Abandoned Ship – highfire (Eoin Colfer) – the book sucked but I learned cool things!

Ahoy there me mateys!  This book was so not for me.  The humor was juvenile and too filled with poop, vomit, and stupid.  The characters felt like caricatures of Bayou life and none of them were redeemable.  The plot was dumb and uninteresting but I kept reading because I wanted the dragon to be cool.  Sadly, at 46% the dragon pissed on the arm of the main character and that was enough.

HOWEVER, the book included a bizarre spelling of the French word for mosquito which led me down an awesome rabbit hole about language.  I have a love of words and much like the foray into mispronounced words I recently took, this journey involved hours of reading about etymology of the French language.  Turns out the spelling of mosquito in the book came from Missouri French also known as Paw Paw French.  This language is not to be confused with Louisiana French, Canadian French, or Traditional French.  It is also NOT French Creole.  I didn’t even know that Missouri or Louisiana French was an  official thing.

Now my French language usage has declined a ton since me schooling days.  Today I can order food and ask directions.  But I still have enough basics to love the differences between French variants.  These are me favourites.

English Standard French Canadian French Louisiana French Missouri French
mosquito moustique (m.) maringouin (m.) moustique (m.) maringouin (m.)
picaouin (m.) maringouin (m.) moustique (m.)
moustique (m.) cousin (m.)  
hello, hi, good morning bonjour bonjour bonjour beaujour
voiture (f.) auto (f.) char (m.) char (m.)
voiture (f.)
char (m.)
raccoon raton laveur (m.) raton laveur (m.) chaoui /
chat-oui (m.)
chat-chouage (m.)
bean haricot (m.) bine (m.) bine (m.) fève (f.)
fève (f.)
hummingbird colibri (m.) colibri (m.) suce-fleur (m.) zouéseau à mouches (m.)
oiseau-mouche (m.) colibri (m.)
  oiseau-mouche (m.)

After reading about the loveliness that is Paw Paw French, the First Mate and I looked into the Oïl languages of which one is Walloon.  Walloon is spoken in Wallonia in Belgium and its formation began in 980.  It is not quite a dead language yet but is cool.  Example:  French – Salut! = Walloon – A.  Then there was an adventure into the differences between creole and pidgin.  But I will stop here.  Though dorks like me can click all the links above to fall down that same rabbit hole if it suits ye.

So while I am trying to get the actual book out of me noggin, I am grateful to it just the same.  Arrr!

Side note:  If ye really want to be a dork with me then get me started on the OED.

Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:

To visit the author’s website go to:

Eoin Colfer – Author

To buy the book go to:

highfire – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

10 thoughts on “Abandoned Ship – highfire (Eoin Colfer) – the book sucked but I learned cool things!


    Also, this review is perfect. one paragraph about the book and 4 paragraphs about the rabbit hole of language you went down. What was the Paw Paw French spelling of mosquito? And why do you think the author decided to use that?

    I’ve never read Colfer’s books, and I probably never will. I don’t do “boy humor”. Particularly juvenile boy humor. Hard pass.

    Now. Tell me what the Oxford English Dictionary means to you…


  2. I’ve heard from others this book is pretty ‘meh’. That’s too bad because it did sound interesting at first. Glad you were able to at least take something away from it though! 🙂


  3. Dang, I didn’t even learn that much. Though I also only made it to 14% before abandoning 😂

    I think a pidgin is a limited vocab formed between two very different languages, while a creole is like an advanced, or “languagized” pidgin. That anywhere close?


  4. The language stuff was fun! Bummer that the book wasn’t … I was excited about this one when it first came out. I guess we’ll see if I do end up picking it up!


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