1. wynrae Member

    french france
    hello, does somebody know what's the english for "non-dit"? i would like to not use "silence" again


    Moderator note: multiple threads merged to create this one
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2010
  2. Cecily Senior Member

    French- France
    unspoken words?
  3. Qcumber Senior Member

    UK English
    In linguistics, the unsaid has to be taken into account to explain the meaning of some sentences.
  4. francophone Senior Member

    From the MSN encarta dictionary:
  5. weirdrubik Member

    France / French

    quelque saurait-il comment traduire cette belle expression françaises : les non-dits ?

    je ne trouve rien de bien probant dans le robert et collins à ce sujet

    peut-être "unspoken words" mais ça me parrait plus une traduction mot à mot qu'une réelle expression anglaise... n'y a-t-il pas d'équivalent anglais au "non-dit" ?

    meric beaucoup !! :)
  6. hercules Senior Member

    Paris, France
    maybe : hidden truths
  7. weirdrubik Member

    France / French
    mais "hidden truth" est plus péjoratif que "non-dit" non ? ça a plus une connotation de secret... non ?
  8. jjjbec Senior Member

    England/ English
    I like the expression 'things left unsaid' but whether it would fit in here...
  9. nishajeya New Member

    srilanka tamil
    J'aimerais traduire le "non-dit" dans le sens du ce qui n'est pas dévoilé. Est-ce qu'il y a terme pour ça en Anglais?
  10. edwingill Senior Member

    England English
    unspoken or what is left unsaid
  11. JJC Senior Member

    Canada - english
    dans le sens du ce qui n'est pas dévoilé.
    -- that which is: hidden / unknown / unseen / yet to be discovered
    context SVP
  12. archijacq Senior Member

    french France
    en psycho: "the unsaid"
  13. echovv New Member

    What about 'untold words' ?

    I've just read a sentence which says: Zahra left us with many untold words but her memory as a woman, a human being and a mother will remain with all of us.
  14. the swerve Senior Member

    English - British
    Subtext? I just came up against this word in the following phrase: "Tout le raisonnement implique le non-dit suivant : les rapports sociaux capitalistes sont autre chose que leur « apparence »"

    I had thought of translating it as follows:

    "The whole reasoning implies the following subtext: capitalist social relations are something other than their 'appearance' "
  15. Elle Paris

    Elle Paris Senior Member

    San Diego, CA/Paris, France
    American English
    How can I say that in English? I'm trying to talk about things that are known but not spoken about within families or among friends... for example, when a child grows up and does not know he was adopted, when everyone else knows; or things that happen and that are never mentioned again, etc.
    things that are taboo or swept under the carpet- what is the expression for in English (!) for "non-dit"?
  16. Erzz

    Erzz Senior Member

    French (France)
    I'm not a native speaker, but I'm thinking of : "what is left unsaid" - or maybe even "the unsaid"?
  17. xtrasystole

    xtrasystole Senior Member

    Mon bon vieux Robert & Collins (2006) donne :
    non-dit NMcette dispute a fait ressortir tous les ~s in the quarrel unspoken resentments surfaced ♦ ces ~s qui se transmettent de génération en génération these things that remain unmentioned from generation to generation ♦ dix émissions sur les mensonges et les ~s familiaux ten programmes on family secrets and lies​
  18. Elle Paris

    Elle Paris Senior Member

    San Diego, CA/Paris, France
    American English
    OK so there is no word for it, the non-said horrifying secret thing, the thing that must remain unsaid... taboo. Anyway, the examples are good but it seems that non-dits are so unsaid in all the anglophone cultures that there is no word for it as if the mere existence of it itself should be a non-dit! So much for my essay!
  19. SteveD

    SteveD Senior Member

    Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium
    British English
  20. Elle Paris

    Elle Paris Senior Member

    San Diego, CA/Paris, France
    American English
    Thank you! "The elephant in the room" is a great one although, I must say, it is not so easy to use as "non-dit". Some people's elephants follow them around...
  21. franc 91 Senior Member

    English - GB
    one's little secrets
  22. Keith Lyons Senior Member

    American English
    Dear People:

    For a long time I have been trying to figure out how the phrase "non-dit" works in US English & find this thread fascinating, rewarding, & practically very useful.

    However, seems to me -- this phrase can be inserted into but doesn't easily work in US English in particular because US culture is generally so much more outspoken than French culture -- with the exception of punchy & unashamedly vulgar French swears.

    Of course in all cultures one doesn't talk about certain things; there must be a subconscious level of knowledge & truth. But isn't it the case that this agreed-upon social silence is more the norm in some cultures rather than others, at certain times rather than others (e.g., the "non-dit" of sexuality & women's life in the Victorian Era)?

    A tool is shaped by the hand that uses it. In turn, the yoke of British language & culture often takes great pride in restraint. The use of French by the Hexagon French & the English language by Sceptered Isle British prides itself in making an art out of the "non-dit". While US English & its cultural context often prides itself in being outspoken -- from the plain speaking Pilgrims & Puritans of the 1600s to US politicians in 2011. Look at the language used in the recent budget debate in the USA's Washington, D.C.. No? Compare, e.g., British parliamentary civility with US Congressional legislators "telling it like it is".

    More to the "non-dit" matter at hand -- I think things go unspoken in French culture not because of British-style restraint but more because of walls & fences of time-honored taboos. Like, e.g., it is not considered good taste in France in many situations to talk about money. Half-cliché but half true too -- meet an American for the first time & I bet within 10 minutes you'll know how much he or she makes, where they live, the location & size of their house, how many children they have, whether they are divorced or married, and the key points of their health. Bingo bango.

    I've been in dinner-time business negotiations between US & French business people & I need to caution my US cohorts that one does not -- NOT -- bring up the subject of the money until desert.
    While with the French they know this, it's "true" that one approaches money in this discreet way. The "non-dit" is common sense for the French, while it's round-about, dilly-dally & slightly devious for the Americans.

    So "non dit" says a great deal about the cultural context. Could be -?- there is no one word in English for this phrase. The elephant or 20-ton gorilla or 40-ton moose metaphors sometimes used are fine, but really not fine enough, not at all as nuanced as "non-dit". It's the cultural subtlety of "non-dit" which contributes so much of its potency & relevance. It's hard to use a cork screw on a screw-cap bottle.

    Seems to me, at the end of the day, that "non-dit" is a mot juste. It is profoundly etic. It's strength lies in its unique belonging to French culture -- for better & worse.

    In any case, thank you all!

    Yours sincerely: Keith Lyons

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