FR: autrement qu'elle n'est entendue vulgairement

skyscrapersandwiches

New Member
English - US
Salut! I'm having trouble translating a phrase. It's in the preface to a work of philosophy published in the 17th century, and I'm not sure whether the fact that the French is older means it should be translated differently. As it stands it seems kind of redundant.

(Also, I modernized the spelling, but may have missed something, in which case, apologies!)

"Je me suis avisé d'y envoyer l'épître d'Hippocras à Damagete: par laquelle est expliquée la cause morale du ris de ce grand philosophe, autrement qu'elle est n'entendue vulgairement"

The first part is straightforward: "I took it upon myself to send in the letter from Hippocrates to Damagetes: by which is explained the more cause for the great philosopher's laughter..." It seems like the next phrase could be translated as "differently than [the cause] is only commonly understood [to be]" but then there's the "ne" left over! Or is the "n'" a contraction for "en" or something like that?

Merci beaucoup!

R
 
  • sumelic

    Senior Member
    English - California
    Salut!
    The ne is probably just a "ne explitif" (if you're not familiar with that concept, here's a short french.about article introducing the ne explitif).

    See section 3.4 from the Centre de communication écrite:
    Dans une subordonnée commençant par que et introduite par un comparatif d’inégalité, tel que autre, autrement, meilleur, mieux, moindre, pire, pis, plus, etc., le ne explétif est généralement employé lorsque la phrase (principale) est à la forme affirmative.
    Il agit autrement qu’il ne parle.
     

    sumelic

    Senior Member
    English - California
    I just thought of another closely related question: why is the ne before the participle rather than the finite verb? I would expect "n'est entendue" instead. Is this a case of there being greater freedom of word position in older French, or are there also occasions in modern French where a ne can be placed between an auxiliary and its participle?
     

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    I just thought of another closely related question: why is the ne before the participle rather than the finite verb? I would expect "n'est entendue" instead. Is this a case of there being greater freedom of word position in older French, or are there also occasions in modern French where a ne can be placed between an auxiliary and its participle?
    Completely ungrammatical, in the 17th century and today. There is a mistake either in the text or in the quotation.
     
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