clopin-clopant, cahin-caha

geve

Senior Member
France, French
Hello forum,

Ce que j'aime dans "clopin-clopant" et "cahin-caha", c'est que la sonorité des mots traduit la bancalité de la démarche...
Alors, "hobbling" ne me satisfait qu'à moitié. Y a-t-il des expressions plus 'musicales' en anglais pour exprimer l'idée?

What I like about "clopin-clopant" and "cahin-caha" is that you can actually hear the hobbling walk behind the words...
So I'm not really satisfied with "hobbling". Are there any similar expressions in English that would be more 'musical'?

clopin-clopant loc.adv. En boitant, en tirant la jambe
cahin-caha fam. (gén. avec un verbe de mouvement) Péniblement, tant bien que mal

Merci ! :)
 
  • polaire

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    geve said:
    Hello forum,

    Ce que j'aime dans "clopin-clopant" et "cahin-caha", c'est que la sonorité des mots traduit la bancalité de la démarche...
    Alors, "hobbling" ne me satisfait qu'à moitié. Y a-t-il des expressions plus 'musicales' en anglais pour exprimer l'idée?

    What I like about "clopin-clopant" and "cahin-caha" is that you can actually hear the hobbling walk behind the words...
    So I'm not really satisfied with "hobbling". Are there any similar expressions in English that would be more 'musical'?

    clopin-clopant loc.adv. En boitant, en tirant la jambe
    cahin-caha fam. (gén. avec un verbe de mouvement) Péniblement, tant bien que mal

    Merci ! :)
    Could you give some more context for this use of onomatopoeia (onomatopeé)?
     

    geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    polaire said:
    Could you give some more context for this use of onomatopoeia (onomatopeé)?
    They are not onomatopoeia - but locutions adverbiales that mean that you go hobbling, you struggle along (literally or figuratively) :)

    Here are samples of sentences:

    Et je m'en vais clopin-clopant
    Dans le soleil et dans le vent
    (Pierre Dudan, Clopin-clopant, 1947)

    Un fiacre allait, trottinant,
    Cahin, caha,
    Hu, dia, hop là !
    Un fiacre allait, trottinant,
    Jaune, avec un cocher blanc.
    (Xanrof, Le Fiacre, 1888)


    Edit: thank you for the suggestions! So can they be used in sentences, ie. I was walking all clippety-cloppety?
     

    polaire

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    geve said:
    They are not onomatopoeia - but locutions adverbiales that mean that you go hobbling, you struggle along (literally or figuratively) :)

    Here are samples of sentences:

    Et je m'en vais clopin-clopant
    Dans le soleil et dans le vent
    (Pierre Dudan, Clopin-clopant, 1947)

    Un fiacre allait, trottinant,
    Cahin, caha,
    Hu, dia, hop là !
    Un fiacre allait, trottinant,
    Jaune, avec un cocher blanc.
    (Xanrof, Le Fiacre, 1888)
    I didn't see them in the WR dictionary, and my dictionary didn't give a clear definition of cahin-caha. Since you wanted the "sound" . . . .
     

    geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    polaire said:
    I didn't see them in the WR dictionary, and my dictionary didn't give a clear definition of cahin-caha. Since you wanted the "sound" . . . .
    Yes, absolutely! They are adverbs but the way they sound conveys the idea too... so an onomatopoeia might do the trick!
    I have just edited my above post: would it be possible to use your suggestions in whole sentences, and how?
     

    polaire

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    geve said:
    They are not onomatopoeia - but locutions adverbiales that mean that you go hobbling, you struggle along (literally or figuratively) :)

    Here are samples of sentences:

    Et je m'en vais clopin-clopant
    Dans le soleil et dans le vent
    (Pierre Dudan, Clopin-clopant, 1947)

    Un fiacre allait, trottinant,
    Cahin, caha,
    Hu, dia, hop là !
    Un fiacre allait, trottinant,
    Jaune, avec un cocher blanc.
    (Xanrof, Le Fiacre, 1888)


    Edit: thank you for the suggestions! So can they be used in sentences, ie. I was walking all clippety-cloppety?
    No! :eek:

    It's my fault; :) I was on the wrong track because I didn't understand what the adverbs meant. "Clip-clop" is the sound a horse's hooves make when trotting across a stone road. "Clippety-Cloppety" is a variation, but it sounds kind of corny.

    Galumphing" and "Lumbering"?

    Both are used for a kind of awkward, ungainly walk. "Galumphing" is the more unusual of the two.

    You can look them up in www.onelook.com if you like.
     

    Cath.S.

    Senior Member
    français de France
    polaire said:
    No! :eek:

    It's my fault; :) I was on the wrong track because I didn't understand what the adverbs meant. "Clip-clop" is the sound a horse's hooves make when trotting across a stone road. "Clippety-Cloppety" is a variation, but it sounds kind of corny.

    Galumphing" and "Lumbering"?

    Both are used for a kind of awkward, ungainly walk. "Galumphing" is the more unusual of the two.

    You can look them up in www.onelook.com if you like.
    One, two! One, two! And through and through
    The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, and with its head
    He went galumphing back.


    I just love these lines from Lewis Carrol's Jabberwocky.
     

    geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    polaire said:
    pleeease? :p

    Ok, I'll keep galumphing then. I read that it's "a Blend of galloping and triumphantly; a nonce word in Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky" (wiki) Funny it should come to mean "move around heavily and clumsily" :confused:

    I'll still hope for a "hobbling sounding" word though... Is there something with "hop" maybe?
     

    geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    egueule said:
    I just love these lines from Lewis Carrol's Jabberwocky.
    Mais oui ! En plus, je l'ai lu tout récemment... Je n'avais pas fait le lien :rolleyes:

    polaire said:
    This nursery rhyme might be of some interest, although I think I'm just making matters worse. :)
    Not at all! Actually, "Hobble-dy-gee, hobble-dy-gee" sounds nice...
     

    polaire

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    egueule said:
    One, two! One, two! And through and through
    The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, and with its head
    He went galumphing back.


    I just love these lines from Lewis Carrol's Jabberwocky.
    Moi aussi. :)

    The Hunting of the Snark isn't as good, but it has its moments.
     

    polaire

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    geve said:
    pleeease? :p

    Ok, I'll keep galumphing then. I read that it's "a Blend of galloping and triumphantly; a nonce word in Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky" (wiki) Funny it should come to mean "move around heavily and clumsily" :confused:

    I'll still hope for a "hobbling sounding" word though... Is there something with "hop" maybe?
    :idea: Hobble, wobble, teeter, limp, stagger, stumble.
     

    polaire

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    egueule said:
    Hobbly-wobbly?
    I thought of that one, too. I didn't see that many examples on Google. I'm still not quite sure of what Geve means to say.
     

    Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Bonjour Polaire,
    Here is a definition of clopin-clopant by TLFi (literary examples removed for easier reading):
    CLOPIN-CLOPANT, loc. adv.
    En boitant, en tirant la jambe
    P. ext. Dans un état souffreteux.

    Rem. On rencontre l'emploi adj. : toute une humanité toussante, clopin-clopante (P. VIALAR, La Mort est un commencement, Risques et périls, 1948, p. 31).

    Étymol. et Hist. 1668 (LA FONTAINE, Fables, V, 2, 23). Composé de clopin « boiteux » (attesté dep. 1262-68, BRUNET LATIN, Trésor, 73 ds T.-L., demeuré en jersiais, cliopin ds LE MAISTRE-CARRÉ; dér. de l'a. fr. clop, v. clopiner, suff. -in*) et de clopant, part. prés. de cloper (attesté de 1534, RABELAIS, Gargantua, chap. 2, éd. Marty-Laveaux, à 1611, COTGR.; dér. de clop, dés. -er).

    Definition of cahin-caha from the same source:

    CAHIN-CAHA, loc. adv.
    Fam. [Gén. avec un verbe de mouvement] Péniblement, tant bien que mal.

    Expr. [En parlant de la santé, d'une affaire, etc.] Aller cahin-caha. Le ménage continua d'aller cahin-caha (VAN DER MEERSCH, Invasion 14, 1935, p. 12).

    Étymol. et Hist. XVe s. kahu kaha (LEFRANC, Champ. des Dam., Ars. 3121, fo 18a ds GDF. Compl.), cahu caha est considéré comme ,,Motz vulgaires en Touraine`` par Rabelais (Appendice au Quart Livre, Prologue, Briesve declaration, éd. Marty-Laveaux, t. 3, p. 195); 1552 cahin caha (RABELAIS, Quart Livre, Prologue, éd. Marty-Laveaux, t. 2, p. 257 : un paouvre homme [...] guaingnant cahin caha sa paouvre vie), considéré comme ,,terme bas et proverbial`` par FUR. 1690 et les différentes éd. de Trév. Orig. obsc.; peut-être formation expressive, influencée par cahot* (FEW t. 16, p. 233b). L'hyp. d'une orig. lat. : que hinc que hac (MÉZERAY, Observations sur l'orthographe de la lang. fr., ms. Bibl. Nat. 9187, fonds fr., éd. Ch. Beaulieux ds Bibliothèque de l'École des Hautes Études, Sciences hist. et philol., 298, 1951, p. 198) ou qua hinc qua hac (EWFS2; Ch. Beaulieux ds Romania, t. 73, 1952, pp. 238-239), et qua huc qua hac pour les premières formes attestées, plausible du point de vue de la prononc. médiév. du lat., se heurte à l'absence d'attest. prouvant la vitalité de telles expressions en lat., et à la remarque de Rabelais sur l'usage de Touraine.

    (small hint to search in the TLFi: always search with one word only. The search engine will propose all components. ;) )
     

    polaire

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    Agnès E. said:
    Bonjour Polaire,
    Here is a definition of clopin-clopant by TLFi (literary examples removed for easier reading):


    Definition of cahin-caha from the same source:



    (small hint to search in the TLFi: always search with one word only. The search engine will propose all components. ;) )

    Thank you, Agnès E. :)
     

    zam

    Senior Member
    England -french (mother tongue) & english
    geve said:
    Yes, absolutely! They are adverbs but the way they sound conveys the idea too... so an onomatopoeia might do the trick!
    I have just edited my above post: would it be possible to use your suggestions in whole sentences, and how?

    I think that what you’re looking for is called an ‘ideophonic’ construction, or even more pompously, in this case, an ‘ideophonic adverb of manner’.


    Definition from Wiki: Ideophones are words utilizing sound symbolism to express aspects of events that can be experienced by the senses, like smell, color, shape, sound, action, or movement. Ideophones are attested in all languages of the world, however, languages differ in the extent to which they make use of them.

    So much for the waffly bit. Now onto your original question.
    I can’t find anything remotely convincing for ‘clopin-clopant’. Just as a possibly absurd afterthought :eek: , ‘clumpety-clump’ might satiate your curiosity (of course, not the same meaning strictly speaking).

    (e.g An indication of how small we all used to be, bend right down to get through the door and clumpety-clump your way down the stairs into a former storehouse ...
    www.inyourpocket.com/germany/ nuremberg/en/category?cid=60276&chid=664)
    e.g This had created a boring, clumpety-clump rhythm. within the paragraph. What, I asked myself, would I do to help the. writer make the sentence structures ...
    www.learner.org/channel/workshops/ middlewriting/images/pdf/W8ReadGrammar.pdf -

    For ‘cahin-caha’ (as in ‘avancer cahin-caha’ for instance), might I try to pull the wool over your eyes with 'plod’ ? (sound made by a laborious, heavy step).
     

    geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    zam said:
    I think that what you’re looking for is called an ‘ideophonic’ construction, or even more pompously, in this case, an ‘ideophonic adverb of manner’.
    Merci beaucoup, zam, d'avoir mis un mot sur ma requête un peu cafouilleuse ! "ideophone", voilà un mot qui me plaît bien.

    You are right, I was wondering if there was something similar to these two expressions in English "sound-wise"... I was more interested in the sound symbolism, than the exact meaning. In this perspective, "hobbly-wobbly" and "clumpety-clump" sound very good :thumbsup:
    I'll remember "plod" as a good ideophone, but it doesn't have the same "repetitive" sound effect...

    En guise de merci, quelques mots bancals : Moi l'éclopée, clopin-clopant, je suis mon cap, cahin-caha, que de tracas à écoper, du tac au tac, j'attaque et pique, c'est la cata, cette prose épique ! :eek: :rolleyes: :D
    (Sorry, I can't 'alliterate' well in English)
     

    zam

    Senior Member
    England -french (mother tongue) & english
    geve said:
    Merci beaucoup, zam, d'avoir mis un mot sur ma requête un peu cafouilleuse ! "ideophone", voilà un mot qui me plaît bien.

    You are right, I was wondering if there was something similar to these two expressions in English "sound-wise"... I was more interested in the sound symbolism, than the exact meaning. In this perspective, "hobbly-wobbly" and "clumpety-clump" sound very good :thumbsup:
    I'll remember "plod" as a good ideophone, but it doesn't have the same "repetitive" sound effect...

    Moi l'éclopée, clopin-clopant, je suis mon cap, cahin-caha, que de tracas à écoper, du tac au tac, j'attaque et pique, c'est la cata, cette prose épique ! :eek: :rolleyes: :D
    (Sorry, I can't 'alliterate' well in English)

    Voyons, voyons ma chère, ce n'est point une démarche adéquate pour une demoiselle de bonne société.
    Un peu de pratique et de tenue et tu pourras joindre mon club
    (seulement en tant que spectatrice bien entendu)
     

    la grive solitaire

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    Hi geve,

    I read your original post a few days ago but couldn't come up with anything in English and wondered why. I think it may be because the onomatopoiea in English derives from the verb (at least in these expressions) rather than in a mimicking of the sounds. What do you think?
     

    geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    la grive solitaire said:
    Hi geve,

    I read your original post a few days ago but couldn't come up with anything in English and wondered why. I think it may be because the onomatopoiea in English derives from the verb (at least in these expressions) rather than in a mimicking of the sounds. What do you think?
    Hi la grive! :)

    In French, according to the TLFi (as quoted by Agnès) both locutions probably derives from nouns: clopin (which is outdated as a substantive meaning "gimp", but the verb clopiner (hobbling) is still used) and cahot (lurch) / cahoter
    If we go deeper in etymology we might find that it all comes from onomatopeias; but "clopin clopant" and "cahin caha" are not onomatopeias, but adverbs.

    I think what also makes them good ideophones in French is the fact that they're composed of two parts (I've opened a thread on this kind of locutions doubles in Français seulement) which sounds appropriate to describe someone's gait...
     
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