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  #1  
Old 12-20-2005, 07:41 PM
FriarTed FriarTed is offline
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"Como tally vu" (sp?)- French for what?

A friend used the phrase & was astonished that I had never heard it. She refused then to tell me what it means. Help, please!
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  #2  
Old 12-20-2005, 07:43 PM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
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It's spelt comment allez-vous?

And it means "how are you going?"
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  #3  
Old 12-20-2005, 07:44 PM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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It basically means "how are you?"
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  #4  
Old 12-20-2005, 07:45 PM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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Je vais à pied, évidemment.
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  #5  
Old 12-20-2005, 07:46 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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It's como talle vu? It just means "how are you?"
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  #6  
Old 12-20-2005, 07:47 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cunctator
It's spelt comment allez-vous?

And it means "how are you going?"
That's a literal translation. It actually means "how are you doing? or "how are things going?"
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  #7  
Old 12-20-2005, 07:47 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cunctator
It's spelt comment allez-vous?
Yeah, what he said I know what it means, just can't spell it.
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  #8  
Old 12-20-2005, 07:48 PM
anyrose anyrose is offline
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you can "get her back" next time by saying "ça va?" which is the colloquial version of the more familiar "comment ça va" which also translates basically as "how goes it?" "ça" is pronounced "sah"
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  #9  
Old 12-20-2005, 07:59 PM
Sevastopol Sevastopol is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cunctator
It's spelt comment allez-vous?

And it means "how are you going?"
That's a literal translation. It actually means "how are you doing? or "how are things going?"
Actually, in Australian English it is an idiomatic as well as a literal translation.

"How are you doing?" is a translation of the Australian idiom into American English.
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  #10  
Old 12-20-2005, 08:27 PM
David Simmons David Simmons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anyrose
you can "get her back" next time by saying "ça va?" which is the colloquial version of the more familiar "comment ça va" which also translates basically as "how goes it?" "ça" is pronounced "sah"
I've also heard, "Il va?" (It or he goes?) meaning "Is everything OK?" but I'm not sure that was from a native speaker.
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  #11  
Old 12-20-2005, 08:32 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cunctator
It's spelt comment allez-vous?

And it means "how are you going?"
I would just pedantically add that the vous is the polite or formal form. To someone with whom you are more familiar you would say [/i]comment va-tu[/i]? Don't know if that's useful since I don't know the context of the question.
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  #12  
Old 12-20-2005, 08:32 PM
Ace309 Ace309 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patty O'Furniture
Je vais à pied, évidemment.
You just ruined my reason for opening this thread, you realize.
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  #13  
Old 12-20-2005, 08:54 PM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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As others have said, Comment allez-vous (pronounced, roughly, as [com m<nasal a> tallay voo]) literally means "how are you going", and is an informal French greeting similar to "how's it goin', eh?".

Elision drags the final 't' of comment over against the first vowel of allez, where it is pronounced. It is not pronounced if comment is by itself, or followed by a word that starts with a consonant.

Useful replies include:

Ça va bien.
[sah vah bi-<nasal eh>] lit. "It's going well."
"Things are, in fact, going well."

Ça va.
[sah vah] lit. "It's going."
"Things are not going well--in fact, they're pretty craptacular at the moment--but I don't want to actually come out and say it." This expression is good for when you meet your boss in the lunch lineup.

Tre bien!
[treh bi-<nasal eh>] lit. "Very well!"
"My new girlfriend and I just won the lottery and we're about to blow this popsicle stand!"

Comme ci, comme ça.
[kum see kum sah] lit. "Like this, like that."
"A bunch of good and bad stuff has happened; please enquire further." This expression is good for when you meet your co-worker in the lunch lineup.

Merde! J'ai oublié ou se trouve le mouton, mais j'ai vu Hal Briston dans cette autobus-ci.
[merd zhai oobleeyay oo seh troov le moo-t<nasal o> meh zhay v<nasal u> hal brisstun d<nasal a> set ohtohboos see]
I leave the meaning of this one for the reader. Hint: mouton = sheep.
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  #14  
Old 12-20-2005, 09:16 PM
anyrose anyrose is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspace
<snip>
Merde! J'ai oublié ou se trouve le mouton, mais j'ai vu Hal Briston dans cette autobus-ci.
[merd zhai oobleeyay oo seh troov le moo-t<nasal o> meh zhay v<nasal u> hal brisstun d<nasal a> set ohtohboos see]
I leave the meaning of this one for the reader. Hint: mouton = sheep.
Oh wow I am rusty but
"Dammit, I forgot to bring the friggin' sheep. but I did see Hal Briston on that bus"
Talk about your non sequiturs!
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  #15  
Old 12-20-2005, 09:32 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anyrose
Talk about your non sequiturs!
Hal Briston - Sex with sheep is fun!

Oh, and merde means "shit". Clearly, I'm no French expert, but I know that much!
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  #16  
Old 12-20-2005, 09:38 PM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspace
Tre bien!
[pedant=on]Très[/pedant]
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  #17  
Old 12-20-2005, 09:51 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspace
Comme ci, comme ça.
[kum see kum sah] lit. "Like this, like that."
"A bunch of good and bad stuff has happened; please enquire further."
I would translate this idiomatically as "so-so".
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  #18  
Old 12-20-2005, 09:55 PM
anyrose anyrose is offline
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also there are the responses to Sunspace's comments
"tant pis" (tau' (nasal "n' no final 't') pee) - what a pity
"quel damage" (accent the 2nd syllable of "damage") literally "what damage!" basically "Jeez, that sucks"
(or as my friend in Montreal is fond of saying "Quel fromage")
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  #19  
Old 12-20-2005, 10:02 PM
StephenG StephenG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anyrose
"quel damage" (accent the 2nd syllable of "damage") literally "what damage!" basically "Jeez, that sucks"
(or as my friend in Montreal is fond of saying "Quel fromage")
Actually, that's quelle dommage, or "What a shame!"
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  #20  
Old 12-20-2005, 10:06 PM
cbarnes cbarnes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patty O'Furniture
Je vais à pied, évidemment.
Wonderful Dave Barry reference
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  #21  
Old 12-20-2005, 10:19 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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Zoot allures!
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  #22  
Old 12-20-2005, 10:20 PM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferret Herder
[pedant=on]Très[/pedant]
I knew that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooking with Gas
I would translate this idiomatically as "so-so".
Yes, that's more accurate. I was trying to distinguish it from my use of "ça va".

I'm only at Level 103 at Alliance Française...

going back to French lessons in January
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  #23  
Old 12-20-2005, 10:28 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q.E.D.
It's como talle vu? It just means "how are you?"
No, from my 1962 exploratory French class, I remember that "Como tallé vu?" (the U should have an accent ague, but I'm too lazy to find it) actually means "Did you see Perry sing 'The Banana Boat Song'?"
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  #24  
Old 12-20-2005, 11:03 PM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
That's a literal translation. It actually means "how are you doing? or "how are things going?"
In Australian English, that's precisely what I did say (as Sevastopol has already pointed out).
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  #25  
Old 12-20-2005, 11:16 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp
..."Did you see Perry sing 'The Banana Boat Song'?"
You're a bad, bad man.
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  #26  
Old 12-21-2005, 12:10 AM
clairobscur clairobscur is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Simmons
I've also heard, "Il va?" (It or he goes?) meaning "Is everything OK?" but I'm not sure that was from a native speaker.
It's not completely impossible.


Actually, using the first person singular (like in spanish) to adress someone is normally not done. However, in some very rare instances (like once every 2-3 years) I heard it used nevertheless. IME, it is used :

-By working class people

-Unsure whether they should use "tu" or "vous" or uncomfortable with both.

-Middle-aged or older (50+ yo)


For example, the fist time I heard it, I was holding a temporary job on a line in a factory. A woman who was working besides me used it consistently as long as I stayed there. I didn't really fit in :

-I was there on a temporary job while everybody else has been working there for years or dozens of years (actually it seemed to be an hereditary job, where daughters suceded to mothers by right of birth, or something)

-I was much younger than everybody else apart from one of the second generation workers.

-I was a student working the night shift, as opposed to blue collars, and the only one.

-I was the only male on the line (roughly 20 persons), apart from the supervisor, whose job seemingly consisted in looking important, walking around shouting at people from time to time, and bowing to the managers when they came in. Actually, I was the only male working on a line in the whole company, all lines and all shifts included.


I think that these unusual differences made this coworker uneased about using "tu" , and that at the same time I still was just a coworker doing exactly the same job, and much younger, so "vous" didn't seem correct to her, either. So, she used "il" when adressing me. Though intrigued, I never asked her why.

I always used "vous", since she was much older.
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  #27  
Old 12-21-2005, 03:42 AM
Arnold Winkelried Arnold Winkelried is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspace
Merde! J'ai oublié ou se trouve le mouton, mais j'ai vu Hal Briston dans cette autobus-ci.
cet autobus (autobus est masculin)


Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenG
Actually, that's quelle dommage
quel dommage (dommage est masculin)
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  #28  
Old 12-21-2005, 04:47 AM
Antonius Block Antonius Block is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clairobscur
Actually, using the first person singular (like in spanish) to adress someone is normally not done.
Since this thread has contained many (since corrected) linguistic errors, and nitpicking seems to be the order of the day (this is GQ after all), I'll point out that it's a third person singular construction, not first person.

I'm sure that clairobscur is aware of this, and no disrespect is intended, but since we're talking about pronoun usage in different languages, I'm adding the correction in the spirit of GQ.

In English, the use of the third person in place of the second suggests a dehumanisation of the person being spoken to, as in Buffalo Bill's line from The Silence of the Lambs (when giving direct orders to a captive):
Quote:
It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.
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  #29  
Old 12-21-2005, 09:19 AM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnold Winkelried
cet autobus (autobus est masculin)

quel dommage (dommage est masculin)
Gah! This is worse than Miss Phillip's dictées in grade nine! *twitch*

*ahem*

Er, thanks, Arnold. All these things I'm forgetting. Definitely time to get back to the lessons... I seem to remember sdomeone saying, assume the word is masculine if you're not sure--unless it ends in '-tion'--but did I remember? Noooo....
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  #30  
Old 12-21-2005, 09:23 AM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonius Block
In English, the use of the third person in place of the second suggests a dehumanisation of the person being spoken to, as in Buffalo Bill's line from The Silence of the Lambs (when giving direct orders to a captive):
True, but there is also an older usage of 'it' when referring to children.

I was rather surprised to find this usage in one of the Narnia books when referring to the protagonists, who were as old as ten or twelve! Nowadays, we tend to use this of babies, if at all. Hence the traditional call: "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!". I suspect that nowadays this is the last time 'it' is commonly used of children.
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  #31  
Old 12-21-2005, 09:55 AM
missbunny missbunny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspace
True, but there is also an older usage of 'it' when referring to children.

I was rather surprised to find this usage in one of the Narnia books when referring to the protagonists, who were as old as ten or twelve! Nowadays, we tend to use this of babies, if at all. Hence the traditional call: "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!". I suspect that nowadays this is the last time 'it' is commonly used of children.
I would say that's not the same thing as using the third-person singular to talk to someone, which is what I think clairobscur's experience was. In English "it" is used to refer to grown-ups all the time:

"Did anyone see who fell?" "No, but it's definitely a man. I can see his beard."

I can't recall hearing of anyone in English regularly addressing people as "it" except either for the depersonalization or as some kind of cutesy talk ("Ooh, it has been a very naughty boy!")

Clairobscur, I am having the hardest time picturing this. Do you mean that this woman who couldn't figure out if she should tutoie or vouvoie you would, to your face, call you "il"? As in, "Clairobscur, est-ce qu'il travaille à midi?" (Clairobscur, he is working at noon - when she means, "are you working at noon?")

That is so very weird if she did talk to you like that. Just as weird as it would be in English.
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  #32  
Old 12-21-2005, 12:30 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missbunny
IClairobscur, I am having the hardest time picturing this. Do you mean that this woman who couldn't figure out if she should tutoie or vouvoie you would, to your face, call you "il"? As in, "Clairobscur, est-ce qu'il travaille à midi?" (Clairobscur, he is working at noon - when she means, "are you working at noon?")
Exactly, without the "Clairobscur" at the beginning, though.


Quote:
That is so very weird if she did talk to you like that. Just as weird as it would be in English.
Yes, it was weird, especially since it was the first time I met someone doing so, but not shockingly so, probably because it came naturally from her. However it has not been the last time (but the only one when I was exposed to it for any lenght of time), so I suspect this use is or used to be part of some sub-culture (maybe perhaps a regional one).
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  #33  
Old 12-21-2005, 01:11 PM
missbunny missbunny is offline
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Whoa, that is very odd. I would have been so confused talking to her: "He? Who is "he"? Or are you talking to me?"

Weird! Those wacky French. :-)
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  #34  
Old 12-21-2005, 01:37 PM
Gymnopithys Gymnopithys is offline
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Amusing thread from a francophone point of view.

As to "il va": never heard and certainly never will, as a question or a greeting. Unless you're asked about another person's health: Comment-va-t-il ? Answer: il va bien, or il ne va pas très bien or "ll va..." meaning so and so, but that would be uncommon.
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  #35  
Old 12-21-2005, 02:26 PM
Crandolph Crandolph is offline
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That has to be one of the simplest, most straightforward GQ questions ever and we're up to post 34 and counting...
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  #36  
Old 12-21-2005, 02:27 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Check out David Sedaris's short stories "Make Mine a Double" and "Me Talk Pretty One Day" for some hilarious observations by an American learning to speak French. You won't regret it.
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  #37  
Old 12-21-2005, 02:43 PM
Snickers Snickers is offline
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Wouldn't a more colloquial translation of the Hal Briston line be this?

"I forgot where I put my sheep, but I saw Hal in that bus there," implying that he'd absconded with the ewe.
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  #38  
Old 12-21-2005, 03:19 PM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snickers
Wouldn't a more colloquial translation of the Hal Briston line be this?

"I forgot where I put my sheep, but I saw Hal in that bus there," implying that he'd absconded with the ewe.
Well, I intended, "I forgot where the sheep may be found, but I saw Hal Briston in that bus there." Yes, I know I forgot the accent grave on the u in . In addition to my other mistakes.
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  #39  
Old 12-21-2005, 03:36 PM
anyrose anyrose is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspace
"I forgot where the sheep may be found, but I saw Hal Briston in that bus there."
and again I say it's a non-sequitur (or however that's spelled)
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  #40  
Old 12-21-2005, 06:34 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas
I would just pedantically add that the vous is the polite or formal form. To someone with whom you are more familiar you would say [/i]comment va-tu[/i]?
No. It should be vas-tu.
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  #41  
Old 12-21-2005, 07:51 PM
StephenG StephenG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnold Winkelried
quel dommage (dommage est masculin)
Touché! Thank you, Arnold!
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