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Thread: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

  1. #161
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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    When a French person says "Il parle américain" while he says "Il parle anglais" for all other English speakers it is about language. Why is this one basic point so difficult to agree on? That is the most curious thing about this discussion to me. He certainly isn't saying "He speaks (the American culture)".

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
    When a French person says "Il parle américain" while he says "Il parle anglais" for all other English speakers it is about language. Why is this one basic point so difficult to agree on? That is the most curious thing about this discussion to me. He certainly isn't saying "He speaks (the American culture)".
    Exactly. And equally the words "traduit de..." surely need to be followed by the name of a language, not a culture.

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Well, I'm trying not to get into that. One step at a time. I'd just like to see us agree that we have a situation where "Il parle" is followed by "anglais" for all countries but the U.S. If we could even agree on that one point I'd feel like we were making progress in the discussion.

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
    When a French person says "Il parle américain" while he says "Il parle anglais" for all other English speakers it is about language. Why is this one basic point so difficult to agree on? That is the most curious thing about this discussion to me. He certainly isn't saying "He speaks (the American culture)".
    Fortunately it is possible to say "il parle anglais" even when referring to an American In my opinion "Américain" has not triumphed yet in general speech by normal people. But maybe word has got around not to use that term with me or else... If someone were to say "il parle américain" he is making a statement mostly about himself, drawing attention to the fact he considers for whatever reason the supposed difference important enough to mention. Why he would do that you have to figure it out, but as an American you'll soon find out. It's about his ideas, his attitudes, his humor, his received ideas of correctness, his experiences, his background, his way of being, his opinions or his jargon... It's not a neutral thing to say. Mind you he could have said quite simply "il parle anglais avec un accent américain." "il parle anglais. il est américain, du Mississippi..." whatever.
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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Thanks, merquiades. That's useful information. I wonder if the others who live in France have the same opinion about the phrase "Il parle américain".

    I spoke with a friend at work today who lived in France for many years. I brought up this discussion. He said, "Yes, of course, they say 'Il parle américain' because the vocabulary is different, some of the grammar is different, the accent is different..." and I said, "Yes, but the same can be said about Australia or South Africa." He look thoughtful for a moment and said "Yes, I suppose that's true. That's an interesting point." I asked him if his experience was that people said "Il parle américain" and he said, "Absolutely!" So I'm not sure how widespread this use of "américain" is.

    He lived in Paris, if that's any help. (And he is not American, if that has any bearing on the discussion.)

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
    Thanks, merquiades. That's useful information. I wonder if the others who live in France have the same opinion about the phrase "Il parle américain".

    I spoke with a friend at work today who lived in France for many years. I brought up this discussion. He said, "Yes, of course, they say 'Il parle américain' because the vocabulary is different, some of the grammar is different, the accent is different..." and I said, "Yes, but the same can be said about Australia or South Africa." He look thoughtful for a moment and said "Yes, I suppose that's true. That's an interesting point." I asked him if his experience was that people said "Il parle américain" and he said, "Absolutely!" So I'm not sure how widespread this use of "américain" is.

    He lived in Paris, if that's any help. (And he is not American, if that has any bearing on the discussion.)
    It's not frequently used in my experience, in fact the only times I have heard it have been in jest.
    It's like here when people say they are English, or French. They don't literally mean they're from England or France, they (especially if spoken in a strong québécois accent) mean that is the basis of their ethnic or linguistic heritage.

    At first, I found this bizarre; now I'm used to it. Words mean different things to different groups.
    You get used to traduit de l'américain too. It's not changing any time soon so it'll just have to be put up with. Point barre.
    Last edited by Pedro y La Torre; 10th December 2011 at 9:04 AM.

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
    Apparently these two things (the exception and the reason for the exception) are too entangled at this point to be able to talk about one without assuming we're talking about the other. It is an exception in the sense that all other speakers of English "parle anglais" but Americans "parle américain". This seems to be a point that cannot be acknowledged. It's a simple observable fact. The reason for it is a separate issue but it is an exception, a break in a pattern.
    Everybody in this thread acknowledges the particular status of américain. If people keep trying to tell you the reasons for the exception, it follows logically that they must agree that there is an exception. For example, when JDS says
    Quote Originally Posted by JeanDeSponde View Post
    as to why "américain" and not e.g. "australien"
    he is acknowledging that French speakers commonly use américain and not e.g. australien. And when he writes
    Quote Originally Posted by JeanDeSponde View Post
    it is not surprising traduit de l'américain has acquired a status of its own
    he is saying precisely and explicitly that traduit de l'américain has acquired a status of its own. What more do you need to see before you stop coming back with
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
    And still no acknowledgement of the linguistic quirk. It's curious.


    If people have seemed reluctant to agree with you explicitly on this point earlier in this thread, it may because they don't wish to validate the language you have used up to now ("anomaly", "oddity", "quirk"), or they disagree with your suggestion that there is some kind of "rule" in French about when the term anglais must be used, and that américain breaks this rule. And if people failed to rally behind you when you wrote
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
    The strangest thing to me about the discussion is the resistance to recognizing the exception of "l'américain" as a language designator, just as "typhoon" is an exception in labeling weather phenomena. There may be nothing behind the exception, but it's still an exception, an oddity. To claim its an example of precision in the face of no similar precision in other areas makes the whole precision argument suspect.
    it's not that they question the exceptional status of américain, it's that they question the false conclusion that you attempt to draw from this "simple observable fact".

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Could we say of somebody : "He speaks texan." ?

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Quote Originally Posted by CapnPrep View Post
    Everybody in this thread acknowledges the particular status of américain. If people keep trying to tell you the reasons for the exception, it follows logically that they must agree that there is an exception.
    Actually, I can find many examples where people do not acknowledge that its an exception, but I think I've reached the point where I don't think this will go anywhere no matter what is said. In the same post you quote, JeanDeSponde says,

    No, I did not say it was an exception to the rule [that is, vs. traduit de l'anglais (Etats-Unis) as with other languages], as we also say traduit du hollandais, du brésilien etc.
    The "special status" referred to the quantity of books with "traduit de l'américain", as I read it, not that it was an exception. Since the conversation isn't progressing, I don't think I'm adding anything by belaboring the point.

    it's not that they question the exceptional status of américain, it's that they question the false conclusion that you attempt to draw from this "simple observable fact".
    I don't think the conclusion is false. I am still convinced that American English is separated out from all other forms of English, both in the French language and the French mind. I think the separation is misleading at best.

    Obviously, you think the question has been more than answered, so perhaps I'm a lost cause.

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
    I don't think the conclusion is false. I am still convinced that American English is separated out from all other forms of English, both in the French language and the French mind. I think the separation is misleading at best.

    Obviously, you think the question has been more than answered, so perhaps I'm a lost cause.
    Well, if this is the case, we English-speakers surely play a role, as we (at least in the UK and Ireland anyway) regularly distinguish between "American", and everything else.

    As I've discovered time and again on this forum, Irish English is probably at least as close to AE as it is to BE, but AE is still "the other". This might be down to American power, American exceptionalism, or just the fact that you guys insist on writing differently. Whatever it is, it's just a fact of life, unjustified perhaps, but there nonetheless. Maybe if America is one day no longer a leading influencer on the world, your privileged traduit de l'américain will reach an end.

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedro y La Torre View Post
    ...or just the fact that you guys insist on writing differently...
    Perhaps it's because English is a complex and subtle language that even today continues to enrich it's vocabulary with words from other cultures. While Americian, on the other hand, has been slower to accept these changes to it's original 17th century (English) wordbase.
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
    And still no acknowledgement of the linguistic quirk. It's curious.
    I'm disappointed that a WR Moderator could lack objectivity. I already gave an example of such an occurence in my post #64. "Il parle irlandais" when they mean to say I speak English. (One and the same for my former work colleagues. So my personal experience contradicts your position on the matter.) Your answer to my post #64 supports my sig, since you read what you wanted to read in that post #64. My subsequent post #67 sought to clarify the point, which I felt you had missed.
    John Henry Newman : "We demand strict proof for opinions we dislike, but are satisfied with mere hints for what we’re inclined to accept."

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Let me state this "exception" issue otherwise: there is no exception to the rule, because it is not an exception, and there is no rule.
    I'm talking only about traduit de l'américain, because this use:
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesM View Post
    When a French person says "Il parle américain" while he says "Il parle anglais" for all other English speakers it is about language. Why is this one basic point so difficult to agree on? That is the most curious thing about this discussion to me. He certainly isn't saying "He speaks (the American culture)".
    is clearly out of context. Editors & professional translators are not monsieur tout-le-monde.
    Yes, some (many?) French could say Il parle américain; maybe you'll see here a proof of quirkiness, ignorance, presumptuousnes or nationalism; but read those two successive posts from another thread (my underline):
    Quote Originally Posted by brian View Post
    [...] I guess it's just not as cool to say "I'm English/British." I guess this is because we both speak (more or less) the same language, we look the same, everyone is familiar with the British accent, etc., so there's less to distinguish that person from others [...]
    Quote Originally Posted by brian View Post
    I'm sorry...by British I did mean English. Most Americans, and unfortunately I make the same mistake, say British to mean English. If an American were speaking about someone from from Scotland or Wales, I highly doubt they would use the term "British," as that would imply, to us ignorant Americans, "English." Instead, they would probably say "Scottish" or "Welsh."
    Brian may humbly say he's ignorant, though I doubt you will agree. If even knowledgeable people stumble about language / country issues, why put a specific blame on us French?...
    ...Ferme ni plus ni moins que l'étoile du nord.

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Quote Originally Posted by Barsac View Post
    Could we say of somebody : "He speaks texan." ?
    I can't imagine a Texan seriously taking offense at that. There is a heptalingual native Texan guide at the state capitol who always teasingly corrects those who assume that his native language is English. "Naw, my first sentence was in Texan," he says.
    I always keep the 3D glasses. Shhh...

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Hi,

    On wikipedia, I read that "The United States editions of the Harry Potter novels have required the adaptation of the texts into American English, as many words and concepts used by the characters in the novels may have not been understood by a young American audience."

    So, if it is possible to translate British English into American English, it is possible to "traduire de l'américain en français" (translate American English into French), possibly through British English...
    TitTornade, aka Lil'Tornado !

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    I think the French do regard British English and American English as different, but I think that's more of a symptom of their own linguistic purism.

    For example, you will find quite a lot of French people don't even considered Quebec French to be true French and regard it as a creole at best.

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Je m'éloigne un peu mais nous persistons et signons dans notre besoin de précision.
    Je viens de regarder en VO sous titrée Sons of Anarchy à la fin de chaque épisode sont donnés les noms des traducteurs.
    En dessous, en assez gros et entre parenthèses : ( French- Parisian)

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Quote Originally Posted by doinel View Post
    ... nous persistons et signons dans notre besoin de précision.
    La grande illusion française!

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Quote Originally Posted by TitTornade View Post
    Hi,

    On wikipedia, I read that "The United States editions of the Harry Potter novels have required the adaptation of the texts into American English, as many words and concepts used by the characters in the novels may have not been understood by a young American audience."

    So, if it is possible to translate British English into American English, it is possible to "traduire de l'américain en français" (translate American English into French), possibly through British English...
    Adaptation is not translation.

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Having read the last posts, this is the question that comes to my mind:

    What are the translations for AE and BE?

    AE would be "anglais américain" and BE "anglais anglais". In which case, I could most naturally translate AE by the one word "américain" and BE by the one word "anglais"!

    Maybe this is the only reason why....

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    Re: 'Traduit de l'anglais' vs 'traduit de l'américain'

    Quote Originally Posted by Hulalessar View Post
    Adaptation is not translation.
    It isn't, however, when Quebec series are subtitled on the likes of TV5Monde, typical Quebecisms such as ''je m'en calisse'', ''dépanneur'', débarbouilette'', etc. are ''adapted/translated'' into Parisian French for audiences. I don't think anyone imagines that Quebec French is not French, any more than one would hold that AE is not English, unless one were very ignorant, and sadly, there will always be a certain number of such people around.

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