French Word of the Day - Souvenir

In English, souvenir is pronounced; Soo venn EER

In French it is pronounced: Soo venn EERRR

In French it means remembrance or memory and so it it fitting that souvenir is what we call the items we buy to remember a vacation, an event or a person.

This is the Quebec licence plate. In 1978, the motto was changed from La Belle Province  - The Beautiful Province - to "Je me souviens". 

It means "I remember".  

What is the meaning behind "I remember"? There are only theories about the true meaning which makes me think they're holding out on us Anglophones or else why is it stamped permanently on a licence plate? Some say that it means citizens of Quebec value their Francophone roots and this is what they are remembering. Yes, yes of course they do.  I think there's more to it.

An architect by the name of Eugene-Etienne Tache wanted Je Me Souviens carved below the Quebec coat of arms that was over the entrance to the Quebec parliament. He left no document explaining why. However he is also  thought to be the composer of this poem:

Je me souviens (I remember)
Que né sous le lys, (Born under the lily,)
Je croîs sous la rose. (I grow under the rose)

Anyone worth their weight in Phillipa Gregory novels knows the Lily is France and the Rose is England and England believed for centuries that they owned France. Is this what they remember and so they work hard to keep their French identity?  I call politics on this one, but I don't blame them.  Vive la belle province!



Follow by Email

Powered by Blogger.