Et rien que de voyager seul

  • Jim in Phila

    Senior Member
    American English
    I don't see any "reason" ( = because) here. The traveler is "simply" (for no reason) travelling. Rien que de = "nothing but. . . "
     

    Jim in Phila

    Senior Member
    American English
    (continuing) Maybe "because" he was travelling alone, he was yearning or sighing for something. Do the following lines tell you what or why he was "sighing" for . . . ?
     

    le chat noir

    Senior Member
    French
    I rather understand it as : "le simple fait de voyager [...] suffit à me faire soupirer [...]"

    You might picture "rien que de" as "merely because of [doing something]" (however broken the English :) )

    The basic pattern is like:

    "je tremble rien que d'y penser" -> I shudder to think of it (lit. "I shudder merely because of thinking of it")

    Here, "rien que de" is moved to the front for emphasis

    "merely travelling from A to B [was enough for me to] sigh all along the way"
     
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    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Merely traveling or the sheer fact of sound too little and too much to my ears. It could be just a stylistic choice but I might suggest
    Traveling alone from A to B was enough to have me sighing the whole way.
    I wonder if there’s a better word than “sighing” which sounds a bit melodramatic. Maybe “pining”? Or is that too far away from the original?
     

    buketturk

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    Do the following lines tell you what or why he was "sighing" for . . . ?
    Oui : Et rien que de voyager seul de Beyrouth à Damas, je soupirai tout le long du chemin. Je pensais tantôt à Moussa, qu’un méchant cargo ballottait en haute mer, tantôt à Mikhaïl, qui priait hypocritement à Mont-Athos, cependant que moi, triste comme un chien quitté par son maître, je me faisais cahoter par monts et par vaux dans un amas de ferrailles et de planches disloquées qu’on nomme train. Il me déposa, un après-midi, dans ce Damas qui doit être la ville la plus poussiéreuse de tout l’empire d’Abdülhamid. La plus laide et la plus sale, également. Il me suffit de la traverser pour m’en convaincre.
    Est-ce que "Just being alone made me sigh, all along the trip" pourrait convenir?
    Si ça a le même sens... Oui, bien sûr ! :)
    Traveling alone from A to B was enough to have me sighing the whole way.
    It's OK too, if it means the same thing ! :)
     

    le chat noir

    Senior Member
    French
    Merely traveling or the sheer fact of sound too little and too much to my ears. It could be just a stylistic choice but I might suggest
    Traveling alone from A to B was enough to have me sighing the whole way.
    That would be rendered by a direct translation (voyager seul ... suffit à me faire soupirer tout du long).

    "rien que de" alludes to some other cause that would have the same effect, only far worse. It's really a strong emphasis :)

    J'en tremble rien que d'y penser [mais si je le voyais en vrai je m'enfuirais en hurlant !]

    With some exageration just to make my point:

    Rien que de voyager seul de A à B ça a été vraiment pénible [mais s'il s'était passé [quelque chose que le lecteur est censé connaître mais que le contexte d'indique pas], je me serais carrément tordu les mains et arraché les cheveux pendant tout le voyage].

    Now if we get a bit more context and the previous sentence reveals that other cause, that should help tuning the "intensity" somewhere between "merely" and "just"
     

    le chat noir

    Senior Member
    French
    "even" seems a bit off. The impression is that even a minor event like the trip is enough to make him sad, while "rien que de" means the sadness felt during the trip is only the harbinger of much worse to come.
     

    le chat noir

    Senior Member
    French
    Depends on your definition of "sure", but that's certainly how I understand it as a native speaker. "even" would translate as "même voyager seul..." like "even a small thing like this trip was enough to make me sad", i.e. everything makes him sad, even small things, while he rather says "the trip alone was already bad", implying other things would be (far) worse.
     

    buketturk

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    Je comprends cela à partir de cette phrase: "Voyager seul suffit à me rendre triste." Je ne pense pas que cette phrase soit le signe avant-coureur d'une autre mauvaise nouvelle...
     

    le chat noir

    Senior Member
    French
    I just was surprised to see this "even" pop out of nowhere, while the consensus seemed to be around "merely" or "just".

    The dictionary of the academy handles this construct in entry D2:

    Rien que + syntagme prép. [Ce qui est désigné par le syntagme prép. suffit pour produire l'effet indiqué par le verbe princ.] Je frémis rien qu'en y pensant. Il me suffit d'y penser pour frémir

    So I might be overthinking this. It might be just the author's style, after all.
    But I wonder why he would use such an emphatic construct among several more neutral alternatives.
     

    buketturk

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    But I wonder why he would use such an emphatic construct among several more neutral alternatives.
    I really don't know...

    But I can say that I used the word "even" in the translation exactly as it is in this description:
    Rien que + syntagme prép. [Ce qui est désigné par le syntagme prép. suffit pour produire l'effet indiqué par le verbe princ.] Je frémis rien qu'en y pensant. Il me suffit d'y penser pour frémir
     

    le chat noir

    Senior Member
    French
    The difference is, "rien que" usually implies a proportionality, i.e. a small cause is enough to cause some small effect, so a more serious cause will cause a more serious effect. This is not explictly stated in the definition, but it's the way I hear it used and use it myself.

    "rien qu'au premier épisode de la série, j'ai commencé à m'ennuyer". Formally I only state that the first episode was enough to cause some boredom, but what I imply is the series as a whole is particularly boring.

    Now if I say "même au premier épisode de la série j'ai commencé à m'ennuyer", that rather means it's just a typical boring series, from end to end.

    Again, it might be just me. Other native speakers might not feel such a definite difference.
     
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    buketturk

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    Well... I used the word "even" like "Even the first episode of the series was enough for me to get bored of it." But you say that it has to be like "Only just at the beginning of the series, I've started to get bored." Am I right?
     

    le chat noir

    Senior Member
    French
    Well yes, something like that. To sum it up, as a personal gut feeling, which other natives might share or not, I expect something more dramatic when I hear "rien que" (in this particular acceptance, of course).

    "J'ai compris rien qu'à voir sa tête" formally means "seeing his expression was enough to understand what happened" but "rien que" indicates it must be about devastating news.
     

    le chat noir

    Senior Member
    French
    I would not want to waste your time or mislead you and would feel more comfortable with some native second opinion. At any rate, we're talking about nuances that will not harm the general meaning.
     

    Locape

    Senior Member
    French
    Et rien que de voyager seul de Beyrouth à Damas, je soupirai tout le long du chemin. Je pensais tantôt à Moussa, qu’un méchant cargo ballottait en haute mer, tantôt à Mikhaïl, qui priait hypocritement à Mont-Athos, cependant que moi, triste comme un chien quitté par son maître, je me faisais cahoter par monts et par vaux dans un amas de ferrailles et de planches disloquées qu’on nomme train. Il me déposa, un après-midi, dans ce Damas qui doit être la ville la plus poussiéreuse de tout l’empire d’Abdülhamid. La plus laide et la plus sale, également. Il me suffit de la traverser pour m’en convaincre.
    Je le ressens de la même façon que @le chat noir, c'est une partie de ce qui le fait soupirer, c'est déjà suffisant pour le faire soupirer, mais il y a d'autres raisons, comme 'je me faisais cahoter (...) dans un amas de ferrailles...'. Non seulement il est seul (une raison suffisante pour être triste), mais en plus son voyage est très inconfortable, et il atterrit dans la ville la plus poussiéreuse (et laide) de tout l'empire.
     
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