FR: Il est paraît-il 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 paraît-il [is] being used within the context. […] Does Il est paraît-il refer to the whole of the preceding lyric, that that lyric (whatever was said there) "is apparently" such and such? Or is Il est paraît-il a completely independent sentence, referring to nothing but the subject Il […]. Please explain. Thanks for your help!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2012
  2. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    Il est des terres = il y a des terres, there are burnt soils yielding more wheat etc.
    This is a literary use of "être" meaning "avoir": Il était une fois...
     
  3. MacAlister New Member

    français
    In my opinion, your question ought to be directed towards "il est", which you mistranslate into "it is".
    If we put that verse into standard French language, we would get something like:
    "On dit que certaines terres brûlés donnent plus de blé que la (les) meilleure(s) récolte (s) d'avril".
    Hence:

    Some scorched earths are said to yield more wheat than the best harvests of april.

    It is your turn to give it a poetic look in English... which seems to be another story :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  4. janpol

    janpol Senior Member

    France
    France - français
    Il paraît que... > j'ai entendu dire que... (mais je n'ai pas vérifié cette information moi-même)
     
  5. ilfautque

    ilfautque Junior Member

    États-Unis
    english
    Ok. Good to know re: Il est. […]

    Moderator note: Only one question per thread, please (see our posting guidelines). Your second question has been split to its own thread here.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2012

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