n'en demander pas tant

psyseb

Member
English
Reading an article about tennis and came accross the title phrase:

Tsonga n'en demandait pas tant

Would it be:

Tsonga didn't need much encouragement ?
 
  • Sugar-vampangel

    Senior Member
    Français (Suisse)
    In this case, "n'en demandait pas tant" could mean that he did not expect to win, or to get so many points... I don't think it has something to do with encouragment...
     

    psyseb

    Member
    English
    I'm interested in the expression in general. It seems to have a number of very different interpretations. Would anyone be able to offer me a core explanation of what it means?
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    il n'en demandait pas tant : "he didn't require that much"
    does it help ?
    "Tsonga didn't require that much" would not make a good headline because it doesn't mean very much. What did he not require much of? In order to do what? What does "en" refer to? This is one of those cases where a direct translation doesn't work (for me).
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    yes, but a core explanation was required here

    it's the same in french : without context, "n'en demandait pas tant" doesn't refer to anything specific to the phrase
    But we are told that it was used as a headline in a French-language publication. That implies that it has sufficient meaning to be used as a headline. My point was that a direction translation would not be used as a headline in an English-language publication, because there is insufficient meaning.
     

    Micia93

    Senior Member
    France French
    I agree :)
    "il n'en demandait pas tant" is a headline with insufficient meaning, but it's done on purpose : people will ask themselves" il n'en demandait pas tant, de quoi ?" so it acts as an incentive to make people read the article. Don't english newspapers have the same strategy of exciting curiosity ?
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree :)
    "il n'en demandait pas tant" is a headline with insufficient meaning, but it's done on purpose : people will ask themselves" il n'en demandait pas tant, de quoi ?" so it acts as an incentive to make people read the article. Don't english newspapers have the same strategy of exciting curiosity ?
    :) Yes, they have exactly the same strategy. Nevertheless, there are cases where something has a basic meaning in French but no meaning in English, because of differences between the two languages with respect to syntax and the way ideas are expressed. The problem here is that we are dealing with two issues:
    1) What is the core meaning of "n'en demander pas tant"? I for one would still like to know what "en" refers to.
    2) How would an English-language publication have worded the title of the article? If the idea is that it was an easy win for Tsonga, it would be possible to be quite specific in English, without using more space than that used by the French title: "Tsonga strolls to victory", or something like that.
     
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