I am in love with the recorded voice of France Télécom.
That sounds odd, even to me, and I know exactly what it was supposed to mean. Allow me to clarify:
I love the way the automated female voice of France Télécom pronounces certain words. During my initial days in France, I made many bad phone calls before finally mastering the art of the cabine téléphonique and the mobicarte, so I had many one-sided conversations with said voice. Mme. Télécom is unusually expressive and cheerful when compared to the average Frenchwoman. A normal Frenchwoman would never be that gregarious with someone she had never met, let alone never seen. I guess I found the voice comforting when faced with the jarring experience of French public behavior. (That will be a topic for a future post.)
By far, my favorite word is "cinq". There's such a satisfying, deep resonance to it; I catch myself trying to replicate its delicious, full-bodied tone when I'm alone in the bathroom or in my office at work. Even better than cinq is cinquante-cinq, for obvious reasons.
I also love the voice of the little French boy who dubs Roo's voice (in French, he's Petit Gourou) in the Winnie the Pooh (Winnie l'Ourson) series. I was watching an episode on DVD several months ago with one of my little students, and I became very attached to the way Petit Gourou said "quatre". What made it even better was that it happened to be an episode about counting, so I got to hear it over and over again. And, just as before with Mme. Télécom, there was a quality to the pronunciation that I just found irresistible. I tried to imitate it to no avail.
The way these actors pronounce their numbers fascinates me; they just have such a satisfying pronunciation that it makes me feel as if I've personally been pronouncing everything totally wrong for the last 10 years. Does that make me a masochist for listening to these voices over and over, knowing full well that I will only torture myself trying to imitate them later?
Well, there you have it: the guilty pleasures of a disgruntled francophile. I can only dream of someday becoming as great at counting in French as Mme. Télécom and Petit Gourou. Yes, I realize I'm pathetic; no need to remind me.