"Jeux de pos": Belgian ballsport, rhetorical device, francosimilitudinous* babble?
Having left the young scholars' essays to ferment for a week in the corner of my office, I took to them last weekend with pitchfork and trowel. Then I decided to use my HB pencil, which had the pleasant consequence of enabling me to procrastinate long and often in the sharpening of my HB pencil, the disposal of my HB pencil-shavings, a trip to the newsagent to replenish my HB pencil store when the original HB pencil was bewhittled down to its stumpy ankles, &c.
I generally learn things while marking the young scholars' essays. They are no fools, the young scholars, though some of them haven't been sufficiently exposed to the righteous wrath of an apostrophe pedant. With my last dose of marking I learnt the phrase "jeux de pos". I learnt it, insofar as I became aware that such a permutation of letters is possible; I did not, however, learn what it means.
I've never been afraid to season my sentences with Frenchismes. Indeed Frenchismes I have scattered with such a liberal hand I am as though a garçon in a restaurant wielding a giant pepper shaker and the Frenchismes are the pepper and the sentences are the vegetables délicieux and I want to impress the eaters of the sentences with my incredible (incredeebleugh) skills in the shaking of pepper. This, despite the fact that I do not actually speak French. Français, je ne parle pas. Nor do I read French. Français, je ne read pas. As this is not an inadequacy to which I generally choose to confess in my annotations upon a young scholar's essay, confronted with the phrase "jeux de pos", I of course scurry to mine internet and google furiously.
So I scurry to my French-English-English-French dictionary, the title page of which is reproduced below in recumbent form, and again, the cigars are scarce. "Jeux" means "games", and "de", as I awready knew, means "of", but "pos" my wee dictionary is either too wee to define, or le mot "pos" n'est pas existe.
And so I remain unlearned in the ways of "jeux de pos". Anyone so placed as to offer enlightenment, please do. Please do before Tuesday when I return the essays, with annotations, one of which, in the event of your not enlightening me, will be: "I do not know what this means. What does this mean? Why don't you write in my native language? I know I usually do."
You'll be pleased to read that from this altogether terrible situation, your correspondent, assaulted by the slings and arrows of her own outrageous incomprehension, has salvaged some good: viz., she has discovered the excellent compendium of "Useful Phrases for Travellers" lodged in the appendix to her French-English-English-French Dictionary. These are phrases that no Australian in Paris can do without, like "Waiter, bring me some cold fowl" (Garçon, apportez-moi de la volaille froide), "I do not like a feather-bed, I prefer a horse-hair mattress" (Je n'aime pas les lits de plume, je préfère un matelas de crin), and "Trim my beard too; I like it pointed" (Taillez-moi la barbe aussi; je la préfère en pointe). Indeed, why wait for Paris? The Paris End of Thornbury'll do me.
* I made this word up. I will not be using it again in the near future.