la langue de Shakespeare

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Robert_Hope, May 17, 2008.

  1. Robert_Hope Banned

    West Midlands UK/London/Paris
    (British) English
    Hi everybody!

    In loads of different sorts of articles, I see "la langue de Shakespeare" written instead of simply "English"

    How should be translated into English? The literal "language of Shakespeare"/"Shakespeare's language" would sound odd to me.

    How do you approach translating this?


  2. valskyfrance Senior Member


    Dans la langue de Shakespeare = en anglais
  3. Just "in English" I think ^^
  4. valskyfrance Senior Member

    Oui, cette expression signifie juste "in English" nothing else.
  5. bh7 Senior Member

    Limestone City
    Canada; English
    It's the counterpart of " dans la langue de Molière ", used frequently in francophone Canadian news media.
  6. valskyfrance Senior Member

    donc ici "Dans la langue de Molière" = en français. :)
  7. Robert_Hope Banned

    West Midlands UK/London/Paris
    (British) English
    Yes, it's clear it means "English". But you wouldn't seek a stylistic way of saying it in English?
  8. jellybean Member

    American English
    I've heard "the language of Shakespeare" used in sentences generally meant to glorify the English language. I think it can be used, but it's very stylistic. What context is it in?
  9. Zarg Senior Member

    English - Canada
    That can certainly be used.
  10. Saints22

    Saints22 Senior Member

    Mauritius c'est un plaisir
    French & English
    I think that we should stick to simple "English" It lacks the pomp of Shakespeare's language but I do believe that most natives would be confused as Shakespeare's language is clearly not common, everyday, universal English.

    My attempt using an example sentence:
    L'homme que j'ai rencontré ne connaît que la langue de Shakespeare.
    The man that I met knows only English.

    Thy servant welcomes yonder esteemed comments
  11. Gil Senior Member

    Français, Canada
    Aznavour s'en sert dans "For me Formidable":
    ...Te l' écrire
    Dans la langue de Shakespeare...
    ...Pour te plaire
    Dans la langue de Molière...

    Si on préfère les langues de Mick Jagger et Johnny Halliday, le message passe quand même...mais change de registre:)
  12. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    I am not English but I agree with you .
    "la langue de Shakespeare" & "la langue de Molière" are set phrases in French and as a result, they don't sound strange/unusual/... They are immediately understood.
    If the literal translation "language of Shakespeare" is not common and would prick up your ears, I am not sure this is a good translation.
  13. Tazzler Senior Member

    American English
    The language of Shakespeare, Molière, Cervantes, Pushkin, Goethe, Dante.....these don't sound so bad and could be used in an appropriate context (All of these are held up as the greatest literary figure in the respective language's history....though I am not sure about Molière...).
  14. djweaverbeaver Senior Member

    English Atlanta, GA USA
    I agree with Saints22. In English is the best translation. Saying in language of Shakespeare would almost certainly make me think of the style of Elizabethan English in which his plays and sonnets are written and that most English speakers have trouble understanding without training. Let's try to avoid unnecessary ambiguities. Furthermore, I think many more average French speakers know who Shakespeare is than do average English speakers know Molière (unfortunately).
  15. LART01

    LART01 Senior Member

    La Haye Pays-Bas
    Oui, ou encore la langue de Goethe pour l'allemand. Procédé bien connu des journalistes pour éviter les répétitions à outrance d'un vocable dans un article.
    Ici en anglais, s'impose.
    A noter : On parlera de langue de Shakespeare également pour l'anglais américain, même si on peut lire ici ou là des variantes comme la langue d'Hemingway
  16. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    I think a translator should absolutely avoid translating any of these terms literally. They are simply faux amis, no question of it. Do not accept advice to the contrary from French speakers, because as Dear Prudence has said (#12), these are set phrases in French and as a result, they don't sound unusual.

    I was horrified to read in my local paper 20 years ago that a local association was teaching eleven-year-olds to speak "la langue de Shakespeare". Even at British universities, students of English only learn how to analyse Shakespeare's language, not speak it!
  17. Le Penseur

    Le Penseur Senior Member

    I have to admit that though I personally would go with "the language of Shakespeare" (or "the language that Shakespeare wrote in"), it 'sticks out' in English, whereas in French it's at a sort of almost-banal stage, and I think "la langue de Molière/Shakespeare" is so (almost ridiculously) common now that it wouldn't have that same 'ordinary' sound if translated literally into English.

Share This Page