upset (sad and somewhat shocked)

A student wanted to translate 'upset' to describe her reaction to an accident which, while involving some complicated factors, was due to an error on her part. She found fâché or vexé. I feel fâché suggests anger. Not sure about vexé. Does bouleversé work here? That seems perhaps too intense. I have always thought of it as 'overwhelmed' which is perhaps one step stronger than I think we need. What would you suggest please? The upset was strong enough to prevent her sleeping much that night. And she kept recalling the sound of the impact.
 
  • k194

    Member
    French - France
    Bouleversée is indeed quite strong. I would rather say contrariée.
     
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    Genuine thanks to all here. But ... I am feeling that the French possibilities appear to be nudging what we hope to express in a different direction. Unless the WRef dictionary is missing some nuances. For perturbé they offer, as I would have anticipated: psychologiquement confus and for déstabilisé they include destabilised. Both of these suggest to me a psychological unsettling almost weakness, whereas I would claim that a somewhat shocked response accompanied with a certain sharp sense of sadness for harm done is a healthy enough response to the situation. Is ithere really a nuance in French thinking, of psychological frailty about feeling sad, temporarily distressed (upset) in such circumstances? I know my student, a steady practical woman, will be uneasy about the sound of these words. If they are indeed the natural and only translations for her response... then thank you for yr patience as I learn. I do for now feel we are unable to express our exact intent.
     

    Itisi

    Senior Member
    English UK/French
    S_C, 'upset' is quite a common word; 'déstabilisé' isn't.

    avago, you did say that she had been unable to sleep... I hadn't noticed k194's suggestion of 'contrariée', which you might prefer. To me, it doesn't mean 'annoyed'.

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    Soleil_Couchant

    Senior Member
    English - US
    avago I haven't been totally convinced by the responses either. I still like bouleversé, though I guess that implies completely overturned or something, which is too strong. Is there a "lighter" version of that?

    Itisi, okay, but I'm still not feelin' "perturbé"...not quite the same meaning.
     
    Mm bouleversé does appear closest still to me .. a light version would be ideal. But not sure if my Eng speaker brain is interfering w unnecessary slants on French options.

    Yes choqué offers one side of what we want. Doesn't seem to allow us to allude to the sadness element.
     
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    Mmm .. perhaps. Would that sound natural? J'ai été tristement choquée et j'ai eu des difficultés pour dormir cette nuit. .. Ça va?

    I checked désemparé too. Given as distraught.. but also as helpless. I know this woman will quickly reclaim her normal competence. Trying to be faithful to sense .. not intending to dismiss options but need to consider what connotations they may hold. Willing to be corrected if I misread.

    This seems like a valuable exploration as the idea of feeling upset (even if relatively briefly) by events, comments or experiences is a fairly common part of the gamut of responses daily living can provoke.
     
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    Thank you Itisi! I am truly listening. I've raised some concerns (in attempt to be accurate) and francophones haven't yet told me whether or not they are valid. My search continues.

    Dictionary and sound of words suggest certain properties of various words.

    Vexé can represent hurt in the sense of being offended or hurt. Can it be used without that sense?

    Contrarié can indicate annoyance. Is it always so?

    Is bouleversé too strong? (overwhelmed)

    Perturbé and déstabilisé seem to suggest more psychological impact. One might be happy to say one is upset without wishing to say one is destabilised. ??

    Désemparé may apparently include a sense of helplessness. Not what we want to say. But perhaps one can use it without necessarily conveying that???

    Oh for a plug-in French brain!
     
    Now that feels like it might work for us. Will check it out.Merci Laurent.

    Yes!! I think affligé/e is good. Thanks to all for yr contributions as they will be appropriate in other circumstances I feel.
     
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    Michelvar

    Quasimodo
    French / France
    The meaning of all those words is modified by the context of the sentence, like "upset" also is. You had yourself to emphasize that, in your context, upset was equivalent to sad and somewhat shocked.

    As your student will not always have the opportunity to ask a bunch of natives for advice, you should tell them that a very reliable translation would be "triste et un peu choqué / choquée " for instance.
     

    Laurent2018

    Senior Member
    french belgium
    Je pense que upset est un peu "fourre-tout" et recouvre une gamme énorme de qualificatifs, avec des nuances presque incompréhensibles.
    Seul le contexte peut fournir des pistes de traductions (ou d'interprétation).
    Au post #9, Avago a donné ses pistes, et sur cette base j'ai proposé "affligée", mais c'est très proche d'autres suggestions.
    Face à une abondance de possibilités, peut-être faut-il commencer par éliminer tout ce que le mot upset ne signifie pas, dans le cadre d'un contexte donné...?
     

    Itisi

    Senior Member
    English UK/French
    My take:
    Vexé can represent hurt in the sense of being offended or hurt. Can it be used without that sense? No

    Contrarié can indicate annoyance. Is it always so? I think it's broader

    Is bouleversé too strong? (overwhelmed) Yes, too strong

    Perturbé and déstabilisé seem to suggest more psychological impact. One might be happy to say one is upset without wishing to say one is destabilised. ?? I think 'perturbé' fits your description of her, and that 'déstabilisé' is too technical-sounding.

    Désemparé may apparently include a sense of helplessness. Not what we want to say. But perhaps one can use it without necessarily conveying that??? Helplessness, yes.
    'Afligée' is too literary for this context.

    PS - She could say, 'Cet incident m'a affecté'.
     

    Chimel

    Senior Member
    Français
    I would also suggest ébranlé for upset. Ther is an idea of being shocked, but less explicite than choqué and not as strong as bouleversé.
     
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