August 19th, 2008 at 11:53am
All of the swimming in Beijing has reminded me of the day that I came to the conclusion that swimming just wasn’t for me.
I was in primary school and was reluctantly taking part in the weekly school swimming trip to the AIS pool in Bruce. For one reason or another I was relegated to the half-length pool and the supervising teacher encouraged me to swim from one end to the other and back again. I’m not entirely sure why, but I decided to try to swim that distance as quickly as possible…perhaps I thought that the quicker I did that, the sooner the torment would be over.
Anyway, swimming as fast as I could, I managed to swim the entire 50 metres in just over five minutes, which means that I had reached the incredible speed of just under 10 metres per minute. It may have only been five and a bit minutes, but it felt like half an hour.
Not surprisingly, the teacher also agreed that swimming wasn’t my forte. I still had to go on the weekly swimming trips, but I didn’t have to enter a pool again.
Incidentally, whilst reading that, did you read “forte” as “for-tay” or “fort”? You may be interested to learn that technically, the correct pronunciation is “fort”. Answers.com explains with help from the American Heritage Dictionary:
USAGE NOTE: The word forte, coming from French fort, should properly be pronounced with one syllable, like the English word fort. Common usage, however, prefers the two-syllable pronunciation, (fôr’tā’), which has been influenced possibly by the music term forte borrowed from Italian. In a recent survey a strong majority of the Usage Panel, 74 percent, preferred the two-syllable pronunciation. The result is a delicate situation; speakers who are aware of the origin of the word may wish to continue to pronounce it as one syllable but at an increasing risk of puzzling their listeners.