One lump or two? (sugar)

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Senior Member
Français (France)

J'ai un petit probème avec le passage suivant :

The doctor nodded toward the kitchen and whipered to (his friend).
- He'll ask us if we want some tea.
- Tea? asked the scratchy voice from the kitchen.
- Yes, please, called the doctor. Two cups!
- Milk? called the voice.
- Yes, please.
- One lump ot two ?
- Two, please, called the doctor winking (at his friend). And two sugars.

Le texte est de Douglas Adams et je me méfie donc de son humour si particulier. Il y a une scène reprenant le même échange (Tea, milk, lump, sugar) un peu plus tôt.

Lump et sugarfont-il référence à du sucre (à première vue du moins) ou bien existe-t-il une traduction de lump (une cuillèrée de lait, par exemple) que je n'ai pas trouvée?


  • wildan1

    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    a lump of sugar est un (morceau de) sucre (sucre en morceaux)

    One lump or two? est une phrase toute faite pour le service du thé ou du café. Two sugars est ce qu'il a crié au serveur.


    Correct. But having just ordered "two lumps," the doctor winks at his friend, as if he's just made a joke, and goes on to order "two sugars." I suspect that there is some play on the word "lump" that is not clear from the bit of dialogue that we have.


    Senior Member
    English - British
    It would be useful to know what is said in the previous passage that you refer to (it's a long time since I read the book, and my memory isn't what it was ...). However I think the joke is actually about the milk ... if it isn't fresh, it may well have 'lumps' in it!


    Senior Member
    Français (France)
    There is nothing of interest before. Two characters arrive in the room while the third one is already in the kitchen.
    The other similar passage is :

    (One character - Chris - in the same room and the other character - the professor - in the same kitchen)

    - Milk ? called (the professor) from the kitchen.
    - Er... yes please, Chris called back, distractedly hunting the shelves for more (books).
    - One lump or two ?
    - Two please, said Chris absently, grabbing another couple of books and stuffing them into his satchel.
    - Sugar ? called (the professor).
    Chris blinked.
    - What ?
    The professor emerged from the kitchen, carrying two cups of tea.
    - Here you are.


    Senior Member
    Français (France)
    I hadn't thought of milk lumps.
    Thank you very much, AnnieF.

    Has someone got an idea on how to translate that joke ?


    Senior Member
    English - British
    Hi Koyote. Actually, I suspect the previous passage is relevant. Note that in the first passage, when asked if he wants one lump or two, Chris replies 'two', but is then asked if he wants sugar, as though they were two different things ... It's therefore quite probable then that in the second incident, the reference is not to lumps of milk, but is simply a jocular reference to the earlier exchange.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    it is an extremely boring joke of the 'deliberate misunderstanding' and/or 'absent-minded professor' variety. I don't think it would work any better if translated.


    A lump is a "block" of sugar, as everyone has said; but a lump is also a growth, a tumour, in other words. And the fact that this conversation involves a doctor makes me think of two tumours. Even though I can't explain why he say "please".


    Senior Member
    English - Southern England Home Counties
    A simple joke carrying on from the traditional response to MILK? = "Yes, please." - never any quantity as everyone knows how much milk to put in.

    Then the doctor replies to "one lump or two?" (for sugar of course - not milk) by saying "two" and then (joke !! ??) "and two sugars". Very pathetic joke - you can't have two lumps of milk and the answer to "milk?" is only Yes or No.

    NB The joke phrase is always "one lump or two?" not - One lump ot two ? - I assume that's a typo.
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