Where's the X in espresso? especially?

JamesM

Senior Member
Actually the spelling really does not matter. Just because a word happens to be spelt the same in two languages does not mean that it is the same word and bound to one language alone. Do you also reject grand and petite as English words?

Did I say I rejected anything? :) I am only responding to the idea that Paris is an English word. It is also a French word. That part appeared to be missing in your original statement. The examples you provided didn't include a cognate that was spelled the same in both languages, so it was not clear from your previous statements that you were aware of the difference.
 
  • JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    Did I say I rejected anything? :) I am only responding to the idea that Paris is an English word. It is also a French word. That part appeared to be missing in your original statement. The examples you provided didn't include a cognate that was spelled the same in both languages, so it was not clear from your previous statements that you were aware of the difference.

    Well obviously Paris is also a French word.

    EDIT: And in case you were unaware, the French also spell France as France.
     
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    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I think that's what I said, isn't it?

    The difference being that both France and Paris are spelled the same way in French and English but pronounced differently...

    The odd thing about expresso is that it's pronounced like "express" but with the original spelling. Paris is following English pronunciation conventions for the letters but "espresso" doesn't. It's a different beast, in my way of categorizing things.

    As for "exspecially", I've heard it from various people, along with "exscape" and "axe" (for "ask"). I don't know that any of them are specific to a region but I've heard several people pronounce them that way over time.
     
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    Cayenarama

    Senior Member
    English-England
    Haha you're going to have to make your point a little clearer :)
    Ok, it's an obscure example but the words 'yin' and 'yang' would be written using the same characters in Japanese as in Chinese even though the pronunciation might be quite different. Other ideograms that are common to both languages have 'pronunciations' that are completely unrelated.
    Ok, thanks for bearing with me. Words slightly closer to home such as 'Koran' have extremely difficult pronunciations for non-Arab speakers (qor'an). But we do our best.
    The spelling of a word and its pronunciation can be quite independent of each other, or at least there's a certain flexibility, especially in English.
    That's always been the strongest argument for maintaining the English spelling. How could you represent all the different accents and regional variants in one phonetic system?
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    No because Paris is an English word. Like I've already said, there is a difference between having an accent and saying something incorrectly. Obviously once a mistake becomes the norm then what's done is done. But until that happens, a mistake is just that.
    I think that the comparison with "Paris" here is a misapprehension. When the word "Paris" first came to England it was with Norman pronunciation and the "s" was natively pronounced. There was never a mistake - the French in France changed, and the French in England was more conservative - much like "gotten" that the English would have used a few centuries ago survives as standard in America and has become "got" in England.

    It seems to me (and I don't put it any stronger as that, as it is easy to make misapprehensions about apparent etymology of words as the above shows) that that saying "expresso" for "espresso" is a mistake, but in a way a "learned" mistake. As others have mentioned "espresso" comes from Latin "expressus" and the "exp" remains as such in English borrowings from Latin, and so it's not a ridiculous mistake.

    In other words, I would put saying "expresso" for "espresso" in the middle of a continuum from pronouncing "Paris" with an "s" (no mistake at all) to saying "Bolognese" as "Bologneiz" (a complete mistake (don't get me wrong, though - I would never consider saying anything other than "Bologneiz" myself in English or I'd sound completely pretentious)).
     

    ocanada3933

    Member
    American/Canadian English
    OK, one of the people I know who says eX-specially is from Iowa. Could this be a mid-west (America) thing?

    I've heard it and I grew up in Columbus, Ohio. Maybe it is a Midwestern thing but I've only ever heard it from blacks. (Pardon me, but this is no place for political correctness, it's just where I've heard it.) Similarly, I've think we'd all agree that "aks" is chiefly "ebonics" or "African American Vernacular English."

    Secondly, it's easy to see why people say it: There are very few words in English that begin with 'esp-'. However, quite a number start with 'exp-'.
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    ...Similarly, I've think we'd all agree that "aks" is chiefly "ebonics" or "African American Vernacular English."

    I just have to say this really isn't true. It's heard often all over the world, more particularly in less educated people though. And it's a southern american thing. That is where ebonics is derived from after all.
     

    ocanada3933

    Member
    American/Canadian English
    I just have to say this really isn't true. It's heard often all over the world, more particularly in less educated people though. And it's a southern american thing. That is where ebonics is derived from after all.

    Like I stated, it's just where I've chiefly heard it. It's not that it "really isn't true." I just don't come into contact with uneducated folks from the South all too often.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    It should, perhaps, be mentioned that aks for ask is a survivor from older forms. Old English áscian came by metathesis to have a variant form, ácsian. The following is from the etymology for "ask, v." in the Oxford English Dictionary:

    Acsian, axian, survived in ax, down to nearly 1600 the regular literary form, and still used everywhere in midl. and southern dialects, though supplanted in standard English by ask, originally the northern form.

    That's northern, midland, and southern dialects in England, of course.
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    But I doubt that people who say aks do it for any reason to do with etymology. Today it is spelt and pronounced ask, so aks is just the result of a mild tongue twister.

    It's probably a good thing they don't use "crisps" for "chips" in america, I'd hate to see southerners struggle with that one. I know I can't pronounce it properly! Haha
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    It's probably a good thing they don't use "crisps" for "chips" in america, I'd hate to see southerners struggle with that one. I know I can't pronounce it properly! Haha

    Perhaps that's why you don't use it! ;)

    I might have missed this somewhere but I don't think anyone has mentioned that "expresso" is the French word for "espresso". If espresso was introduced to the English-speaking world via France, it would obviously have brought its French name with it, and not its original Italian name. Direct contact with the Italian original coming later would explain the current confusion and differences.

    In Scotland I say and write "espresso", incidentally.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    That's a very good point Glasguensis. I suppose the question would still remain as to why the French Frenchified the word and whether this is an "error" or not but that's for another forum. It's certainly a plausible explanation why we might end up with expresso in English though.
     

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    I might have missed this somewhere but I don't think anyone has mentioned that "expresso" is the French word for "espresso". If espresso was introduced to the English-speaking world via France, it would obviously have brought its French name with it, and not its original Italian name.
    The earlier French word for espresso was express (1950), a form which was clearly influenced by English, and only later expresso (1968). The OED cites an example of the form expresso in English from 1955.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    But I doubt that people who say aks do it for any reason to do with etymology. Today it is spelt and pronounced ask, so aks is just the result of a mild tongue twister.

    It's probably a good thing they don't use "crisps" for "chips" in america, I'd hate to see southerners struggle with that one. I know I can't pronounce it properly! Haha

    The problem with denying that the pronunciation has do with the history of the word is that it occurs in some dialects much more often than in others. The following is from a Web page quoting Understanding English Language Variation in US Schools (2011) by A.H. Charity Hudley and C. Mallinson:

    While the pronunciation of ask as axe is considered to be a nonstandardized pronunciation today, it is nevertheless very common. Many African Americans pronounce ask as axe, as do many speakers in the South, in Appalachia, in other pockets of the United States, in the Caribbean, and in parts of the United Kingdom. Part of the reason that this pronunciation is almost instantly noticed when it is used by African Americans is because it has come to be viewed as a stereotyped feature of African American English. (p. 80)

    If it were simply a matter of a mistake being made anew, we would expect it to occur in all varieties of English at the same frequency.

    That Web page goes into the matter further.


    Addition: The Web page has a link to the article "ax - ask" in The Mavens' Word of the Day, from which I quote the following:

    /aks/ is still found frequently in the South, and is a characteristic of some speech communities as far North as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Iowa.
     
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    xjm

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I think there are actually two different things going on here. Expresso is, if I recall correctly, some commercial or trademarked term for an instant coffee that was supposed to be as good as café-style espresso. The two have been blended in synecdoche. (Personally, it drives me nuts, because I am a coffee snob; older family members with more plebian coffee habits have often been subjected to me snapping, "ESSSpresso, ESSSSpresso!")

    The more general... can we call it an intrusive x? is a common feature in AAVE and "blue-collar" dialects. I've heard "exspecially" and "exscape" from people in my home community, both black and white, although more often from children or people with less formal education.
     
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    Nenio

    Senior Member
    French - France
    I might have missed this somewhere but I don't think anyone has mentioned that "expresso" is the French word for "espresso". If espresso was introduced to the English-speaking world via France, it would obviously have brought its French name with it, and not its original Italian name. Direct contact with the Italian original coming later would explain the current confusion and differences.

    Incidentally, the word "espresso" may be a lot harder for French people to pronounce than "expresso". Sometimes I say "espresso" when I go back to France and people look at me funny. Some have even asked if I had a speech impairment!

    It's true that they are sometimes called "express" in French (even nowadays) - perhaps because they are served in small cups (quicker to drink) and only take seconds to make (as opposed to filter coffee, which is what people drink in their homes). This last point, I think, may be valid in the States and the UK too.
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    If it were simply a matter of a mistake being made anew, we would expect it to occur in all varieties of English at the same frequency.

    No I disagree. And you have misunderstood if you think I don't believe the use of aks has anything to do with region/upbringing. The opposite actually, my only point on that matter was that it was far more widespread than certain african american demographics, as your sources also say.

    I see no reason to think that all tongue-twister traits should equally disperse themselves amongst all people. Obviously, certain accents are more prone to certain pronounciations. But this crops up in many places anyhow.

    My point was only that just because people have been flipping back and forth over these words hundreds of years ago, doesn't mean that it is the cause (let alone validation) of people who say aks in the present. Children say aks because they hear it said and/or they struggle to pronounce ask. It's not that complicated. They don't know anything about the etymology.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I might have missed this somewhere but I don't think anyone has mentioned that "expresso" is the French word for "espresso". If espresso was introduced to the English-speaking world via France, it would obviously have brought its French name with it, and not its original Italian name. Direct contact with the Italian original coming later would explain the current confusion and differences..
    I mentioned it quietly in #46 because this is labeled an "English only" forum. It is quite possible that the early use in Britain in the 50s and 60s came from the "French scene" rather than the Italian "scene" and popularized the x version.
    It's not that complicated. They don't know anything about the etymology.
    But etymology is the study of how words change over time and as they move from one language to another - the users don't think to themselves "What would etymology do?" they do what comes naturally.

    I think I'll go out on a limb here and suggest that the folks who tolerate the x version of expresso are old enough to have lived through the earlier era when it was more common (or perhaps they have French connections) while those who absolutely can't tolerate it are "elitist newbies who feel that their precious drink must be named in its native language" - how dare anyone anglicize it? :D:D

    I personally don't care whether it is spelled (spelt anyone?) with an x or an s and don't consider either of them to be "incorrect"! No doubt, today the s version is more common but that doesn't make the x version suddenly "wrong" whether in Anglophone countries let alone Francophone ones.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    In my esperience the espresso form is more common in writing - I'd espect to see it on a menu - but the expresso pronunciation is more common. But I don't say that scientifically, just based in what I think I hear and see round where I live.
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    But etymology is the study of how words change over time and as they move from one language to another - the users don't think to themselves "What would etymology do?" they do what comes naturally.

    That's what I was saying. I've known plenty of people to say aks, and they all know it's wrong, and they just have difficulty saying it. None of them say "oh well it used to be spelt and pronounced like this!".

    And as far as all these (to me) elusive people who say expresso go, I imagine it's much the same. What percentage of them have ever seen "expresso" written or know of it's previous use? Not many is my guess. And better still what would be interesting to know is how many, if any, coffee shops in the anglophone world use "expresso"? If anything should indicate what is "correct", it should be that.
     

    xjm

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Actually, "expresso" is well-attested in written form. (Just give it a google.)

    Interesting example I found googling:
    The Expresso Shoppe, Your Internet Source for All Things Espresso

    So, clearly, there are some who distinguish the two words--it's not just a matter of mistaken pronunciation.

    Also, while not authoritative, urban dictionary is entertaining on the subject, and illustrates the stigma associated with this form of the word:
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=expresso

    Edit: There is also apparently a model of van called "Expresso":
    http://www.intellichoice.com/1-12-1...ager-expresso-4dr-extended-passenger-van.html
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    Actually, "expresso" is well-attested in written form. (Just give it a google.)

    Interesting example I found googling:
    The Expresso Shoppe, Your Internet Source for All Things Espresso

    So, clearly, there are some who distinguish the two words--it's not just a matter of mistaken pronunciation.

    Also, while not authoritative, urban dictionary is entertaining on the subject, and illustrates the stigma associated with this form of the word:
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=expresso

    Edit: There is also apparently a model of van called "Expresso":
    http://www.intellichoice.com/1-12-1...ager-expresso-4dr-extended-passenger-van.html

    But see this is my point, this Expresso shop sells ESPRESSO, not EXPRESSO.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    And better still what would be interesting to know is how many, if any, coffee shops in the anglophone world use "expresso"? If anything should indicate what is "correct", it should be that.
    That would only define which of the two variants is more common, not (whether there will be any consensus on) whether it is "correct" or not.

    There will be ~300 million people in a country where spelled is spelled spelled and a smaller number of perhaps 50 million in one and 20 million in another where spelled is spelled spelt is considered totally acceptable. However, in the big country, spelt would be called wrong by many , by sheer force of unfamiliarity but the whole other group says it's right.

    I simply don't understand why one of the forms of the coffee word has to be declared wrong, that's my point. I've stipulated (there, I used it in a sentence outside of a courtroom!) that the x version is less common and is not the word used in Italy. However, it is simply a documented variant within English.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    I agree with Julian - and I would go further. I can only talk for my region of English, but I'm sure that saying expresso is much more common than saying espresso.

    We're all language lovers and take interest in the etymology of words and their associations - that's why we're on this site. The vast majority of people don't, and say what they hear around them. Even then, I think that lots of educated people where I live would go into a coffee shop and ask for an expresso - and unless they are interested in the history of language probably not think there is a thing wrong with it. It's a normal usage as far as I'm concerned.

    I'd still be wary of considering it a mistake, as well. This presumes that people are trying to say "espresso" and failing. I think that many people mean to say "expresso" and succeed in doing so.
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    I'd still be wary of considering it a mistake, as well. This presumes that people are trying to say "espresso" and failing. I think that many people mean to say "expresso" and succeed in doing so.

    That's really interesting. And not to stalk you, but where do you live?? And what interests me more is do your coffee houses spell it as expresso too?

    It's one thing for a region to end up using an unconventional word, but it would be something else if they are writing espresso and pronouncing it expresso. Bizarre really.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    That's really interesting. And not to stalk you, but where do you live?? And what interests me more is do your coffee houses spell it as expresso too?

    It's one thing for a region to end up using an unconventional word, but it would be something else if they are writing espresso and pronouncing it expresso. Bizarre really.
    Southern England. I'll make a concerted effort over the next few days to see what's written on boards, and also try to surreptitiously get people to say the word and see how they actually say it and report back.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    It's one thing for a region to end up using an unconventional word, but it would be something else if they are writing X and pronouncing it Y. Bizarre really.
    The unfamiliar usually sounds bizarre - or looks bizarre when seen written. But then this is English and our fellow forum member ghotioutofh20 attests to how bizarre things can get :D

    To purloin a worn out cliche (is that an unnecessary redundancy:eek:) "Any sufficiently advanced technology unfamiliar English irregularity is indistinguishable from magic incorrectness."
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    That would only define which of the two variants is more common, not (whether there will be any consensus on) whether it is "correct" or not.

    That's one way of putting it. But it doesn't just define which one is more common, everyone already knows that. What it would define is whether there is a consensus in the industry. And of the options at our disposal, I'd say that's a good indicator of correctness. Let's not delude ourselves that these things are ever resolved by global consensus anyway.

    Since you brought it up, I'd say it's pretty different to "spelt", or any other spelling variation I can think of. Because "industry experts" if you can call teachers and such that, actually use the term.

    Now if there really is a number of people in the espresso industry who call it expresso, I'm happy to let that be that. It's just that I would be very surprised. But hey, we learn new things everyday.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    If you were to use the word spelt in the US, you would indeed be regarded as bizarre - or be considered knowledgeable about ancient wheat hybrids!

    There are enough instances of the word expresso (spoken or written) in the present or recent past, and in dictionaries of repute, that there is no way I will accept anyone saying it is incorrect. One is simply more common than the other. Period. Full stop. Dot. I have no problem at all with people saying the s version is preferred - as you and possibly "industry" folks might.

    And why would the coffee industry be one we might look to for being an authority on spelling "correctness"? :eek:
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    And why would the coffee industry be one we might look to for being an authority on spelling "correctness"? :eek:

    It makes sense when you think about it in this instance. If it really were a valid option, wouldn't some people who are the authority on ESPRESSO use it? I can't think of any accepted spelling variation where those most involved or knowledgeable in the area all shun one.

    And I can't think of any acceptable spelling variation where those who use one are so utterly hard to locate.

    I did do a little google and I could find nothing but spelling redirections, let alone somewhere that actually sells "expresso".
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Well, the customers probably outnumber those "in the industry" and they probably have something to say on it - oh, wait, several folks have said they hear (and even say themselves) the word expresso even though they may see it written as espresso. The Chair-human of the Global* Espresso Manufacturers' Association might tomorrow declare "expresso" to be wrong. Wouldn't change my views :D

    *Well that would not include a variety of countries where they use expresso, so make that partly Global association :D
     
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    Montesacro

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    Espresso means 'Pressed out' in italian. There is nothing express about it... You have to grind beans and put them through a machine that puts serious pressure to boiling water that comes through the beans.

    In Italian espresso is the past participle of esprimere, that means "to express". Esprimere is very rarely used to mean "press out/squeeze out": it is much more common to use the verb spremere (past participle spremuto). The two verbs, by the way, share the same etymology (from Latin exprimere).

    Espresso can also be used as a noun (or adjective), whose meaning is "fast", "rapid". This usage comes from French and was originally applied exclusively to trains:
    un treno espresso, l'espresso, from French "train express".

    Later the noun/adjective espresso began to be used widely in different contexts:
    un piatto espresso: a dish prepared instantly, eaten in a "trattoria"
    un caffè espresso (or, simply, un espresso) : coffee served in a bar, made right after the customer asks for it.
    Such usage most probably comes from the English adjective "express" (operating at high speed), which in turn comes from French "exprès".

    So, to summarise:
    - a caffè is called "espresso" because it is prepared quickly, right after a customer's order; the water being pressed out through the ground beans has got nothing to do with it.

    - espresso (in this sense) is a calque from an English word.
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    So according to your logic, do you also think "aks" or "axe" should be correct english? Since etymologically, it's been used in writing and pronounciation in the past, and still is today, in many demographics. The number of people who use "aks" certainly far outweigh some tiny minority who use expresso.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    So, to summarise:
    - a caffè is called "espresso" because it is prepared quickly, right after a customer's order; the water being pressed out through the ground beans has got nothing to do with it.
    .

    So, if this is indeed true and we have express trains in the English speaking world, then we should have expresso drinks?
     

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    - a caffè is called "espresso" because it is prepared quickly, right after a customer's order; the water being pressed out through the ground beans has got nothing to do with it.
    Words do not always have one, single origin. People could very well have started using espresso for coffee because both meanings were appropriate, and it is very difficult to prove that one of them "has got nothing to do with it" (and irresponsible to simply declare this without offering any sources).

    For example, this French dictionary mentions both possibilities (my translation and emphasis):
    Borrowed from It. espresso (same meaning, 20th cent. according to the DEI), of uncertain origin, either by nominalization of the participle of esprimere "to extract by pressing", or — less likely — by adoption of the word espresso "express train".

    So, if this is indeed true and we have express trains in the English speaking world, then we should have expresso drinks?
    Well, no, we should have "express coffee drinks".
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    So according to your logic, do you also think "aks" or "axe" should be correct english? Since etymologically, it's been used in writing and pronounciation in the past, and still is today, in many demographics. The number of people who use "aks" certainly far outweigh some tiny minority who use expresso.

    It's not etymology that makes a usage standard, but whether it is used by educated speakers. Once a usage is standard, however, it tends to stay standard, and this is true even when it reaches the point where it is used by only a tiny minority of educated speakers. It may well be that only a tiny minority use expresso, but there has not yet been sufficient change for most dictionaries to consider reclassifying it.

    In fact, dictionaries aid in keeping standard but minority usages standard. If a person is challenged about a particular usage, and that usage is recognized by dictionaries as standard, he can always point to those dictionaries as evidence that his usage is a correct one. I'm sure this sort of thing occurred during the transition from the standard spelling to-day to the standard spelling today, to give just one example.

    My own take on expresso does not involve the etymology. Once a word enters our language, it's our word, and we have every right to change it however we wish.
     

    xjm

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    To purloin a worn out cliche (is that an unnecessary redundancy:eek:) "Any sufficiently advanced technology unfamiliar English irregularity is indistinguishable from magic incorrectness."

    :D

    So according to your logic, do you also think "aks" or "axe" should be correct english? Since etymologically, it's been used in writing and pronounciation in the past, and still is today, in many demographics. The number of people who use "aks" certainly far outweigh some tiny minority who use expresso.

    There's a key difference here: No one thinks the word ask is spelled aks. Pronouncing ask as "aks" is a potayto/potahto thing; just a matter of dialect.

    However, there are plenty of people who actually think the word for this most wonderful preparation of coffee is expresso, and there are other people who distinguish the two and/or use expresso as a pun on espresso.
     
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    Montesacro

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    - a caffè is called "espresso" because it is prepared quickly, right after a customer's order; the water being pressed out through the ground beans has got nothing to do with it.
    Words do not always have one, single origin. People could very well have started using espresso for coffee because both meanings were appropriate, and it is very difficult to prove that one of them "has got nothing to do with it" (and irresponsible to simply declare this without offering any sources).

    Irresponsible? Calm down, my friend, there's no need to use such words.
    As I've already written in my previous post, the verb esprimere (whose past participle is espresso) very rarely means "to press out".
    It is indeed a meaning which is labelled as "antico" (archaic) in the Treccani dictionary.
    Nowadays everybody would use the past participle "spremuto" (from spremere), and I'm sure the same was true in the nineteenth century (and even earlier).
    But to my knowledge there's no such thing as a "caffè spremuto"...

    By the way it seems that the first espresso machine was shown during the 1855 Universal Exhibition in Paris.

    For example, this French dictionary mentions both possibilities (my translation and emphasis):

    Borrowed from It. espresso (same meaning, 20th cent. according to the DEI), of uncertain origin, either by nominalization of the participle of esprimere "to extract by pressing", or — less likely — by adoption of the word espresso "express train".

    Allow me to quote an Italian dictionary, whose reliability about the etymology of Italian words is arguably far greater than that of a French dictionary:

    esprèsso adjective and noun [past participle of esprimere; meaning 4 from French (train) express, English express; meaning 5 from English express, which in turn comes from French exprès].
    (...)
    5. Caffè espresso, coffee "ristretto" prepared on purpose for the customer who ordered it, with special machines.. ;
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    It's not etymology that makes a usage standard, but whether it is used by educated speakers. Once a usage is standard, however, it tends to stay standard, and this is true even when it reaches the point where it is used by only a tiny minority of educated speakers. It may well be that only a tiny minority use expresso, but there has not yet been sufficient change for most dictionaries to consider reclassifying it.

    In fact, dictionaries aid in keeping standard but minority usages standard. If a person is challenged about a particular usage, and that usage is recognized by dictionaries as standard, he can always point to those dictionaries as evidence that his usage is a correct one. I'm sure this sort of thing occurred during the transition from the standard spelling to-day to the standard spelling today, to give just one example.
    Thank you Ray
    So we are back to dictionaries being the custodians of usage information and "standardness" and not industry groups? Sanity returns :D
    I am now calm. Expresso is not incorrect (yet!)
    My own take on expresso does not involve the etymology. Once a word enters our language, it's our word, and we have every right to change it however we wish.
    My take is that it originally came into English as expresso, for whatever reason, in the 50s and 60s but it was but a passing fad. Then came the growth of the low-fat half soy grande latte (or whatever the variants are) and coffee was cool again and saying/spelling espresso was in and cool. So yes, we seem to have been messing with it, at our collective whim :D
     

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    By the way it seems that the first espresso machine was shown during the 1855 Universal Exhibition in Paris.
    But it wasn't called an "espresso machine", and the coffee was not called "espresso/express/expresso". The dictionaries say that this term was not introduced until the 20th century, but it must have been at the very beginning of the century, because in this photo from 1906 we can see the words "caffè espresso" and the first machine (Bezzera's Tipo Gigante) for making individual cups of coffee to order.

    I would agree that in this context, the "express" speed of the preparation was the big selling point.
     

    JuicyJew

    Senior Member
    English
    I actually think "espresso" refers more to it being "expressly" made - specially and carefully for an individual. It may be "pressed out" from the machine, but it's hardly a speedy process.

    Also after all this talk, I decided to actually look in the dictionary, and what do you know, Oxford redirects "expresso" and says it is "strictly incorrect".
     
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