On Rue Staint-Paul in Vieux Montréal there’s a statue of three women having a gossip. It’s known as ‘Les chuchoteuses‘ or ‘The whisperers’. It’s also known as the “fat ladies talking statue”. It’s by Rose-Aimée Bélanger, a sculptor from Ontario, and was installed as part of a 2006 initiative to highlight some of Old Montreal’s forgotten spaces.
The word chuchoteuses [ʃyʃɔtø:z] comes from chuchoter [ʃy.ʃɔ.te] (to whisper; to rustle), which is of imitative origin. Related words include chuchoterie (whispering), chuchotis (faint whispering), chuchotement (a whisper / murmur, rustling).
I like the sound of this word, and of the words for whisper in other languages:
– Italian / Portuguese / Spanish: sussurro, from Latin susurrus (a humming, whispering)
– German: Flüstern
– Dutch: fluistering
– Welsh: sibrwd
What about in other languages?
The photo is one I took while exploring Montréal with Linsday Dow of Linsday Does Languages, who features in it.