My (Open) Letter to NBC; RE: Hannibals’ Ceuf/Œuf

By now, you should know that we love Hannibal here at Nerdophiles. Although Sam keeps up with the recaps, both Jane and I are avid watchers of the show. Now some of you may not know this, but I am actually a huge francophile. I am working at a French minor and I was totally excited to see French incorporated into Hannibal’s episode titles. But as many people know, the title of the unaired fourth episode has been under some confusion. Is it Ceuf or Œuf? I feel like it has to be œuf, but I could be wrong. My solution? Write a letter to NBC. 

The most likely scenario will be that no one will answer and I will be living in question for the rest of my life, but here’s to hoping they do answer. Anyways, as proof, and for your enjoyment, here is my letter.

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Dear NBC/Bryan Fuller/Creators of Hannibal,

I really enjoy Hannibal. Like, I really enjoy it. So first of all, thanks for deciding to make this show, I grew up watching Silence of the Lamb with my cousin and she has been a long time fan of the Hannibal series. So far, I love the show, so renew the season already! I was disappointed when episode four was cut from the lineup in America, since I felt that it was one of the best, if not the best, episode of the season so far.

However, I have some questions about the naming of the episode. I see that you’ve come out saying that the episode is in fact named Ceuf and not Œuf, like I originally suspected, and while I accept that, I am confused. The rest of the episode titles are named after things in French cuisine, and as a French student at Arizona State University, I really appreciated the homage to the French that way. In fact, had you been around during my food section in French 102, I probably would have done better on that test than I did before.

Anyways, seeing as the egg featured quite prominently in the episode, like Hannibal making breakfast for Abigail, it made sense to me that œuf would be the title of the episode, as it means egg in French. But after watching the webisodes, I noticed that Bryan Fuller did call the episode ceuf as well, and it was not just a clerical error. I hate to be that student in class nitpicking at little details, but it’s been killing me since the episode came out on iTunes. If the episode is in fact named ceuf, what does it mean? Am I just not a seasoned enough French student to understand a regional definition of the word, or is it something else?

Either way, I am a huge fan, and I can’t wait for more episodes as well as a season two; I love Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy’s chemistry together! We’ll be covering all our feelings on my blog (http://nerdophiles.com), so keep up the good work!

Sincerely,

Therese

P.S. Whoever is working on the official Hannibal tumblr does great things with the tags. Hold onto them as an employee!

 

And here is a lovely screen cap of my handy work! Yay!Screen shot 2013-05-14 at 8.38.48 PM

9 responses to “My (Open) Letter to NBC; RE: Hannibals’ Ceuf/Œuf

  1. your letter is right

    It’s œuf (pronounced ‘oef’): the first lettre is actually a ligature of o and e (œ). Thus, with capital lettres, Œuf can be mistaken with CEuf. The old french variants are ove and ueve, directly derived from the latin ovum.
    NB: in french, œ is not the same as o+e, they represent different sounds: œ is used for one sound (e.g. in cœur (heart) or sœur (sister)), and o+e for two sounds (e.g. coexistence or coefficient)

    • Yeah, but as Damian mentions above, apparently “ceuf” is an old French variant of “œuf”? I also thought that they had possible mistaken the œ for ce. Also, yes, I am aware that oe and œ are not the same things.

      • I’m a french native and iv’e never heard or read “ceuf”. As far as i know, “oeuf” has been used since the 14th century and before that it was: “uef” (plural “ueve”) from the latin ovum and then “of” or “oef” (=~ 12th century) which are different ways to spell the same sound.

        Another variant “ove” is still used in architecture and goldsmith’s trade to define egg shaped ornaments.

  2. Maybe it’s a wordplay, like “ceuf” is a broken egg, or something? Is it more clever to have that be the actual explanation or to convince people that the obvious error you made was, in fact, intentional?

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