Un Cupertino mignon

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From reader JD in Montreal:

"Recompose" is a form of the verb recomposer, which means "reconstruct", or in the case of telephone numbers, "redial", which is presumably is not what Lucky's worried owners had in mind. What they probably meant to write was "Récompense", French for "reward" — and presumably a helpful word processing program turned a typographical error (e.g. "Recompese") into a Cupertino.


  1. Johanne D said,

    August 11, 2012 @ 6:15 am

    Alternatively to the typo theory, an anglophone wrote it and their spell checker was in English by default (or it would have caught the absence of an accent on Male).

    Bilingual texts are funny that way. Once my program turned Malcolmson into "malcommode" and it stayed that way until my revisor caught it.

    (By the way, your title is much cuter!)

  2. Mark Mandel said,

    August 11, 2012 @ 10:26 pm

    It was almost certainly not written by an anglophone. Witness the word order, blindly following French "NP(name of breed) ADJ ADJ", producing a massively inappropriate apparent occurrence of the very common noun phrase "white male". Perhaps that phrase is not nearly so common in Montréal, which probably has a much less variegated population than the cities I have lived in, but I can't see that line as the original.

    Also note on the top line "Le 7 Aout" instead of "…Août". (You may have to magnify your view of the picture; the "click to embiggen" actually ensmallens, because the default picture was cropped from the "embiggened" version.) I'd say the poster was produced by something that didn't have diacritical marks, or someone who didn't know how to access them.

    I just tried Google Translate. It correctly turns "caniche toy blanc male" into "white male toy poodle".

  3. Johanne D said,

    August 12, 2012 @ 7:07 am

    Mark M,

    By variegated you mean multicultural, multiethnic? Montreal? Québec's (legal) immigration rate is about twice the rate in the US, and almost all of these immigrants end up here. Plus, I live very happily in a traditional Italian neighbourhood that has more and more North Africans and Latinos coming in.

    So maybe not anglophone, but probably not francophone (I don't imagine a francophone writing août with a capital A). I should phone and ask them! But that would be cruel. Let's agree to just not know… By the way, I've seen another sign nearby that had been corrected.

  4. Boris J. said,

    August 12, 2012 @ 11:16 am

    @ Mark Mandel: Nicely done–you nailed it! It actually makes perfect sense: the poster was produced by a francophone using software with a spell checker set to English!

    @ Johanne D: "I don't imagine a francophone writing août with a capital A". Oh really? It happens all the time… unless a spell checker (set to *French*) fixes it! :)

  5. Ellen K. said,

    August 13, 2012 @ 9:07 am

    @Johanne D: Variegated means having a variety of colors. When applied to people, and in the context of talking about the phrase "white male", no, it doesn't at all mean the same as multicultural or multiethnic.

  6. Stephen Hart said,

    August 15, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

    It's hard to follow the logic here. My spell checker did indeed flag Récompense, but it suggested Recompense, a perfectly good English word. I can't imagine a computer dictionary that would do any different.

  7. Kenneth said,

    August 16, 2012 @ 9:23 am

    BTW, travelled a fair bit in USA and not many cities as multi-ethnic as Montreal. Especially the multi part. Something like a third foreign born and a quarter non-white. Not Toronto or New York, but pretty variegated. The suggestion of a speaker of neither English or French (the famous Quebec Allophone!) not so easily dismissed.

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