View Full Version : Correct pronunciation of Au Bon Pain?
05-11-2003, 02:15 PM
I don't know how big this restaurant chain is, so I'm not sure how many of you out there are familiar with it. Anyway, there is one near my workplace and it seems about half the people I hear mentioning the name pronounce it one way and the other half another way. Hear are the two pronunciations I frequently hear:
ô bŏn pŏn and ô bŏn pān. Which is correct?
If its being pronounced in the French way, its essentially /o bohn pan/. Note that in /bohn/, the n is barely pronounced, if at all. If you know how to do the French mouth-shape, you'll know what I mean. "Pain" (bread) sounds pretty similar to "pan" in English, but again, the n is deemphasized. The "Au" sounds about the same as "O".
Yeah, I could use the ascii characters to make this more clear, but I'm too lazy to figure out how to do that right now, heh.
05-11-2003, 02:54 PM
So like this: ô bŏn pân? I guess it means the good bread?
05-11-2003, 02:55 PM
I mean like this? ō bŏn pân
05-11-2003, 02:59 PM
Means more like "to the good bread", surely?
05-11-2003, 03:09 PM
'At the (sign of the) good bread.' It's a medieval way of naming inns, hostels, pubs, eateries. For the benefit of the illiterate masses, the owner hangs a sign over the door with some distinctive picture. Like the Bird and Baby or the Prancing Pony. Then when saying you'll meet someone at such and such a place, you tell them "at the sign of the Bird and Baby."
In French, they still name places this way starting with Au... meaning 'at the...', when they want to impart a medieval ambience.
I would transcribe the sounds as o: bO~ pE~, in which the tilde ~ shows nasalization of the vowel.
05-11-2003, 03:36 PM
Could someone be as explicit as possible as to how the "ai" in "pain" is pronounced? Like the "a" in "pan" sounds wrong to me, but I'm not a French speaker.
05-11-2003, 03:45 PM
It's the open /E/ sound as in pen, but when nasalized it becomes more like the flat /æ/ sound in English pan.
x-ray vision, how did you make the breves and macrons? Unicode?
05-11-2003, 03:49 PM
accesories- system tools- character map
05-11-2003, 04:18 PM
You must be using Windows 2000 or XP. I have XP on my new computer (currently packed away). This one is Win98, and I can't make Unicode with it, so I never thought those advanced characters would work.
My Win98 Character Map doesn't have those characters. As I thought. I never bother with Character Map anyway, as it's too slow. I just memorize the numerical codes and type them in. But the Unicode numbers won't work unless I'm typing on 2000 or XP. I was just curious because they still display all right on my Win98, running Internet Explorer 6.0. Maybe with Netscape they won't display.
05-11-2003, 04:25 PM
Yeah, I'm looking at it now with Netscape 4.7, and the characters turned into question marks.
? b?n pân
I copied your text over from the Internet Explorer 6.0 window, pasted into this Netscape 4.7 window, and they were converted to regular letters.
o bon pân
Jomo, wishing for a future of universal Unicode compatibility...
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