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la guerre primitive fait signe

English translation: Primative warfare is, due to its universality, indicative not of nature, but of culture.

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:La guerre primitive fait signe, par son universalité, non pas vers la nature, mais vers la culture
English translation:Primative warfare is, due to its universality, indicative not of nature, but of culture.
Entered by: Christopher Crockett
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16:05 Dec 29, 2002
French to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Archaeology / archaeology
French term or phrase: la guerre primitive fait signe
La guerre primitive fait signe, par son universalité, non pas vers la nature, mais vers la culture.
MSH
Local time: 05:59
Primative warfare is, due to its universality, indicative not of nature, but of culture.
Explanation:
I think the major problem we are having here is, as William pointed out, that the sentence, as written, just doesn't make any sense, logically.

However, it does make sense, linguistically.

Therefore, I would say that the translator's job here is not to try and figure out what the hell the guy *means* or *meant to say* (unless that is not clear linguistically), but just to translate what the sentence he wrote actually *says,* in plain English.

Let the reader (French or English) make a judgement about the quality and clarity of the author's thought (or lack thereof) by what it is that the guy actually *wrote,* not what the translator thinks he *should* have written.

Jane's construction --"is indicative of"-- seems to me to be a good one; though "is a sign of" works almost as well and is closer to the literal French. (Although "is a sign of...nature" doesn't quite work, in English.)

Unless the construction "fait signe...vers" has a special sense which I'm not aware of (which is perfectly possible, though that still wouldn't help the inherently paradoxical logical sense of the sentence, hélas).

I find this sentance rather typical of much French scholarly writing : il marche *en principe.*

Sounds good, but don't think about it too hard or you're likely to get a mal a` te^te.

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Note added at 2002-12-29 21:07:20 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Ngmc\'s suggestion (below) as to broadening the meaning of the \"faire signe vers\" construction should be persued by him/her or anyone else with a command of French phrasiology more complete than mine (easy enough to do).

Certainly a quick glance at Robert, etc., seems to indicate that such a meaning is not impossible.

However, William\'s objection still holds, it seems to me : if \"universal,\" isn\'t \"primative warfare\" [what *is* that, btw??] more a question of \"nature\" than of \"culture\"?

Francis & Nikki\'s pleas for more context are --as all pleas for more context-- certainly relevant here.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-12-30 17:59:21 (GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

Contradicting my original statement, I\'m not at all sure that Ngmc\'s attempt to make more sense out of the author\'s \"thought\" via a closer, more idiomatic reading of the French isn\'t a reasonable line of persuit.

Seems to me that getting to the gist of the meaning of this one sentence requires a reading of it within the much larger context of the fellow\'s oeuvre --both to see where he\'s comming from \"ideologically\" and to get a better feel for the way he uses his language to express his theses.

For that reason, I wish that the answer hadn\'t been chosen quite yet.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-12-30 18:00:15 (GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

But, thanks anyway, MSH.
Selected response from:

Christopher Crockett
Local time: 00:59
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +5By reason of its universality,
William Stein
5 +4Primitive warfare points toward culture not nature due to its universalityJane Lamb-Ruiz
4 +3Primative warfare is, due to its universality, indicative not of nature, but of culture.
Christopher Crockett
4 +1The universality of primitive warfare is rather more indicative of culture than nature.
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
4The primitive warfare, by its universality, directs toward clashes of culture, not of nature.Lenoip
4Its universality marks primitive war as a result of culture
irat56
3 +1Faire signe vers...Noel Castelino
4primitive warfare signifies the seeds of culture not those of nature
cjohnstone


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


38 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
primitive warfare signifies the seeds of culture not those of nature


Explanation:
the way I see it

cjohnstone
France
Local time: 06:59
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench, Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Mark Nathan: Don't you usually sow seeds? Not that "sow" would particularly work either.
40 mins

neutral  Christopher Crockett: Cluttering up an already muddled thought (assuming that what we're dealing with here is a coherent thought) is not productive.
2 hrs
  -> sorry to be so unproductive, I tried my best, but when you are no good your best is not much
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +5
By reason of its universality,


Explanation:
primitive warfare is evocative of culture, not of nature.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-12-29 17:20:14 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

This is a paradoxical line of reasoning: if primitive warfare is universal, i.e. found everywhere, then you\'d think it could be explained as part of human nature rather than culturally specific.

William Stein
Costa Rica
Local time: 22:59
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 20

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Simon Charass
1 min
  -> Thanks.

agree  NancyLynn
32 mins

agree  Christopher Crockett: I agree with your seeing this as a paradox. Like many French sentences, this one makes perfect sense until you try and figure out what the hell it actually is trying to say. Il marche "en principe."
2 hrs

agree  Peter Coles: A good analysis.
5 hrs

agree  irat56: Yes, but "by reason of" is slightly...heavy, no?
15 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +4
Primitive warfare points toward culture not nature due to its universality


Explanation:
faire signe=to point or indicate

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-12-29 17:21:30 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

OR
Primitive warfare is indicative of culture not nature due to its universality.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-12-29 17:22:34 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

FINAL: faire signe: is indicative of

I think it\'s a good idea to keep the index-type reference, faire signe as in a sign, ie semiotics

Jane Lamb-Ruiz
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in PortuguesePortuguese
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Mark Nathan
5 mins

agree  NancyLynn
28 mins

agree  Pascale Dahan: I think it would make it clearer to point out that it is due to it's universality. i.e. 'Primitive warfare, due to it's universality, points to culture and not nature'. A bit clearer, no?:)
1 hr

agree  Nikki Scott-Despaigne: I like the use of "point toward" as being the best rendering of "faire signe vers". I feel the whole might read better if the universality bit started the ball rolling on this rendering.
15 hrs
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
The universality of primitive warfare is rather more indicative of culture than nature.


Explanation:
Although I agree with Francis that to get into the spirit of the text, a bigger chunk of it might help inspire.

Nikki Scott-Despaigne
Local time: 06:59
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 31

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Christopher Crockett: This *may* be what the guy meant to say, but "universality" is not the subject of the sentence, as we have it --"warfare" is. Even though it doesn't make sense that way, as William points out. Garbage In, Garbage Out : translate the thing as written.
1 hr
  -> There is a bit of poetic licence in my version. It's intentional. Fitting in the "par son universalité" to any English rendering requires a fair bit of contortion otherwise. A degree of compromise, but not a perversion of meaning, I hope!

agree  Yolanda Broad: Nothing wrong witn an active construction of the *deep semantic meaning* of the sentence: parenthetical inclusion of an agent may be attractive in French, but it's heavy in English. ;-)
7 days
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
Primative warfare is, due to its universality, indicative not of nature, but of culture.


Explanation:
I think the major problem we are having here is, as William pointed out, that the sentence, as written, just doesn't make any sense, logically.

However, it does make sense, linguistically.

Therefore, I would say that the translator's job here is not to try and figure out what the hell the guy *means* or *meant to say* (unless that is not clear linguistically), but just to translate what the sentence he wrote actually *says,* in plain English.

Let the reader (French or English) make a judgement about the quality and clarity of the author's thought (or lack thereof) by what it is that the guy actually *wrote,* not what the translator thinks he *should* have written.

Jane's construction --"is indicative of"-- seems to me to be a good one; though "is a sign of" works almost as well and is closer to the literal French. (Although "is a sign of...nature" doesn't quite work, in English.)

Unless the construction "fait signe...vers" has a special sense which I'm not aware of (which is perfectly possible, though that still wouldn't help the inherently paradoxical logical sense of the sentence, hélas).

I find this sentance rather typical of much French scholarly writing : il marche *en principe.*

Sounds good, but don't think about it too hard or you're likely to get a mal a` te^te.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-12-29 21:07:20 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Ngmc\'s suggestion (below) as to broadening the meaning of the \"faire signe vers\" construction should be persued by him/her or anyone else with a command of French phrasiology more complete than mine (easy enough to do).

Certainly a quick glance at Robert, etc., seems to indicate that such a meaning is not impossible.

However, William\'s objection still holds, it seems to me : if \"universal,\" isn\'t \"primative warfare\" [what *is* that, btw??] more a question of \"nature\" than of \"culture\"?

Francis & Nikki\'s pleas for more context are --as all pleas for more context-- certainly relevant here.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-12-30 17:59:21 (GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

Contradicting my original statement, I\'m not at all sure that Ngmc\'s attempt to make more sense out of the author\'s \"thought\" via a closer, more idiomatic reading of the French isn\'t a reasonable line of persuit.

Seems to me that getting to the gist of the meaning of this one sentence requires a reading of it within the much larger context of the fellow\'s oeuvre --both to see where he\'s comming from \"ideologically\" and to get a better feel for the way he uses his language to express his theses.

For that reason, I wish that the answer hadn\'t been chosen quite yet.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-12-30 18:00:15 (GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

But, thanks anyway, MSH.

Christopher Crockett
Local time: 00:59
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 123

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Sarah Walls
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Sarah.

agree  Noel Castelino: And what if "faire signe vers (à??)" meant something like "to nod at" (or even "interpeller") ? In other words: As a universal phenomenon, PW engages/challenges/entails a dialogue with/etc... culture, not nature. Just a thought.
1 hr
  -> And a pretty good one, which you should persue in your own answer.

agree  Peter Coles: The translation that seems to me to most elegantly capture this rather odd musing.
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Peter. I'm still not sure whether or not Ngmc isn't on to something which might remove some of the oddity from the curious musing, however.
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5 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Faire signe vers...


Explanation:
In every example I can find, "faire signe vers" means what the contributors here are saying: "to indicate" or "to point to".

Could it be that author actually wanted to say "faire signe à" ? That was what I meant in my message to Christopher. But perhaps I was clutching at a straw. :-))

We do need more context.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-12-29 21:46:19 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

But if \"faire signe vers\" can be understood as \"interpeller\", then everything falls into place more or less:
\"The fact that primitive warfare is universal (i.e. that there are no exceptions), raises questions about culture and its role and effectiveness. It does not raise questions about nature which, as we all know, is \'red in tooth and claw\'.\"

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-12-29 22:02:22 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Would I be exaggerating if I said that the crux of the sentence lay in the preposition \"vers\" ?

Noel Castelino
Local time: 06:59
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Christopher Crockett: I think that you may be on to something here, Ngmc. But the the only way to get to the bottom of it is to read a large section of this guy's text, see what the hell he's up to, in general.
20 hrs
  -> If MSH can't give us any more context, then we have to assume that your answer is the most logical one.
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17 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Its universality marks primitive war as a result of culture


Explanation:
rather than of nature

irat56
France
Local time: 06:59
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 4
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18 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
The primitive warfare, by its universality, directs toward clashes of culture, not of nature.


Explanation:
I am curious if the author is ..French. A French native would not use "non" before "pas vers la nature". In appropriate French, the phrase would sound more like:
"La guerre primitive,par son universalité, fait signe pas vers la nature, mais vers la culture".

In the actual form, the phrase is "heavy".

Lenoip
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Changes made by editors
Mar 24, 2011 - Changes made by Stéphanie Soudais:
Term askedsentence » la guerre primitive fait signe


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