1. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Fenchxlamation

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Jack Asher, Sep 19, 2014.

    If you were to shout something in French, say "oh shit," what would that "oh" get turned into?

    I know in spanish it would by ay, or uf or something similar. Unfortunately I know little of french that isn't directly translatable into latin. I feel certain the have another casual exclamation. Google translate is predictably of no help whatsoever.

    Any help here?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The closest thing I know would be "ah." From my limited experience, French speakers don't seem to use words like "oh" or anything equivalent when using exclamations. So "oh shit" would just be "shit" ("merde").
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It would really depends on context and would probably be omitted altogether as simply not part of the analogous explicative in French. You mention the Spanish equivalent ay, and that is the correct equivalent, but its use is not always one-to-one. For example, were I to suddenly remember something important that needed doing and I've not done it, I would not say ay, mierda to myself. I would just say mierda. When I see or hear something audacious, I don't ay, diablo! I just say diablo!
     
  4. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I haven't read that much literature in French that I could say for sure if it's at all common, but as I flipped through some of the graphic novels I own, I found one instance (originally an American novel) where a guy goes:

    Oh, mon Dieu. Oh, mon Dieu, non!

    With merde, didn't find anything. Just merde ! Once, et merde. Or, meeeerde ! Bon sang !
     
  5. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    This is a problem, because I'm trying to translate the term "oh shit handle" into a many languages as possible. I had put it in quotes, but I got tired of that and decided to put it in italics. Then someone politely pointed out that terms from another language was the one italics few appropriate uses.

    So I'm translating the term into a different language every time it's used. This joke falls flat if the "oh" is the translation doesn't translate as well so if I could get exclamations in several of the more popular languages would help me as well.
     
  6. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, I believe italics is the way to go there.

    We don't say 'oh' in Finnish either, so seems pretty possible it's absent in other languages, too. We say voi which means nothing, really, or it just means pretty much the same as oh. So 'oh shit' would be voi paska. Not that it's a popular language, but just an example of oh's absence there.
     
  7. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    No, that voi is exactly what I'm looking for.
     
  8. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    The problem I find with the word 'Oh', is that it's not actually a word, it's more of a sound that people make to respond to something when they don't know the right words to say. The way you say 'Oh' in any given situation almost speaks for you.

    Like, lets see if I can explain. A friend tells you that another friend has been talking behind your back, your reaction of "oh" is one of a question, that question being, "oh really? what was said?"

    You see fireworks for the first time on tower bridge, London, and you give a long drawn out "Oh" which means "that is so beautiful ..."

    A friend is telling you something in confidence and is not wanting to be overheard, you finally get the understanding and answer with a solid "Oh" which really means "I understand what you are trying to tell me."

    and many more besides so I can see why it would be hard to translate.

    It's all about emphasis, sometimes how we speak rather than the words we say which makes it sometimes more difficult for us writers to get across what we really mean.

    Consider the following sentence:

    I didn't say she stole that purse.

    Seven words. Say the sentence seven times and each time, emphasise a different word. The result? Seven different sentences with seven different meanings.
     

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