le vieux continent

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by esperanza2, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. esperanza2 Senior Member

    In French, the words 'vieux continent' are often used as a synonym for Europe. While it would be tempting to write 'old continent' in English, I always prefer to translate it by 'Europe', as this is more appropriate, especially if the context doesn't call for anything different.

    What I want to know is the following: is the term "old continent" often used in English? (personally, I've rarely seen it).

    Thanks in advance for your insight.
  2. niko Senior Member

    French (France)
    I've seen sometimes "The Old Continent", but not that often. Though it seems to be used anyway, it's even an official synonym of Europe in wikipedia :)
  3. Markus

    Markus Senior Member

    Paris, France
    Canada - English
    Yes, as niko says, The Old Continent isn't that used. I see more The Old Country, but this refers to a particular country (Italy, France, Poland, whatever), not to Europe as a whole. It's used when people are talking about their country of heritage. For example, a grandmother who emigrated from Italy might talk about the old country with her grandchildren. In my opinion it's a term that was used more back when people travelled by boat and left their country of origin for life. In today's modern age of communication and travel it would seem silly for a young person to talk about the old country to me.
  4. multae gentes Senior Member

    French (France)
    Hum...Don't you remember Donald Rumsfeld scolding 'Old Europe' for its refusal to take part in the war in Iraq ?

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