02 April 2018

Exchange with FT regarding the word 'minaret'

After reading Château de Chambord: overnighting at the Loire’s grandest folly, I submitted a comment saying something along the lines (when I tried to recover my original comment it was no longer accessible):
Nice article. In my opinion, however, one term stood out like a saw thumb. I refer to your use of 'minaret'.
In the version currently online, we find:
I sit at the window of my room in the Relais de Chambord, a new hotel beside the castle, watching the last of the sun reflect off its pale sandstone, its turrets and domes, towering walls and endless windows.
and the caption:
The castle’s turrets and domes seen from the hotel garden
 These previously read:
I sit at the window of my room in the Relais de Chambord, a new hotel beside the castle, watching the last of the sun reflect off its pale sandstone, its minarets and domes, towering walls and endless windows.
and the caption:
The castle’s minarets and domes seen from the hotel garden
I promptly received the following reply
Tom Robbins, FT Travel Editor said:
Thanks SteveDy. I think it's technically defensible since, according to the Oxford Dictionary, it means "a slender tower". But of course minaret usually relates to mosques, so yes "turret" would be better. I've now updated this piece to that effect. Thanks again

followed a couple of days later by
RuaridhNicoll said:
I defer to my esteemed editor here Steve, but just to explain my thinking, I wrote minaret intentionally because the roofscape was designed to resemble Constantinople. I should have probably said that though! best Ruaridh

Comments:

  1. I find the Oxford Dictionary's definition of 'minaret' rather inadequate.
  2. I like Ruaridh's use of 'roofscape'.
  3. I was fascinated to discover that Ruaridh is a  Scottish name that means 'red king'.
  4. I was even more fascinated to discover that the roofscape was designed to resemble Constantinople. What a wonderful titbit of trivia for a dinner party discussion on touring France.
  5. Further proof that a terminologist's curiosity often leads to interesting exchanges.

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