Saturday, 13 June 2009

Do you say 'to whom'?

I was looking for my own inspiration to write a French blog so I put on a CD by Edith Piaf and I was listening to La Vie en Rose. It didn't take long. Here is the introduction.

Des yeux qui font baiser les miens,
Un rire qui se perd sur sa bouche,
Voila le portrait sans retouche
De l'homme auquel j'appartiens

Then I thought, how do teachers go about translating 'to whom'. We don't even say this in English and for translations to have any meaning we have to start with a knowledge of English. The last of these lines translates as 'of the man to whom I belong'. It is unlikely that you will ever want to say this line in conversation, but you may want to fill in your own words for something similar. The football of the team to which I belong is a better translation than my team's football. How do I know? Because Edith Piaf tells me. Even if you don't believe me and you can't see yourself wanting this translation then at least learn 'de l'homme auquel j'appartiens' so that you can join in the singing.

A bientôt

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