Monday, June 18, 2012

Phurther phun Phrench phrases

English enjoys in general a more robust apparatus of derivational morphology, than does French.  (Arabic is even richer in this respect, but is sadly deficient where we are most strong, in compounding.)   Dauzat indeed devoted an article to the topic:  “L’Appauvrissement de la dérivation en français”, in Français Moderne V (1937), citing largely phonological causes. 
 This sometimes results in resort to suppletion instead of derivation:  aveugle/cécité;  chauve/calvitie; louche/strabisme.   So it strikes the eye when French can turn a trick that is just out of our morphological reach.

(1) L'UMP bénéficierait du nombre réduit de triangulaires.
-- Le Figaro

“Three-way races.”

(2) Rien ne filtre dans l'entourage de François Hollande sur le nom qui sera choisi parmi les premiers ministrables.
-- Le Figaro

“On the short list for being appointed Prime Minister”.

(3) abordable

“easy of access”.   The term is applied metaphorically to people, at which point English has a parallel expression, approachable.   But we could not apply this term to a stretch of coast. 
When you have a nice one-word expression like this, it is more supple than a full phrase.  Thus one also speaks of prix abordables, where we would translate with affordable.

(4)  se déjuger

“to go back on one’s decision”

Pour d’autres friandises
de la confiserie 
du docteur Justice,

No comments:

Post a Comment