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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Question HELP: I'm having trouble understanding this French sentence

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Tenez, Madame, est-ce qu'il n'est pas aussi à l'armée, mon homme à moi?
I know what it means i.e. all the words and the grammatical structure. But I don't understand it. Am I correct in assuming she said ... He is also not in the army, my man to me?



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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:40 PM
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Re: HELP: I'm having trouble understanding this French sentence

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Originally Posted by Sam L View Post
I know what it means i.e. all the words and the grammatical structure. But I don't understand it. Am I correct in assuming she said ... He is also not in the army, my man to me?


Correct translation in english is:

Isn't my man in the army too?
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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Re: HELP: I'm having trouble understanding this French sentence

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Originally Posted by NIKKO84 View Post
Correct translation in english is:

Isn't my man in the army too?
Ok thanks. But how did you get that from: est-ce qu'il n'est pas aussi à l'armée, mon homme à moi?

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: HELP: I'm having trouble understanding this French sentence

Quote:
Originally Posted by NIKKO84 View Post
Correct translation in english is:

Isn't my man in the army too?
I would've translated this into French like this: est-ce qu'il n'est pas aussi mon homme à l'armée?

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:53 PM
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Re: HELP: I'm having trouble understanding this French sentence

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Originally Posted by Sam L View Post
Ok thanks. But how did you get that from: est-ce qu'il n'est pas aussi à l'armée, mon homme à moi?
This sentence is not "correct" french, it's more popular frencH, i think the woman is answering someone who tells her that her husband is in the army, and she said her too

Where do you find this sentence?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:58 PM
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Re: HELP: I'm having trouble understanding this French sentence

you better give a little context so we can get the correct sentence because it's not clear what you want to say exactly here

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 2007, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: HELP: I'm having trouble understanding this French sentence

Quote:
Originally Posted by NIKKO84 View Post
This sentence is not "correct" french, it's more popular frencH, i think the woman is answering someone who tells her that her husband is in the army, and she said her too

Where do you find this sentence?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yasmine View Post
you better give a little context so we can get the correct sentence because it's not clear what you want to say exactly here


This was a quote from Vanity Fair - novel by William Makepeace Thackeray. A 19th century English novel but has a lot of French words and phrases in it.

This sentence was spoken by a French-speaking Belgian woman. And Nikko, you're right that was exactly the situation.

Nikko's translation is right I'm sure but I'm confused with the French expression here especially: mon homme à moi?

Also is what I said here right? est-ce qu'il n'est pas aussi mon homme à l'armée?

I'm wondering if the fact that this was written in 19th century had anything to do with it because Thackeray's French was very good apparently.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 2007, 03:41 PM
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Re: HELP: I'm having trouble understanding this French sentence

It's just an old formulation and an odd way of saying what she's saying, that's why you have trouble understanding it.

The "à moi" addition to a sentence is usually used to put the emphasis on what you're refering to. For example, you could tell someone : Ce n'est pas ton livre, c'est mon livre À MOI. (It's not your book, it's MINE). There's not really anything that translates exactly this meaning to English. There's this Patricia Kaas song called Mon mec à moi. When you refer to a person with the "à moi", it usually has a very "owning" meaning.

I would personally translate this sentence to something like : "Isn't my man also the army's." That's kind of how I see it. It's really tough to accurately translate the "à moi".
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 2007, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Re: HELP: I'm having trouble understanding this French sentence

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Originally Posted by XaDavK_Kapri View Post
It's just an old formulation and an odd way of saying what she's saying, that's why you have trouble understanding it.

The "à moi" addition to a sentence is usually used to put the emphasis on what you're refering to. For example, you could tell someone : Ce n'est pas ton livre, c'est mon livre À MOI. (It's not your book, it's MINE). There's not really anything that translates exactly this meaning to English. There's this Patricia Kaas song called Mon mec à moi. When you refer to a person with the "à moi", it usually has a very "owning" meaning.

I would personally translate this sentence to something like : "Isn't my man also the army's." That's kind of how I see it. It's really tough to accurately translate the "à moi".
Okay. This cleared everything up for me.

Merci! Merci!

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 2007, 08:15 PM
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Re: HELP: I'm having trouble understanding this French sentence

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Originally Posted by Sam L View Post
Okay. This cleared everything up for me.

Merci! Merci!
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old Oct 22nd, 2007, 09:52 PM
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Re: HELP: I'm having trouble understanding this French sentence

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Originally Posted by XaDavK_Kapri View Post
.....There's this Patricia Kaas song called Mon mec à moi. When you refer to a person with the "à moi", it usually has a very "owning" meaning....
yeah, the "à moi" can be tough to translate in certain Anglophone settings, but in Nigeria it wouldn't at all be odd to hear a woman respond to another in mourning by adding a little emphasis: "Listen, Madam, isn't my own man in the army?" It would be like, "Sister, please. Didn't my own husband pass last week? If you cry what will I do." Then both usually break down together.

I'm not absolutely certain this is quite the same thing, but the French formulation finally made sense to me during my 3 months in Gabon... If it's the closest translation, then it's certainly different from "my man" (mon homme/mec) and from simply "mine" (le mien). But you're spot-on about the emphasis having an "owning" quality to it.......

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Last edited by azinna; Oct 22nd, 2007 at 10:10 PM.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 05:38 AM
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Re: HELP: I'm having trouble understanding this French sentence

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Originally Posted by azinna View Post
yeah, the "à moi" can be tough to translate in certain Anglophone settings, but in Nigeria it wouldn't at all be odd to hear a woman respond to another in mourning by adding a little emphasis: "Listen, Madam, isn't my own man in the army?" It would be like, "Sister, please. Didn't my own husband pass last week? If you cry what will I do." Then both usually break down together.

I'm not absolutely certain this is quite the same thing, but the French formulation finally made sense to me during my 3 months in Gabon... If it's the closest translation, then it's certainly different from "my man" (mon homme/mec) and from simply "mine" (le mien). But you're spot-on about the emphasis having an "owning" quality to it.......
You're right. I thought about putting the "my own" but I wasn't sure it would sound good in English so I just capitalized the "mine" to show the type of emphasis. lol. Now that you mention you've heard the "my own" formulation, I guess there is a translation that's somewhat similar to the French "à moi". You've heard it in Nigeria, but I'm sure it's gotta be used in other places too. That'd be really good material for a research in one of my classes. I'll keep a bookmark on that thread
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 01:35 PM
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Re: HELP: I'm having trouble understanding this French sentence

Hope this helps, Sam:
"Tenez, Madame, est-ce qu'il n'est pas aussi à l'armée, mon homme à moi?"

roughly translated, it would be:
Isn't he in the army as well, my husband?
"Isn't he" is a rhetorical negative, inviting the affirmation/concession from the listener.

In "mon mari à moi" the "à moi" reinforces & emphasises the possessive "mon". This serves two purposes:
because the "il" in the question part of the phrase is imprecise, "mon mari à moi" underlines whom the speaker is referring to. Also, the double possessive assertively counters "ton mari".

In natural English, I think we'd do it the other way round:
"My husband is in the army as well/too, isn't he?"
"My" to emphasise possession at the beginning and "isn't he" at the end to "force" affirmation.

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