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Ask MPR Mailbag

September 20, 2006

Where can I watch "The French Connection" car chase scene on

How do I find the car chase scene from "The French Connection" they talked about on All Things Considered? The host stated that we could watch it at

Paynesville, MN

Dear Tom, you weren't able to find the "French Connection" clip because of an accident of phonetics: the human ear has difficulty distinguishing a bilabial nasal from an alveolar nasal.

To put it another way, the announcer was saying "", but it sounded like "" to your ears. It happens all the time. The similarity between the two sounds has caused this sort of confusion for decades.

We quietly hoped that NPR would change its name or perhaps disappear entirely, but it hasn't happened yet. So to minimize the confusion, we rarely refer to our own web site as "" on the air -- you will usually hear us say "Minnesota Public".

At any rate, that interview with William Friedkin -- director of "The French Connection" -- can be found in the NPR feature From 'Popeye' Doyle to Puccini: William Friedkin.

Michael Popham
Minnesota Public Radio Member Listener Services