se constituer une famille

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New Member
English (Ireland)
Hi, can anyone help me with this sentence please?
'Josephine, qui se constitue une famille, essaye d'attacher a la cour ses parents les plus vagues, quelquefois les plus humbles, mais dont les noms ne datent pas d'hier.'
Could famille in this sense mean she is literally looking for a family for herself ie. a husband or is she just looking for other family members?
This is what I have so far but I feel as if I'm totally on the wrong track!!
'Josephine, who is gathering herself a family, is trying to connect her most distant relatives with the court. Sometimes they are the most humble of people, but their family history does not date back further than yesterday.'
Any suggestions greatly appreciated!
  • pachomius

    Senior Member
    USA / American English
    I think Josephine is trying to trace her family tree, including her most unknown relatives.
    My attempt at a literal translation:
    "Josephine, who is making a family for herself, is trying to attach to the court her vaguest relatives, sometimes the most humble, but whose names do not date from yesterday."
    Unless she's trying to prove that she has royal blood, I am assuming that "court" is somehow equivalent to our "family tree". I'm also assuming that "ne datent pas d'hier", in this context, implies that because these relatives are of humble origin, their names, dates, stories, etc., have not survived to the present day.
    Hopefully a native French speaker will help you out more!


    New Member
    Hi Yseult,
    I guess you don't need any more explanation about it as I'm nearly 8 years late...
    Anyway, the sentence without the context is not so clear but I understood it as if she were trying to attach to the court "the best" of her relatives.
    In fact, most of them are humble and not that rich ("quelquefois les plus humbles") but what works in their favour is that their names do date from a long time ("mais dont les noms ne datent pas d'hier").
    I won't get into more details as it probably doesn't matter anymore ;)
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