“Piscine couverte” – a sign in Normandy last Saturday. But what does it mean? How do we translate it? Word for word, “piscine” means “swimming pool”, and “couvert” means “covered”‘ with the final -e showing that the adjective agrees with the feminine noun “piscine”. “Swimming pool covered”? We can handle three words for two, and switching round the noun and adjective, so “covered swimming pool” is fine. But even this isn’t quite right, as our English doesn’t mean what the French means: a “covered swimming pool” is an outdoor pool with a temporary cover placed over it, whereas a “piscine couverte” means what we call an “indoor swimming pool”.
And it gets more complicated. The concepts underlying “piscine” and “swimming pool” are different anyway, as pools in these countries differ architecturally and in their social function and significance.
And there are the etymological undertones: “piscine” meant a fishpond…
- Abortion Aeneid Aeschylus aesthetics Aidan Andrew Dun Alexander Allingham Antigone Art Blake Bowie Brideshead Christianity Comedy Conrad death drama Eliot English epic ethics Feminism Fleet Forster French Godot Gormenghast Greek Greek history Hartley historiography history Homer Iliad Jesus Larkin literary theory Literature London love Modernism Montaigne Music myth Mythology Oedipus Philip Gross Philosophy Plato poetry politics post-modernism Protagoras psychogeography Quakers Religion Romance Roman history Sayers Sex Socrates Sophocles Theology Theseus The Wind in the Willows thriller Tragedy Travel Troy Truman Show Virgil War Wilde Wimsey World War II