Riv-oo-lay or Riv-u-let…That is the Question!

Posted on April 10, 2022

This little walk is just across the road from me. It is called the Bourne Rivulet. I presumed it must be French.  So, I was down by the village cricket ground the other day and I got talking to a local type. I told him I had just been on a lovely walk along the Bourne Reev-oo-lay.

“Where?” He said.

“The Reev-oo-lay”, I replied, already fearing the worst.

“You mean the Riv-u-let…it’s the Bourne Riv-u-let”, he chuckled, gleefully.

“Aha…yes”, I replied, with reev-oo-layss of embarrassed sweat running down my forehead. Like a Panorama investigative journalist, I made my excuses and left.

Well, I can tell you for free that I felt like a right prick.

It’s Riv-u-let

So, when I got home, I looked it up. I couldn’t let this humiliation pass. You can check pronunciation on Google. Fuck…he was right. It is pronounced Riv-u-let. But here’s a thing…it is French. I know the words straw and clutching come to mind here but it originates from the word Riveret (little Stream).  There is also the possibility it comes rivoletto (Italy) or rivolo (small stream). 

Yet there is no doubt that in the UK, it is pronounced Riv-u-let.


Anyway, I checked for some examples of sentences where Rivulet could be used.

For eight months of the year, the Jumna shrinks to the dimensions of a mere rivulet, meandering through a waste of sand’.

To the south the rivulet of the Mance soon forms a formidable obstacle as its bed cuts its way through the sandstone’.

This was my favourite by a country mile.

“Darling…only a thin rivulet of water came from the faucet, making it difficult to wash the dishes.”

Can you imagine ever saying that? Mind you can imagine ever saying riv-oo-lay in your best French accent?

Not now you won’t.

1 Reply to "Riv-oo-lay or Riv-u-let...That is the Question!"

  • Norman House
    April 10, 2022 (10:46 am)

    Great setting and ground, terrible wicket. At least that’s how I remember it. I got lost getting there and arrived 5 mins before the start, a little flustered. Skipper says to me ‘You still Ok to open, we lost the toss?’

    “Yeah, I guess so.”. Bad call!

    First ball – the opening bowler pitched it short of a length/half-tracker, it sat in the pitch and the ball got off the ground by about 3 inches, played way too early – very thin edge to the keeper. The neutral umpire was John Golding, who I know quite well. He said, ‘Sorry Norman, you’ve got to go.’ Even the bowler looked a bit sheepish in claiming the wicket. I think that was only my second golden duck ever. Quack, Quack, oops.

    Not a match I will remember with any great joy. Though at least I had plenty of time to reflect on the scenery!

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