An air de cour is a type of Baroque song. If I’m talking about several of these, would I say “we played some airs de cour”?

Frankly, and especially since this is a foreign phrase (French), the thing that seems most natural to me in speaking it aloud is actually to say “air de cours”.

I realize this is not correct in French speech, but in English, it wouldn’t sound right at all to say “airs de cour”, particularly since the “de cour” means nothing to most saxophones.

Of course, I would never say “I bought some jar of chocolates”, but that’s because the “of chocolates” means something in English, so it would sound wrong and be wrong.

It seems to me that in pluralizing a foreign noun phrase, it may as well be treated as a single word when spoken aloud, with the s added at the end.

Is there a rule on this?

  • Have a look at this question about words that are pluralized in the middle. – RegDwigнt Aug 1 '12 at 23:11
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    Don’t use a foreign phrase if you don’t want to give it the aides-de-campy treatment. – tchrist Aug 1 '12 at 23:13
  • Since air is a perfectly good English noun that in this phrase means the same in English and in French, I think airs de cour is the right plural. – Peter Shor Aug 1 '12 at 23:24
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    I’m guessing that any wording you choose is going to mean nothing to most saxophones. – MetaEd Aug 1 '12 at 23:25
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    I think it's General Reference. Wikipedia's article on this (admittedly obscure) term says The first use of the term 'air de cour' was in Adrian Le Roy's 'Airs de cour miz sur le luth'. – FumbleFingers Aug 1 '12 at 23:29