Tricky Words in this week's OVI
Pétanque - say /peTANK/ - is the French name for their version of the English game of bowls, which is not connected with "hlboká misa" but with "guľa". In pétanque the players lob (throw through the air) solid metal balls a bit bigger than tennis balls, aiming for the litte target ball called the jack (which they call "cochonnet", or "piglet" - say /košone/), playing not on grass but an area of sand.
The word pétanque was created through onomatopeia, which is "zvukomaľba", with the "pé" suggesting the lob, and the "tanque" imitating the sound of the metal ball hitting the others on the ground. The other French name for this is "boule" - say /búl/ - which might make you think of "boulevard" /búlváá/, where the game is often played on the sandy strip between the rows of trees, but in fact boulevard comes from the German "Bollwerk", in Slovak "hradba", city fortifications which were transformed into wide avenues when they were removed in the 19th century.
This week's question is about job titles, specifically about the origin of USSK position titles like "Director Sales" or "Vice President Operations". Why not "Director of Sales" or "Vice President for Operations"? The answer is that strictly speaking, according to English grammatical patterns, the titles should include "of" or "for", and I can imagine that when the people concerned introduce themselves in conversation, speaking face to face with another person, they say "I'm director of sales", and so on.
Less formally they might say "I'm sales director." But in corporate documents like organization structure schemes, internal mail, and even office door name-plates, position titles get shortened so as to save space, while still communicating the necessary information. So this is an example of corporate written jargon.
Please send questions about English language habits to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will choose one to answer each week. AB
Už po osemnásty raz budeme môcť prostredníctvom firemnej iniciatívy Stromček prianí urobiť počas najkrajších sviatkov roka radosť aj celkom neznámym deťom.