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EN: the share assigned government

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by moramarth, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. moramarth New Member

    Français - France
    Bonjour à tous,

    J'essaie de traduire un article de Milton Friedman (je ne suis pas monétariste) et il utilise en 1948 cette étrange expression : « share assigned governement » de manière fréquente. Je vais d'abord mettre le contexte d'apparition du schmilblick :

    First, there is and can be no simple, reasonably objective, rule to determine the optimum share of activity that should be assigned to government—short of complete socialization—even if stability were the only objective. Changes in circumstances are likely to produce rapid and erratic variations in the share that seems desirable. But changes in the share assigned government are themselves likely to be destabilizing, both directly and through their adverse effects on anticipations.​

    Je traduirais volontiers share assigned governments par « part assignée au gouvernement », mais la bonne grammaire anglaise voudrait que Friedman écrive share assigned to government ou encore government assigned share, non ? J'ai l'impression que Friedman a répété une erreur de grammaire, énorme, une douzaine de fois dans l'article. Quelque chose m'échapperait-elle ?

    Merci à tous.
  2. beardfisher Junior Member

    Marseille, France
    French - France
    Mon avis est que Friedman parle ici d'un "gouvernement auquel une part de l'activité est assignée" si je me réfère au début de votre citation "...optimum share of activity that should be assigned to government". Cela dit, je ne suis pas sûr de tout comprendre, ayant pourtant étudié l'économie dans ma jeunesse (shame on me!)
  3. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    I think you're translating this correctly; the "share assigned government" must be "the share assigned to government," which even shows up in the first sentence you sight.

    That being said, I don't think this is an error. We can say "the role assigned her" and "the role assigned to her" both to mean "le rôle assigné à elle." The "to" is not obligatory, although it is clearer and more stylish, in my opinion. Although I would prefer "assigned to" here, I don't see anything grammatically wrong with dropping the "to."
  4. moramarth New Member

    Français - France
    Thanks Lucas-sp. That's all I needed. Have a nice day.
  5. radagasty Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    Australia, Cantonese
    I'm not sure I am altogether convinced by this argument, which is to say, I do not accept the conclusion that 'the rôle assigned government' is good and correct English, even though the premises seem reasonable to me. At any rate, it ought to be pointed out that government without the definite article can only refer to the activity of governing, and not the institution that governs. Translating it as part assignée au gouvernement would therefore be problematic, since the reader would quite naturally assume that the institution was meant.
  6. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    You're overthinking it. I'm sure if Friedman had meant to emphasize the activity of government, he would have said "the share assigned to governance." In AE, at least, "government" can refer both to a particular government and the idea of governing as a practice, with or without the definite article. (Think about The Government of the Self and Others, for instance: there "the government" means "the activity of governing.")
  7. moramarth New Member

    Français - France
    From the same Friedman's article : "Throughout, it pertains entirely to the federal government and all references to “government” should be so interpreted."
  8. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    Go with that.

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