Letter: They say 'souper' and we say supper

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The Independent Online
Sir: The confusion in the terms used for the two main meals of the day is not confined to the English language (Letters, 14, 19 and 22 October).

Until not so long ago, the midday and evening table d'hote menus in the station buffets in Lausanne - both recommended, incidentally - were respectively, named 'dejeuner' and 'diner' in the case of the first-class buffet, and 'diner' and 'souper' in second class.

There was no snobbery, as distinct from genuine class distinction, attached to the difference. It reflected more the position of the main meal of the day. I well remember my elder daughter, when she was small, saying to a playmate, 'Je vais souper a present', to which the other replied: 'Mais non, chez toi, tu soupes pas, tu dines.' This implied it was likely to take a long time.

Yours faithfully,

KEITH EDGERLEY

Coppet

Switzerland

22 October

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