Friday, January 25, 2013

Hot in Translation

The Oscars are coming up, so there is a lot of talk about movies at my work. Here is a snippet from a conversation I had with someone yesterday:

Colleague: Did you see Silver Linings Playbook?

Me: Yes. I think it might actually be my favorite.

Colleague: Wasn’t Bradley Cooper great?

Me: He was, but have you seen him in that interview speaking French?

Yes, I am still obsessed with this interview from back in April 2012 when Mr. Cooper was promoting Hangover 2. It might be the sexiest thing I have ever seen. In my opinion, it’s his best performance to date.

In general, I think it’s so impressive when someone is bilingual. And since I am not bilingual but still like to be impressed with myself, I’ll slip in some foreign words every now and then.

For example, if someone asks me how I’m feeling, I might answer, “I am currently experiencing a bit of ennui.” And, voilà, I feel better about myself.

That’s why I am so happy that we use i.e. and e.g. in the English language. I.e. is the abbreviation for the Latin term id est and e.g. is the abbreviation for the Latin term exemplia gratia. Latin is super impressive!

I’ve already covered the difference in meaning between the two in this blog post, but what about how to punctuate them? Do they belong in parentheses? Do they require commas before? Commas after? Semicolons? Oh my!

The general consensus is that in the U.S. i.e. and e.g. are either encased in commas OR in parentheses followed by a comma:

Bradley Cooper’s best performance, i.e., his interview in French, should have won an award for best foreign film.


Bradley Cooper’s best performance (i.e., his interview in French) should have won an award for best foreign film.
This website says it’s okay to use a semicolon preceding i.e. and e.g. rather than a comma:

There are other hot actors who are bilingual; e.g., Viggo Mortensen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Colin Firth.

C'est magnifique!


Mark said...

That's not the only kind of bi I hope Viggo Mortenson is...what I would do to that man must be illegal. I knew i.e. and e.g. were Latin but I didn't know what they actually meant. I think of all the languages I would like to know Latin is either at the top of the list, or so very close to the top that it can be considered a joint first.

Shelly said...

You left out Matthew McConaughey in your list of bilingual actors. He is also fluent in Texan.

the late phoenix said...

Jenny es muy bonita.

see, i did it, that was hot, huh?

as long as i live, Latin will NOT be a dead language. now after i'm dead, it can go back to being dead...

those semicolons are much like my new cat: they are troublesome, but you still love them.

Carol Kilgore said...

Bradley Cooper is sexy no matter what he does. Ooops! Did I say that?

Theresa Milstein said...

I do like a French accent.

I always forget this rule, so I look it up when I need it. Now I'll look it up here. Why can't it stick in my head?

ordinary malaysian said...

To punctuate or not to punctuate, all I can say is: nemo judex in causa sua - no one should be a judge in his own cause. Isn't that neat and suitably Latin and bilingual? Besides being legalese - trilingual? 太棒了! ie C'est magnifique!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

I have always written it like this:

Bradley Cooper’s best performance (i.e., his interview in French) should have won an award for best foreign film.

Therefore, THAT is the correct way of writing it. Period (i.e., .).

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness I just watched that interview and I think I have an even bigger crush on him now! You mentioned that Joseph Gordon- Levitt is bilingual?!?! He is my all time favorite male actor, what language does he speak???

As for the grammar lesson, I always believed that those should be encased with commas. But I am seeing there is quite a debate on the comment log so I could be wrong.

DiscConnected said...

Wow, Jenny-

From the reactions of your readers, I am kicking myself for spending all these years dating only to find out now that it just takes French to win a woman's heart!

All you single women reading, take note:

"la porte est ouverte"

"Mon crayon est jaune"

Are you swooning yet?

Okay...all I remember from high school french is how to say "the door is open" and "my pencil is yellow"....

But how about that accent?


James Garcia Jr. said...

Hmm? No. Dudes who speak several languages don't do a thing for me. Now, when the ladies do... That's another thing altogether. *grins*
Thanks for the recent blog visit and comment. I appreciate it as always. Sorry I haven't been by. I've been stuck in writer's cave, trying to finish that novel I told you about.
Have a great weekend, Jenny.


Stephen T. McCarthy said...

I thought my comment was kinda clever, but yours was downright FUNNY!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Genskie said...

woot wooot I've learned something new.

I.e and e.g


anthony stemke said...

You always have a certain Je ne sais quoi Miss Missed; I like that.

DWei said...

One more reason to love Joesph Gordon-Levitt. Ugh, no idea why I like him so much.