The Partisan - the original lyrics and English translation?

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GHal
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The Partisan - the original lyrics and English translation?

Post by GHal » Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:35 am

In the recording Mr. Cohen sings "Un vieil homme dans un grenier Pour la nuit nous a cache" whereas one English translation shown is "An old woman gave us shelter,Kept us hidden in the garret.." Any idea why?
Eskimo
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by Eskimo » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:05 am

GHal wrote:In the recording Mr. Cohen sings "Un vieil homme dans un grenier Pour la nuit nous a cache" whereas one English translation shown is "An old woman gave us shelter,Kept us hidden in the garret.." Any idea why?
The lyrics to the French song (by Anna Marly) and the English adaptation by Hy Zaret differ - one might say Zaret was faithful give or take a line or two. The difference between the final verses seems more significant in terms of meaning (why Leonard chose to include only the English version of that section on the 1969 recording, I'll leave to others):

Marly:
le vent souffle sur les tombes
la Liberte reviendra
on nous oubliera
nous rentrons dans l’ombre

Translation (by a once passable high school French student):
The wind is blowing on the graves
Freedom will return
we will be forgotten
we will return to the shadows

Zaret:
Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we'll come from the shadows

Here's Anna Marly singing her song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTMe6-6VSuQ

and an all-time favorite by Hy Zaret with music by Alex North, a hit produced by one of Leonard's producers ("I was flipped out at the time, and he certainly was flipped out")....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-idDbIfGvw
...."the execution on the album was all wrong, though. I think Bill Medley should have sung (the songs)"......
Last edited by Eskimo on Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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hydriot
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by hydriot » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:26 pm

A good thread!

The correct words to the Partisan are printed in the Song Index of this site. I say this because I have seen the most ridiculous subtitles to this song on many You Tube videos etc. A lot of the problem stems from the incorrect words published with the CD.

The classic error is with the lines:

"ils me dirent, resigne-toi, [they said to me 'Surrender']
mais je n'ai pas pu; [but I could not do]"

I have seen this rendered as: "Il m'a dit 'Signe toi''" [He has told me 'Sign yourself'] and then:
"Mais je n'ai pas peur" ["But I wasn't frightened"]

Much as I love the man, I have to say that things are not helped by Leonard's appalling French accent. He does appear to sing 'peur' instead of 'pu' ('pu' being the past participle of 'pouvoir', can or be able). The French pronounce the former with open mouth, the latter with a pout, as we would say 'poo'.

I noticed his worse-than-schoolboy accent in a recording of the Monkton concert where he introduces some songs by translating the opening words into French. That has made me wonder if perhaps what I am picking up is a genuine linguistic difference between French-Canadian speech and 'real' French, just as there is between South American Spanish and 'real' Spanish.

And it is interesting the way that in the original French, the partisans fade back into the shadows and anonymity (their job done) as peace arrives. I wonder why such a total reversal was made in the English version.
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
MaryB
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by MaryB » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:31 pm

hydriot wrote: I noticed his worse-than-schoolboy accent in a recording of the Monkton concert where he introduces some songs by translating the opening words into French. That has made me wonder if perhaps what I am picking up is a genuine linguistic difference between French-Canadian speech and 'real' French, just as there is between South American Spanish and 'real' Spanish.
Hydriot,
Had a French teacher in high school decades ago. She said exactly what you are saying - there is a BIG difference between French-Canadian and 'real' French. Perhaps this is causing the consternation :? .
Best regards,
Mary
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News Gal
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by News Gal » Sun Mar 08, 2009 7:52 pm

Yes, he sounds Quebecois. That's the French I learned when I was a kid. If you want, I can do a translation from the Canadian French.
ᎤᏩᎬᏗᏒ ᏥᎪᏩᏘᎲ, ᎯᎩᎾᎵᎢ, ᎠᏓᎯᏍᏗ ᎨᏐ. Uwagvdisv tsigowatihv, higinali'i , adahisdi geso (I've seen the future brother, it is murder.)
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hydriot
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by hydriot » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:33 am

One of the most startling regional differences I once encountered was the use of the made-up word 'huitante' instead of 'quatre-vingts'.
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by News Gal » Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:43 am

I had some trouble learning not to use "huitante," Hydriot LOL. My high school French teacher was raised in Brussels, but I learned Canadian French when I was a little kid. It stuck even to this day
ᎤᏩᎬᏗᏒ ᏥᎪᏩᏘᎲ, ᎯᎩᎾᎵᎢ, ᎠᏓᎯᏍᏗ ᎨᏐ. Uwagvdisv tsigowatihv, higinali'i , adahisdi geso (I've seen the future brother, it is murder.)
imaginary friend
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by imaginary friend » Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:40 am

News Gal,

For someone who recently joined, and came to Leonard lately, you've already contributed some really interesting posts (and tips!) to the Forum – way to go!
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by News Gal » Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:49 am

imaginary friend wrote:News Gal,

For someone who recently joined, and came to Leonard lately, you've already contributed some really interesting posts (and tips!) to the Forum – way to go!

Thanks for the encouraging words. I wasn't sure if I was on too much or what, but thanks again! A nice forum, and a good way to unwind after a 4am news shift at the station.
ᎤᏩᎬᏗᏒ ᏥᎪᏩᏘᎲ, ᎯᎩᎾᎵᎢ, ᎠᏓᎯᏍᏗ ᎨᏐ. Uwagvdisv tsigowatihv, higinali'i , adahisdi geso (I've seen the future brother, it is murder.)
Cate
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by Cate » Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:08 am

Hey, that's not very nice!
I noticed his worse-than-schoolboy accent in a recording of the Monkton concert where he introduces some songs by translating the opening words into French. That has made me wonder if perhaps what I am picking up is a genuine linguistic difference between French-Canadian speech and 'real' French, just as there is between South American Spanish and 'real' Spanish.
Real French! <eyes squinting>

Quebec french IS real french, perhaps you meant original french or European French... maybe even Parisian French?

I think the Quebecois accent is very sexy. (Mind you I also have a thing for an English accent, so my taste is questionable.)

~~~~~~~

Hi News Gal - Welcome to the forum.
Last edited by Cate on Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
ladydi
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by ladydi » Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:23 am

News Gal wrote:
imaginary friend wrote:News Gal,

For someone who recently joined, and came to Leonard lately, you've already contributed some really interesting posts (and tips!) to the Forum – way to go!

Thanks for the encouraging words. I wasn't sure if I was on too much or what, but thanks again! A nice forum, and a good way to unwind after a 4am news shift at the station.

Hi NewsGal,

I just wanted to offer my welcome also. I've been so impressed with your posts and it is wonderful to have you part of the Forum. You seem to have a deep soul. Hopefully we can meet with you sometime in the near future. Would be interesting to share thoughts.....but, make sure you stick around here....you are absolutely a plus!

All the best,
Diana

ps..I sort of understand your hours although mine aren't quite as bad but I'm up for work at 330am 5 days a week...

pps..just realized this post has nothing to do with "The Partisan"...sorry....however, living in Ontario until I was 25 and visiting Quebec many times I fell in love with the French Canadian pronounciations! Did I salvage it...? ;-)
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hydriot
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by hydriot » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:46 pm

Cate wrote:Hey, that's not very nice! Quebec french IS real french, perhaps you meant original french or European French... maybe even Parisian French?
I think it is reasonable to call the language spoken in the country that invented it 'real' and every other dialect just a bastardisation, don't you? It makes me wince to hear a beautiful language like French massacred.
Cate wrote:I think the Quebecois accent is very sexy. (Mind you I also have a thing for an English accent, so my taste is questionable.)
There is no such thing as an English accent. In England, we speak the real thing ... everybody else has the accent (Scottish, Welsh, Irish, American, Canadian, South African, Australian, etc...) :lol:
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
Cate
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by Cate » Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:35 pm

bastardisation
Tabarnak!
C'est grossier, restez poli, svp. ( I actually looked up polite :roll: - please don't tell the other Canadians, I don't want them to feel bad about their tax dollars)
It makes me wince to hear a beautiful language like French massacred.
I will admit that there is a certain quality to Parisian French. It is lovely. But at the same time the accent seems tight to me - like they are literally trying to spit something out. Also it seems a bit on the delicate side. If it were a flower I think it would be an orchid.
Now Quebecois french would be a field of wild flowers. It's colourful, interesting and hardy. To me it seems more rustic and laid back, full of nice low and warm sounds.
Some people find beauty in standing and staring at an orchid and others find beauty while rolling through a field of wildflowers ... I guess it's just a matter of taste.
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by News Gal » Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:34 am

No mode of speech is a bastardization of anything. Generally, the terms "Parisian French" and "Canadian French" are used to show their status among speakers. Both are mutually intelligible, and both are valid languages.
As for Sicilian and Italian, they're NOT mutually intelligible. One has more Greek and Arabic words, a different word order and no future tense (no lie.) In that case, they're totally different languages. Most people say Sicilian is just a "dialect" of Italian, but as a speaker of both, I can say that's not even remotely close.

But it's never, ever acceptable to me to call anything a bastardization. Languages evolve for a reason--whether its speakers came to a different continent (like Canadian French) or were conquered and overrun numerous times and parts of the culture were absorbed (like Sicilian.) Language change is not automatically evil.


As for the accent argument, "accents" are purely psychological. The people who allegedly have them never hear them, and those who hear them never have them ;)
ᎤᏩᎬᏗᏒ ᏥᎪᏩᏘᎲ, ᎯᎩᎾᎵᎢ, ᎠᏓᎯᏍᏗ ᎨᏐ. Uwagvdisv tsigowatihv, higinali'i , adahisdi geso (I've seen the future brother, it is murder.)
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hydriot
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Re: "Partisan" translation

Post by hydriot » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:58 pm

Okay, I confess that my love of metropolitan French and dislike of colonial French can be blamed on this lady. I think most males will agree that metropolitan French is the sexiest of all languages when spoken or sung by a beautiful woman.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOd_5ZRPmFs
Last edited by hydriot on Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
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