Now here’s a funny word if ever I saw one. For the longest time I didn’t even realise it was Spanish. I’d been walking past the “Ale Hop” shops (a franchise here in Spain, which sells cool little gadgets, trinkets, and stuff that makes fun presents) and in my head I was pronouncing the name “eɪl hɒp”*, thinking it was some English or German word for a pub crawl or something. Tee hee. Silly me.
I don’t remember when the penny dropped. I think I heard my partner Alejandro mucking about with the kids, making them jump over obstacles or through hoops or some such daddy rough-housing, when I finally made the connection. “Ohhhhhhhh! Ale hop!!” (ælɛ hɒp*). Sounds kind of how a French personal trainer might tell you to hop up on the monkey bars at the gym, “allez hup” (but we’d better leave that little fantasy right there… Pop it in a box and walk away, Louisa…)
Lo and behold, after carrying out extensive online research (OK, Wikipedia), I found out that it is, indeed, a phrase of French origin: “allez hop!” and is “used as a cue by French gymnasts and trapeze artists.” So there you go. Mystery solved. You’re welcome, dear ñerdies. 😉
What funny words or phrases have you misunderstood for a long time, and when/how did the penny drop?
* Hope I got that right. Phonetics was not my strongest subject at uni… Feel free to correct me, language-geeky friends. 🙂
Photo by Viktor Hanacek