french chad

Grant Barrett gbarrett at MONICKELS.COM
Fri Dec 1 10:15:03 UTC 2000

>>The phenomenon of overpluralization...
>>le blini (or even: le blinis, Petit Robert), les blinis
>> Russian: blin -- blini [the little thick pancakes made with
>> potatoes],

This is true in English as well.

Regarding the French use of chad or confetti:

First, the Lexis-Nexis French archives for the last month turned up only 7 different
articles with "chad", 15 with confetti and 4 with the two words in the same article.
Most of the latter use confetti as a definition/explantion of chad.

So my response to the French use data from Chris Waigl is to say: The Lexis-Nexis
data confirms his opinion on chad vs. confetti in France. But I'd say it's too close to
call as to which the French prefer: I spend a lot of time listening to French radio
and they like to roll the word "chad" around on their tongues. Maybe because it's one
of those nice, stumpy Anglo words and they get to pronounce the final consonant if
they're so inclined. Sometimes they even attempt the chuckly chattering CH, though
usually we get the slushy SH. I feel like I never hear the word confetti except as a
definition of chad.

I do think confetti will win in the end.

Second, for the record, neither confetti or chad begin appearing in the French press
in connection with the election until Nov. 13, about a week after the election.

Third, below is a nice article from Agence France Presse which gives the French
version of some of the terms, with my bad article translation first. Sorry for the lack
of accents on the French version, but that's how Lexis-Nexis stores them (lame, in my


Agence France Presse
November 18, 2000
"Linguistique, politique et bulletins de vote (ENCADRE)"

A bizarre word, the image of the American electoral saga, has made its appearance in
the United States where it has bloomed for ten days: the presidential election could
depend on it.

The word is "chad." It's useless to search for a translation in French-English or
even English language dictionaries. It doesn't exist except to designate Chad, the
African country or the lake of the same name. One will be tempted to translate it as tip
of paper or confetti or "tuberosity."

The succes of the word, repeated with satisfaction on American televisions, is
linked to the manual recount of ballots underway in certain Florida counties, a state
always indecisive [undecided] and which would swing the presidential decision in favor of
Republican George W. Bush or Democrat Al Gore. In those counts, they use voting
machine which perforate the cards bearing the candidate names. When the rectangular
perforation is clean, there is no doubt.

But the machines are capricious and when the peforation is not accomplished, it
forms a "chad." But there are "chad" and then there are "chad."

Palm Beach County, where 463,000 ballots were examined by hand, has recognized after
long negotiations the validity of the following ballots:

- The piece of paper held by a sole corner.  It's called "hanging."

- It's held by two corners: It's called "hinged." [I'm not sure of the translation
on this one].

- It has not been perforated but a protuberance is visible on the ballot. When it
bulges, it's called "pregnant." If there's a lighter dent, it's called "dimpled." In
the last two cases, the electoral commission develops consensus on whether to accept or
refuse the ballot.


Un mot bizarre, a l'image de la saga electorale americaine, a fait son apparition
aux Etats-Unis ou il fait flores depuis dix jours : l'election presidentielle peut
dependre de lui.

Le mot est "chad". Inutile d'en chercher la traduction dans les dictionnaires
franco-anglais ou meme de langue anglaise, il n'existe pas sauf pour designer le Tchad,
pays africain ou lac du meme nom.
On tentera de le traduire par bout de papier ou confetti ou tuberosite.

Le succes du mot, repete a satiete sur les televisions americaines, est lie au
decompte manuel des bulletins de vote en cours dans certains comtes de Floride, Etat
toujours indecis et qui devrait faire pencher la balance presidentielle en faveur du
republicain George W. Bush ou du democrate Al Gore.
Dans ces comtes, on utilise des machines a voter qui perforent des cartes portant
les noms des candidats. Lorsque la perforation rectangulaire est nette, il n'y a pas de

Mais les machines sont capricieuses et lorsque la perforation n'a pas ete accomplie,
il se forme un "chad". Mais il y a "chad" et "chad".

Le comte de Palm Beach ou 462.000 bulletins sont examines a la main, a reconnu,
apres de longues tractations, la validite des bulletins de vote suivants :

- Le bout de papier tient par un seul coin. On le dit "pendant"

- Il tient par deux coins : on le dit "a bascule"

- Il n'a pas ete perfore, mais une marque protuberante est visible sur le bulletin
de vote. Quand il est bombe, on le dit "enceinte". S'il y a un leger creux, on le dit
"en fossette". Dans ces deux derniers cas, la commission electorale se concerte pour
accepter ou refuser le bulletin de vote.

More information about the Ads-l mailing list