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gonflé comme...

 

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Old May 16, 2008, 01:32 PM
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gonflé comme...

Yesterday, I began making French flashcards based on my experiences in North Carolina over the last four months. One of the more important incidents was my having gotten hit by a car, which caused my shin to swell up something awful. Searching for a way to say this, I entered gonflé comme, swollen up like, in Yahoo's browser. Aside from several comparisons common enough in English (balloon, sail or flag, melon, toad, sponge, tumor), I found a few repeat results rather interesting for their commentary on French culture--several having to do with food, and specifically baked goods--or simply because it would not have occured to me to make the same metaphor:

- une chair (à saucisse) - sausage
- un outre - wineskin
- un cycliste / un vélo - bicyclist
- un gâteau - cake
- la farine - flour
- un abricot - apricot
- un ventre / un estomac - stomach
- une piscine(couverte) - indoor swimming pool,

and disturbingly,

- un noyé - victim of drowning.

And although I only found only one occurence of each of the following, they reenforce the idea that the French are in love with their food. The first has a distinctly French sound:

- le fruit qu'on presse - the fruit that one squeezes / I squeeze
- un soufflet
- un oeuf poché - a poached egg

I plan to do the same exercise in German, and I figure if anybody's interested, they can share some of the more common Spanish variations.
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  #2  
Old May 16, 2008, 02:35 PM
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I really know nothing of French, but I note one similarity-- un outre or wineskin, in Spanish is un odre.
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Old May 16, 2008, 02:53 PM
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I was rather interested in that last one, so I threw it in a search engine by itself, and found it to be from Exaltation by Anna de Noailles (1876-1933). I've only included one stanza, that period of French poetry not being of particular interest to me:


Ah! vivre ainsi les jours qui mènent au tombeau,
Avoir le coeur gonflé comme le fruit qu'on presse
Et qui laisse couler son arôme et son eau,
Loger l'espoir fécond et la claire allégresse!

Ah! Like so, to live out my days, leading to the tomb;
To have a heart swollen up like fruit that I squeeze,
That lets its juices and aroma run;
To harbor fertile hope and bright joy!


And thusly, I affirm that I'm not much into turn of the century French poetry. Actually, to be fair, much French poetry had moved on by that point. She just hadn't caught up with the brave experimentation being conducted by many of her contemporaries. It's like reading something by the American Sara Teasdale, a contemporary of Pound, Carlos Williams, Moore, Eliot, etc. who still had her head stuck in the Victorian era.
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