revenons à nos moutons

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by zelda17, Mar 13, 2007.

  1. zelda17 Senior Member

    france french
    Moderator note:
    Several threads merged to create this one.

    My question was: how can you translate into English the French phrase "revenons à nos moutons".

    Thank you!
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2009
  2. wildan1

    wildan1 Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)

    let's get back to the subject (at hand)/topic
    (no sheep or other animals involved in saying it--sorry, it's a bit boring)
  3. zelda17 Senior Member

    france french
    Thanks a lot Wildan1! I'll forget the sheep then!
  4. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    Or perhaps 'let's get back to the matter in hand' or 'point' (?) There is an old expression my aunt used to use - she was born in the North of England in 1906 or so. 'To return to our muttons' - she said it when she felt we had left the point - she used it just like that, with quasi-imperative force, like the infinitives used in French road-signs - RALENTIR.

    Just in case anyone's interested, the expression comes from a 15th-century Parisian farce called La Farce de Maitre Patelin about a rascally advocate who is representing a crooked shepherd who has stolen some sheep. Whenever the Judge asks about the sheep the advocate goes off into rambling and brilliantly comic discussions of other things altogether. The judge keeps calling him to order by saying 'let's get back to the sheep.' The repetition of this line and the judge's frustration cause much hilarity and the phrase has passed into the French language - it's still current - and even crossed the Channel. I know all this because I researched it for my aunt forty years ago!
  5. liulia Senior Member

    "Back to the point, please!"

    "Let's get back on track."
  6. zelda17 Senior Member

    france french
    Thank you liulia and thomas tampion, the explanation was definitely interesting, I know more about English and French now!
  7. winklepicker

    winklepicker Senior Member

    English (UK)
    There is a jokey translation which is 'Returning to our muttons'. It's in fairly common use (search the English only forum) but it is slightly humorous because it is an over-literal translation.
  8. liulia Senior Member

    You're welcome, Zelda!

    Thank you, Thomas Tompion for the story! I really like it! :D
  9. fabfab Senior Member

    France - Grenoble
    French - France

    Do you know the English equivalent of "revenons à nos moutons"?
    It means "let's go back to the point".
    For instance, you would use this idiom during a meeting when people are wandering from an initial topic and you want them to come back to it.
  10. Cath.S.

    Cath.S. Senior Member

    Bretagne, France
    français de France
    Je dirais let's get back to the point.

    Je ne connais pas d'expression imagée qui veuille dire la même chose en anglais ; attends les vrais anglophones. :)
  11. La Ricaine

    La Ricaine Senior Member

    Hilton Head Island, SC
    USA (American English)
    "Let's get back to business/back to the task at hand/back on track"
  12. david314

    david314 Senior Member

    Clayton, Missouri
    American English
    To my ears, this is reminiscient of: We had better get our ducks in a row. :D

    -ça veut dire: s'organiser / to get organized.
  13. farcountry Member

    English - US
    I agree more with La Ricaine - I would use any of those. ("Let's get back to business/back to the task at hand/back on track".)

    If someone said "we need to get our ducks in a row," I wouldn't know they meant to pay attention to the discussion. It usually refers more to arranging details in order to prepare for something (ex. a presentation, or moving to a new house).
  14. edwingill Senior Member

    England English
    let's not digress
  15. fabfab Senior Member

    France - Grenoble
    French - France
    Sounds good, thanks!
  16. antoinetonio New Member

    French Belgium
    Good day mates,

    could someone (English native) please help with the following translation:

    "Revenons a nos moutons" (meaning "back to the subject we were talking about before")

    Any good English expression for that?


  17. Bella1 Senior Member

    UK Bilingual French/English
    As we were /I was saying,...
  18. Topsie

    Topsie Senior Member

    Avignon, France
    To get back to the point...
  19. xtrasystole

    xtrasystole Senior Member

    'Let's go back to the point'.

    A related expression is 'Let's move on' ("Continuons").
  20. cropje_jnr

    cropje_jnr Senior Member

    Canberra, Australia
    English - Australia
    Also: (Now,) getting back to where we were...

    By the way, what a cracker of a French expression... it's so cute I just have to use it the next occasion that arises. :p
  21. antoinetonio New Member

    French Belgium
    Thanks for your help guys! Really appreciate it.
  22. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    I have always taken this expression to mean: Let us leave this digression/ extraneous activity and return to the things that really concern us/ resume what we are supposed to be doing.
  23. xtrasystole

    xtrasystole Senior Member

    That's exactly right.

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