right bank

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wildan1

Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
English - USA
We were finishing a nice bottle of Côtes du Rhône and wondering about the details of this particular bottle.

On the label (in English--produced for export to the US) the vintner says "this selection is ... coming from the hills located on the right side of the Rhone River."

This expression tells an English-speaker nothing. I am aware that the Right Bank of Paris is on the north--but in this area of the Rhône River, the river's north-south axis would put the banks on the east and west.

Is there a standard way to tell which side a river bank is located on? In English we would refer to a cardinal point (N-S-E-W) and not right/left.

Quelqu'un peut -il expliquer la logique d'une telle tournure en français ?
 
  • tchinga

    Senior Member
    la référence en france pour désigner les rives est le sens du courant : comme si on était sur un bateau en train de descendre le fleuve, de sa source jusqu'à la mer.
    à babord : rive gauche et à tribord :rive droite
     

    tilt

    Senior Member
    French French
    We use to refer to rivers banks by saying la rive droite and la rive gauche, according to the stream direction.
    It's not less (nor more) logical than using cardinal points, is it?
     

    wildan1

    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    la référence en france pour désigner les rives est le sens du courant : comme si on était sur un bateau en train de descendre le fleuve, de sa source jusqu'à la mer.
    à babord : rive gauche et à tribord :rive droite
    Merci, tchinga--c'est logique quand on y pense. Mais dans ce cas, tilt, les logiques francophone et anglophone ne semblent pas s'être croisées !

    Donc une meilleure traduction aurait été "on the eastern side of the Rhone River"....
     

    SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    We use to refer to rivers banks by saying la rive droite and la rive gauche, according to the stream direction.
    It's not less (nor more) logical than using cardinal points, is it?
    As a matter of fact, it is more logical, since a river could be running south at one point, and north at another. But wildan1's question was also totally logical. Right or left when you are facing upstream or downstream? Thanks to tchinga for the answer.
     

    wildan1

    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    It's the Right Bank of the Rhône. We use the same convention in English.
    Who are "we," RuK? This phrase makes no sense to me in English and I have never heard it used in English except as directly translated from the French to describe the two sides of the city of Paris...

    In AE we would say the east/west bank of the Mississippi or the north/south bank of the Ohio River. Do you say left/right bank of the Thames?
     

    tilt

    Senior Member
    French French
    Who are "we," RuK? This phrase makes no sense to me in English and I have never heard it used in English except as directly translated from the French to describe the two sides of the city of Paris...
    I know Wikipedia is not to be taken as gospel, but it refers to right bank and left bank expressions. This seems to say they're not that unusual.

    I've got anyway a problem with the definitions given there.
    Let's take The right bank of a river is the side to one's right while facing downstream.
    I may misunderstand facing, but when I read facing downstream, I interpret it as looking upstream. If I'm right, the French definition for right and left banks are opposite to the English ones!
     

    wildan1

    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    I know Wikipedia is not to be taken as gospel, but it refers to right bank and left bank expressions. This seems to say they're not that unusual.
    Interesting that virtually all the examples cited are for non-English-speaking countries. The links go on to give examples of north/south etc., which cite British rivers. Which actually confirms my own experience that we don't naturally describe the sides of our own rivers in that way.
     

    crossreference

    Member
    USA English
    Without a map, "right bank" really doesn't tell you much.
    "North bank", on the other hand, lets you know that the river in question runs roughly east/west or west/east, and that the bank referred to is the one closer to the North Pole.
    Though the latter is more geographically precise, I still prefer the "right/left bank system" which requires a person as a point of reference and leaves more to the imagination !
     
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