Rien ne se perd, rien ne se crée, tout se transforme

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Iphilgood, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. Iphilgood

    Iphilgood New Member

    Nantes
    France
    Que pensez-vous d'un coin Citations ?
    What do you think about a Quotes corner?

    The first

    "Rien ne se perd, rien ne se crée, tout se transforme."
    Lavoisier

    "Nothing creates itself, nothing gest lost, all change"

    Do you have better translation ?

    Thanks
     
  2. Iphilgood

    Iphilgood New Member

    Nantes
    France
    Small mistake corrected

    Nothing creates itself, nothing gets lost, all change
     
  3. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    Bienvenue sur les forums WR, Iphilgood.

    Je te propose Nothing gets lost, nothing gets created, everything gets transformed.
     
  4. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo

    Less literally but more "English":

    Nothing is really lost or found; it's all about transformation
     
  5. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    In my suggestion, I tried to keep the alliteration side, which seems important to me, to make the sentence sounding like a motto, just like in French.

    Maybe Nothing gets lost, nothing gets found, everything gets transformed would be better, then.
     
  6. Iphilgood

    Iphilgood New Member

    Nantes
    France
    Or simply

    "Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed"

    and in fact Antoine de Lavoisier was inspired by Anaxagore de Clazomènes
     
  7. Randisi. Senior Member

    Dalian, China
    American English; USA
    "Lost" doesn't seem the correct translation here:

    Nothing is created or destroyed, only transformed.


    (And a warm welcome to the Forum, Iphilgood!)
     
  8. BigRedDog

    BigRedDog Senior Member

    California, USA
    France, French
    Randisi, I disagree for two reasons:

    If we wanted to replace "lost" we would be forced to use a term like "annihilation" to respect the fact that Lavoisier is not simply talking about structures but about matter itself. "Destroy" would not be strong enough.

    Secondly, "lost" implicitly refers to the system into which the "counting" (of that which is annihilated or created) occurs. Using "destroy" -which is more absolute than "lost"- would hide this reference which is in the original French sentence.
     
  9. harbottle Senior Member

    Melbourne
    Australia; English
    "nothing is gained or lost, merely transformed" ?
     
  10. Randisi. Senior Member

    Dalian, China
    American English; USA
    Interesting, BigRedDog.

    I'll admit to ignorance of Lavoisier's specific use of this phrase. But to me, "lost" seems very weak next to "created." The TLFi gives - Etre réduit à rien; aller à sa perte; être détruit - as one definition of «se perdre». No other authority than Collins Robert gives "Matter can neither be created nor destroyed(, only transformed)" as the suggested translation of «Rien ne se perdre, rien ne se crée(, tout se transforme)». Of course, this isn't given for a specifially Lavoisier-ian context, not is this dictionary infallible.

    However, a google search, reveals the common use of "lost" for the saying, but "destroyed" also makes a decent showing.

    As for the lost reference to a system of "counting," you may have a point - I know nothing about it.
     
  11. tilt

    tilt Senior Member

    Nord-Isère, France
    French French
    I'm quite amazed no set form of this sentence seems to exist in English.
    In France, le principe de Lavoisier is one of the most popular sentence one can learn about chemistry, at school. It really got something of an idiom. Maybe because Lavoisier was French. :rolleyes:
     
  12. harbottle Senior Member

    Melbourne
    Australia; English
    Lavoisier's principle is well-known amongst chemistry students, but it is rarely formulated in a single sentence. One might say "the mass of a closed system remains constant, whatever the process" or, more concretely, "mass is neither gained nor lost, merely transformed". There is certainly no well-known saying or turn of phrase to capture this.
     
  13. Iphilgood

    Iphilgood New Member

    Nantes
    France
    Well done harbottle! This sentence is very popular in France, the Cartesian country (Descartes), sound very well in french and very easy to remain as well. "Rien...rien...tout". As a slogan with repetition and its opposit. I wanted to keep this mind by using Nothing...Nothing....Everything. How do you feel this version?
    "Too french? Strange? Not possible? Why not to increase the popularity of Lavoisier?"
    Not english at all, sure and your release is perfect but may be no well-known because non singing. Not usual for english language! :) and english have also famous chemists. Later, Einstein will be close with E=mc²
     
  14. BigRedDog

    BigRedDog Senior Member

    California, USA
    France, French
    Which is fine by me, since the word "matter" is introduced, it does convey the right meaning and forces "to create" and "to destroy" to refer to "matter".
     

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