Questions from Brickman (A Short Course in Reading French)

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
I expect I'll have more French grammar questions, now that I'm getting toward the end of the textbook I've been using (particularly since it has no answer key :( ), so I decided to start a thread.

Here's a short paragraph (from Michael de Certeau's L'invention du quotidien) assigned for translation. The subject matter and vocabulary is sufficiently abstract that I'm not sure I've understand all the nuances, so feedback on my effort is very welcome.

S’il est vrai que partout s’étend et se précise le quadrillage de la “surveillance”, il est d’autant plus urgent de déceler comment une société entière ne s’y réduit pas ; quelles procédures populaires (elles aussi « minuscules » et quotidiennes) jouent avec les mécanismes de la discipline et ne s’y conforment que pour les tourner ; enfin quelles « manières de faire » forment la contrepartie, du côté des consommateurs (ou des « dominés » ?), des procédés muets qui organisent la mise en ordre sociopolitique.

If it is true that everywhere the surveillance grid is spreading out and being actualized, it is all the more urgent to indicate how an entire society does not reduce to it; which popular [i.e. common, vulgar] procedures (even those which are "minuscule" and everyday) play with [or perhaps even "exploit"?] the mechanisms of discipline and do not conform to them except to overturn [or, "circumvent"?] them; finally, which "ways of doing" form the counterpart [or, "compensation"?] on the part of consumers (or the "subjected/ruled"?) to the silent processes which organize the layout [or, "setup" or "arrangement" or even "composition"? unsure how to translate mise] of the sociopolitical order.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Well, that's no beginners' stuff. Translating it would have been some work even for me.

- "Déceler" is more like "to detect", "to find out", or something like that.

- "Play with" is fine for "jouent avec".

- I'm not familiar with that use of "tourner". Your guesses seem likely enough; I don't know which more than the other.

- "Counterpart" is right for "contrepartie".

- "La mise en ordre" = literally "the putting in order"... I think "setup" or "arrangement" or perhaps "ordering" should do.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
It sounds like Academese.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Oh, one more thing: "elles aussi" = "they, too,..." i.e. "which also are..."
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
It sounds like Academese.
That was my reaction as well. ;)
To be fair, the textbook is specifically designed for graduate students seeking a working knowledge of academic French so that they can read French scholarship in their field (which is basically why I'm using it, though I'm trying to acquire at least some aural comprehension as well by reading all the questions out loud, working on my pronunciation, etc.)
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
To be fair, the textbook is specifically designed for graduate students seeking a working knowledge of academic French so that they can read French scholarship in their field (which is basically why I'm using it, though I'm trying to acquire at least some aural comprehension as well by reading all the questions out loud, working on my pronunciation, etc.)
So it is Academese.
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
J'ai posé mes questions grammaticales dans l'autre thread, aussi, et j'ai mis mes traductions là. Je crois que ce forum perd sa clarté si on ouvre une nouvelle discussion pour chaque question.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Well, I disagree.
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
It gets worse. :crazy:

Ces « manières de faire » constituent les mille pratiques par lesquelles des utilisateurs se réapproprient l’espace organisé par les techniques de la production socioculturelle. Elles posent des questions analogues et contraires à celles que traitait le livre de Foucault : analogues, puisqu’il s’agit de distinguer les opérations quasi microbiennes qui prolifèrent à l’intérieur des structures technocratiques et en détournent le fonctionnement par une multitude de « tactiques » articulées sur les « détails » du quotidien ; contraires, puisqu’il ne s’agit plus de préciser comment la violence de l’ordre se mue en technologie disciplinaire, mais d’exhumer les formes subreptices queprend la créativité dispersée, tactique et bricoleuse des groupes ou des individus pris désormais dans les filets de la « surveillance ». Ces procédures et ruses de consommateurs composent, à la limite, le réseau d’une anti-discipline qui est le sujet de ce livre.

These "ways of doing" constitute the thousand practices through which users reappropriate for themselves the space organised by the techniques of sociocultural production. They pose questions both analogous and contrary to those which Foucault's book deals with: analogous, since it is concerned with distinguishing the almost microbial operations which proliferate inside technocratic structures and in diverting the [i.e. "their"?] functioning [???] through a multitude of "tactics" articulated upon the "details" of the everyday; contrary, since it is no longer concerned with specifying how the violence of the order changes into disciplinary technology, but with exhuming [i.e. uncovering] the surreptitious forms which dispersed, tactical, and makeshift creativity takes from groups and individuals caught from now on in the webs of "surveillance". These procedures and subterfuges of [??? I don't understand why this is de and not des] consumers form, at a pinch, the network of an anti-discipline which is the subject of this book.
 

Terry S.

Quaestor
Staff member
I expect I'll have more French grammar questions, now that I'm getting toward the end of the textbook I've been using (particularly since it has no answer key :( ), so I decided to start a thread.
There is an answer key for translation exercises and for non-copyrighted translation passages available to professors and teachers who have assigned this title in a class. Please provide your name, title, institution, and number of students in the course in an email to coursematerials@columbiauniversitypress.com.
You're a PhD candidate now, so surely it's worth a pop?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
il s’agit de
it is concerned
What is the referent of your "it"? The French "il s'agit" is impersonal (= agitur). If you turn it into a personal construction in English, I guess your subject should be "they" (= the questions).
en détournent le fonctionnement
in diverting the [i.e. "their"?] functioning [???]
"divert (= "détournent"; this is not a participle, which would be "détournant") their (= en) functioning (= the way they work, their workings, or whatnot...)"
bricoleuse
makeshift
"Bricoleuse" has a more active meaning. Not sure how best to translate it, though. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bricoleur
des individus pris désormais dans les filets de la « surveillance »
from groups and individuals caught from now on in the webs of "surveillance".
This is a possessive phrase modifying the "creativity".
[??? I don't understand why this is de and not des]
Because the "consommateurs" here are indefinite, so it's "de" ("of"), not "des = de les ("of the")".
(Thankfully, this is the end.) ;)
Thank God indeed. What a ponderous text.
 
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Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
What is the referent of your "it"? The French "il s'agit" is impersonal (= agitur). If you turn it into a personal construction in English, I guess your subject should be "they" (= the questions).
Oh! My textbook is wrong then (or at least very misleading); they translated "il s'agit de" as "it has to do with/it concerns/it regards". So the "il s'agit" doesn't refer to Foucault's book (as I thought) but rather to the questions that de Certeau is treating here, which totally inverts the meaning of the entire paragrph.

"divert (= "détournent"; this is not a participle, which would be "détournant") their (= en) functioning (= the way they work, their workings, or whatnot...)"
Ahhhhh. That sort of en.

"Bricoleuse" has a more active meaning. Not sure how best to translate it, though. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bricoleur
This one's not my fault -- the textbook supplied "makeshift" as a translation there.

This is a possessive phrase modifying the "creativity".
Because the "consommateurs" here are indefinite, so it's "de" ("of"), not "des = de les ("of the")".
Ok, let's try this again. Modified attempt:

Ces « manières de faire » constituent les mille pratiques par lesquelles des utilisateurs se réapproprient l’espace organisé par les techniques de la production socioculturelle. Elles posent des questions analogues et contraires à celles que traitait le livre de Foucault : analogues, puisqu’il s’agit de distinguer les opérations quasi microbiennes qui prolifèrent à l’intérieur des structures technocratiques et en détournent le fonctionnement par une multitude de « tactiques » articulées sur les « détails » du quotidien ; contraires, puisqu’il ne s’agit plus de préciser comment la violence de l’ordre se mue en technologie disciplinaire, mais d’exhumer les formes subreptices que prend la créativité dispersée, tactique et bricoleuse des groupes ou des individus pris désormais dans les filets de la « surveillance ». Ces procédures et ruses de consommateurs composent, à la limite, le réseau d’une anti-discipline qui est le sujet de ce livre.

These "ways of doing" constitute the thousand practices through which users reappropriate for themselves the space organised by the techniques of sociocultural production. They pose questions both analogous and contrary to those which Foucault's book deals with: analogous, since they deal with [far easier to change it to active than preserve the passive here] distinguishing the almost microbial operations which proliferate inside technocratic structures and divert their functioning through a multitude of "tactics" articulated upon the "details" of the everyday; contrary, since they no longer deal with specifying how the violence of the order changes into disciplinary technology, but with exhuming the surreptitious forms which dispersed, tactical, and makeshift [can't think of a better word here -- maybe ad hoc?] creativity caught from now on in the webs of "surveillance" takes from groups and individuals. These procedures and subterfuges of consumers form, at a pinch, the network of an anti-discipline which is the subject of this book.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Oh! My textbook is wrong then (or at least very misleading); they translated "il s'agit de" as "it has to do with/it concerns/it regards". So the "il s'agit" doesn't refer to Foucault's book (as I thought) but rather to the questions that de Certeau is treating here, which totally inverts the meaning of the entire paragrph.
The translation provided by your textbook will often serve, I suppose; it's just that it doesn't literally correspond to the French and there will be cases, like here, where it doesn't quite work. Here, indeed, "it" could only be taken to refer to the book, I guess, and thus give the wrong meaning.
the surreptitious forms which dispersed, tactical, and makeshift creativity caught from now on in the webs of "surveillance" takes from groups and individuals.
You've still got the same mistake here, and have also introduced a new one. You were right the first time that "pris désormais etc." modifies "des groupes ou des individus". What you were, and still are, getting wrong is the translation of "des groupes ou des individus". This does not mean "from groups and individuals", but "of groups or individuals", and modifies the "créativité": "the dispersed, tactical, and makeshift creativity of groups or individuals".
 
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