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EN: the heavy shakos of the guards, Hanoverian light horse

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by hagop, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. hagop Junior Member

    francais - france
    Bonjour,

    J'aurai une question sur la fonction d'un groupe de mot dans la phrase suivante :

    "The dolmans of the hussars, the heavy shakos of the guards, Hanoverian light horse, with their flat leather caps and flowing red plumes, were all jumbled in bobbing disorder."

    Dans cette phrase, "Hanoverian light horse" est-il une précision sur l'unité militaire à laquelle appartiennent les "hussars" et les "guards" ('les dolmans des hussards, les pesants shakos des guardes, qui appartenaient à la cavalerie légère hanovrienne'), seulement pour les guards immédiatement précédents ( 'les pesants shakos des guardes de la cavalerie légère hanovrienne, etc') ou alors est-il un membre à part de l'énumération : 'les dolmans des hussards, les lours shakos des guards, la cavalerie légère hanovrienne, avec ses calots plats de cuir (...) étaient tous melés, etc.'

    J'ai peur que la question paraisse idiote car la phrase n'a pas l'air d'être un piège, pourtant je n'arrive pas à me décider sur la manière de l'interpréter.

    Merci d'avance.
     
  2. moustic Senior Member

    near Limoges
    British English
    I read it like this:
    [The dolmans of the hussars], [the heavy shakos of the guards] , [Hanoverian light horse, with their flat leather caps and flowing red plumes]
     
  3. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    The definite article is however used for the first two items only and not for Hanoverian light horse. Wouldn't your interpretation lead to a stylistic inconsistency? In that case wouldn't either of the following be more appropriate?

    The dolmans of the hussars, the heavy shakos of the guards, the Hanoverian light horse, with their flat leather caps and flowing red plumes, were all jumbled in bobbing disorder.
    Dolmans of the hussars, heavy shakos of the guards, Hanoverian light horse, with their flat leather caps and flowing red plumes, were all jumbled in bobbing disorder.
     
  4. moustic Senior Member

    near Limoges
    British English
    I think this may indeed be a stylistic inconsistency or simply a reversal of the word order to place the longer segment at the end.
    If I'm not mistaken, the author evokes the "bobbing disorder" of the headgear worn by the different regiments: dolmans, shakos and flat leather caps.
    For the first two, he chooses to mention the hat and then the military group and for the third he reverses the order, maybe for the reason I've already mentioned.
    He could have said "the flat leather caps and flowing red plumes of the Hanoverian light horse".

    On second thoughts, the fact that there is no definite article for this third element doesn't bother me too much.
    I can imagine another possible example which wouldn't require a definite article: "French infantry, with ..."

    PS. Sorry, I've just checked. A dolman is apparently a robe and not some kind of hat ... but the shako and flat leather cap are definitely two types of headgear.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  5. hagop Junior Member

    francais - france
    Thank you very much for your answers, but I have a last question :

    In your interpretation, what are the elements that are "jumbled together in a bobbing disorder" ?
    The light horse with the dolmans and the shakos or the leather caps with the dolmans and shakos ?

    (It is not very important for the translation, but I ask it so as to understand how the syntax works.)
     

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