile*,

    In french "forte" does exist

    It's the feminin of "fort".. I would say "Je suis forte". for "I am strong"...

    but the "e", without being completely silent isn't as strong as an "é". It's just that you prononce the "t", Where as "fort" is prounced "for"

    but I think the english usage of "forte" is from the Italian.. They were very strong in fencing as well.. and the "strong" part of the blade is called "fort" in french and I believe "forte" in italien.

    But believe me.. I'm not contradicting you.. I'm really not sure of what I'm talking about .. I just thought that in english it came from the italien "forte" which means the french "fort"



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