FR: des terres brûlées donnant plus de blé

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by ilfautque, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. ilfautque

    ilfautque Junior Member

    États-Unis
    english
    Bonjour, I have a question about the lyric from Ne me quitte pas by Jacques Brel: Il est paraît-il des terres brûlées donnant plus de blé qu'un meilleur avril.

    (For context, the preceding line is: On a vu souvent rejaillir le feu de l'ancien volcan qu'on croyait trop vieux)

    I understand the gist of the lyric in question: it is apparent (that) some burnt earth gives more wheat than the best April.

    I am wondering if a better translation for this line would be: it is apparently some burnt earth giving more wheat than the best of April.

    Bottom line is I am not sure how […] donnant [is] being used within the context. I know that donnant is the present participle. […] My question is why use the present participle donnant. What function does this serve to the speaker/listener, and how would I know to use the present participle rather than present 3rd person donnent.

    If I were the one speaking I would say: Il est paraît-il des terres brulées DONNENT plus de blé qu'un meillleur avril. would I be incorrect? And would the translations different, therefore?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2012
  2. Maître Capello

    Maître Capello Mod et ratures

    Suisse romande
    French – Switzerland
    Est is the main verb, and you can't have a second one in the same clause, so you cannot use donnent. The present participle is indeed more or less equivalent to the English -ing form.

    des terres brûlées donnant plus de blé = burned lands yielding more wheat

    Note that the meaning would remain the same if replacing the present participle with a relative clause:

    des terres brûlées qui donnent plus de blé = burned lands, which yield more wheat
     
  3. ilfautque

    ilfautque Junior Member

    États-Unis
    english
    Thank you. C'est très utile.
     

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