Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Big Question....

Is it Toe-tAl or Toe-tul?

14 comments:

Lorraine Kelly said...

It's toe-tol

dizzy said...

There's always one isn't there!

Morus said...

So your question is trochee, spondee or iamb?

As it's French, I think the last of these.

basementcat said...

Toe-Tal. Went through a brief patch of being Total-Fina-Elf.

Anonymous said...

Toe-tul

Just because it will get up the nose of out European job stealing friends across the water.

Croydonian said...

The former, definitely. That is how one would pronounce it in French, and it is a French company

Jonathan Cook said...

Toe-Tal - when you are in France and seeking directions to a petrol station.

Toe-tul - when you are in the UK and seeking directions to a petrol station.

Toe-curl - when you hear Keith Vaz inferring that the strikers are Xenophobic and pulling the race card on them.

Pogo said...

To'al innit?

Idle Pen Pusher said...

If you're the sort of person who calls the French capital "Pa-ree" then it's "Toh-tahl".

If you say "Pa-riss" then it's "Toe-tul".

Ben Maccer said...

I often wondered about this. I came to the conclusion that it's Toe-tAl. For three reasons:

1) If you call it Toe-tul, then it's just another word in the English language, making it sound a bit weird (I realise that companies like Innocent Smoothies do that without any problems, but they're doing it with a very definite branding purpose. "Total" doesn't seem to have the same effect). Toe-tAl makes it clearer that you're talking about a company.

2) It's a French company, so perhaps we should pronounce it with a French lilt (a bit like various perfumes). That's not a complete argument in itself, but I think it helps tip the balance in favour of Toe-tAl.

3) A friend of mine worked there and she called it Toe-tAl. And presumably she would know.

So, add those three things up and it seems to go in favour of Toe-tAl.

Anonymous said...

Tur-tul, up here in the north east, like the sea-dwelling shelled reptile.

Alex said...

What's all this French pronunciation stuff about?

Q: How do they pronounce Orange? A: Or-onj, not Or-inj as God intended.

Also, I am reliably informed that in the USA Esso is pronounced Exxon (and they supposedly speak the same language as us).

James D said...

It's clearly Toe-tul. Toe-TAL is the worst kind of pseudo-French: that "oe" vowel is just so wrong, so it's best not to try...

Anonymous said...

At a guess i would say put a schwa sound in there - basically an indeterminate sound -english pronunciation is full of them.
pocket oed says indeterminate vowel sound
So its neither.
However pronunciation varies around the country but in my version of Southern this seems right but might be different in London/ home counties.