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A quick cuppa - Off in the distance
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May 2016
 

The Bellinghman
Date: 2013-08-14 12:42
Subject: A quick cuppa
Security: Public
Tags:food, language
There is a drink. It is made by injecting high pressure steam through finely ground coffee to cause the coffee to be quickly 'squeezed' from the grounds, and it's made on purpose just for you: there's no batch production.

Or, in other words, it is expressly expressed from the grounds, and expressly for you.

What a wonderful collision of three different meanings of a word. It's understandable that the originators decided to call it 'express coffee'. Except that, they being Italian and the letter 'x' not being in the Italian alphabet[1], that became 'espresso'.

So the Italian word for it is 'espresso'.

The French, however, call it 'expresso', since they have the letter 'x' in their alphabet, as do the Spanish (who call it 'expreso' - note the non-doubled 's').

(I have seen someone mocking French company Carte Noire for calling their drink 'expresso'. This is one of those cases where the ignorance is not where the mocker thought it was.)

We English usually borrow culinary words from the French rather than from the Italians, with the honourable exceptions of pizza and pasta where even the French use the Italian words. So we have courgettes rather than zucchinis. And as we have the letter 'x' (and the word 'express'), it makes more sense for us to use the French spelling than the Italian.

I note that Americans have much less of a tendency to use French sources in the kitchen — they have zucchinis and cilantro. So it's not invalid for them to use a different term in this case, one that differs in a single letter.

Me, I'm going to be perfectly happy to see either 'espresso' or 'expresso'. Both are correct in my eyes.

[1] The 26-letter western alphabet is often termed the 'Roman Alphabet'. The actual alphabet according to Italians is 21 letters: J, K, W, X and Y not being proper members, and the Romans[2] had 23 letters (missing J, U and W).

[2] Well, not all Romans at all periods, since as an example the current Romans are Italians and have 21 as previously stated.
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Martin Wisse
User: martin_wisse
Date: 2013-08-14 15:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And of course in Dutch, expresso sounds like expres zo, deliberately [done] this way which again fits in with your derivation...
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2013-08-14 15:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hmm, I don't think we need to tell the Amircans that, they're too attached to turning 's' into 'z' anyway, and next we know they'd have the 'esprezzo'.

(Does a quick Google)

Oh damn. There's already a café named Esprezzo, and I've driven less than a kilometre form it, in Perth, WA. I shan't bother changing careers then.
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Jos Dingjan: pic#17231604
User: happydisciple
Date: 2013-08-14 18:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:pic#17231604
Pasta? Mais non, ce sont des pâtes!
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2013-08-14 22:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Vraiment?

Spaghetti and macaroni and so on, all have French names?

The word 'Pasta' itself, not a surprise, but it was the varieties I meant, though I can see why my wording may have been imprecise (always a potential issue when discussing language itself).
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Jos Dingjan: pic#17231604
User: happydisciple
Date: 2013-08-15 17:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:pic#17231604
Macaroni, yes ('cause in Italian it would be maccheroni), spaghetti, no.
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Plastic Bertrand Russell
User: burkesworks
Date: 2013-08-15 13:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ah, but why is that coach service along the M40 called the Oxford Espress? It doesn't even serve coffee of any kind...
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