Comment dit-on X en anglais ?

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Albatora, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. Albatora

    Albatora Senior Member

    Teachers in France teach kids the way to ask for a word in English is: "What's the English for... ?" but I feel there's a word missing there.
    The English... what? The English word, sentence...
    What do you think? Does that sound correct to you?

  2. newg

    newg Senior Member

    London, UK
    Saying "what's the English for..." is just a shorter version.

    You could just as well say "what's the English word for..." or "what's the English phrase for..."
  3. moustic Senior Member

    near Limoges
    British English
    You can say "what's the English for ...?" or use Newg's suggestions.
    In class, I use:
    What's XXX in English?

    edit: I have young beginners and this is easier for them.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013
  4. geostan

    geostan Senior Member

    English Canada
    Or, How do you say XXX in English?
  5. Gérard Napalinex

    Gérard Napalinex Senior Member

    Lyon, France
    French - France
    Salut Albatora

    Ce n'est peut-être pas ta dernière interrogation - les langues disent des choses identiques avec des constructions différentes.
    What's the English for ... ?
    se dit en français
    Comment dit-on ... en anglais ?

    Je te souhaite de finir par avoir confiance en tes profs d'anglais ;)
  6. O in Paris

    O in Paris New Member

    Spanish (Arg)
    C'est tellement étrange comme question "what's the English for...?"!. Tellement pas authentique. Pourquoi ne pas dire "how do you say X in English?".
    Je débute dans l'enseignement et la première fois que j'ai entendu "what's the English for...?" de la part de ma tutrice, je ne pouvais pas croire !.
    Si "la longueur" de la question est un souci (???), pourquoi ne pas enseigner "what's X in English?".
  7. moustic Senior Member

    near Limoges
    British English
    I have no problems with any of the suggestions here:

    What's the English for "choufleur"?
    What's the English word for "choufleur"?
    How do you say "choufleur" in English?

    Or (as I suggested in #3): What's "choufleur" in English?
  8. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    There's no word missing. "The English" (or any other language) is an alternative for "English" and is used in one or two specific contexts:

    What's (the) English for "choufleur"?
    He has a copy of Hugo's book, translated from (the) French.
    I've read "
    The Odyssey" in the original Greek.
  9. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    Perhaps it's a difference in BE and AE here, because like O in Paris, I find "What's the English for... ?" rather strange, although I would understand it after thinking a moment or two what was being asked. Is it common in the UK to ask this, or is this the invention of a French English-language textbook?

    In AE the standard question would be "How do you say X in (language)?"
  10. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    Perfectly common so far as I'm aware, and has been from "What's the French for fiddlededee?” (Alice through the looking-glass) to "What's the French for Brexit?” (Spear's Magazine, 1 August 2016).
  11. Nicomon

    Nicomon Senior Member

    Français, Québec ♀
    In my francophone mind, it goes like this :

    Comment dit-on X en anglais ? = How do you say X in English ?
    What's the English for X = Quel est le mot anglais pour X / Quel est l'équivalent (en) anglais de X?

    And in both French and English, the second option doesn't sound as natural (to me) as the first.
  12. Chimel Senior Member

    Probably not, as Quel est l'anglais pour...? is not very natural in French either: like you, I would understand it, but I would spontaneously say Comment dit-on... en anglais? (I see Nicomon makes the same suggestion). So it's not likely to be a literal translation by teachers or authors of language books.
  13. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    By the way, I forgot Shakespeare's Henry V: "I do not know the French for fer, and ferret, and firk."
  14. Nicomon

    Nicomon Senior Member

    Français, Québec ♀
    Et dans l'adaptation française que j'ai trouvée ici - il y en a sans doute plus qu'une - c'est :

    But I don't see any closer equivalent of (this thread title) : Comment dit-on X en (langue) ? than: How do you say X in (language)?.

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