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dénoncent de fait l’aveu que pouvait trahir

English translation: denoncer

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18:32 Sep 3, 2006
French to English translations [PRO]
Marketing - General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters / Fashion
French term or phrase: dénoncent de fait l’aveu que pouvait trahir
Hello!
Could someone help me to understand the second part of the sentence I give below:

Les dessous se camouflent, s’exhibent, s’allongent et se raccourcissent, instaurant un jeu entre l’interdit d’alors et la mode d’aujourd’hui, et ***dénoncent de fait l’aveu que pouvait trahir, autrefois, un simple vêtement.***

This is a text about the evolution of men's underwear.

Thanks a lot in advance!
Sophia Hundt
Local time: 18:04
English translation:denoncer
Explanation:
I think the heart of the problem (apart from the extreme economy of French academic prose) is whether 'denoncer' here is meant in its neutral sense, ie to reveal/expose without any sense of 'accusation', or whether indeed it has the more immediate and negative sense of English 'denounce'.
The idea that is either being illustrated or repudiated by the particular 'semiotics' of underwear is the ability of a 'simple piece of clothing' to have a straightforward meaning, ie to be a simple, direct and involuntary ("trahi") confession, in the way that a "blue collar shirt" was once a direct and involuntary sign of being working class - and indeed this straightforward sign-function of clothing is located in the past - "autrefois".
On the one hand, the conceal/reveal 'play' described in the first part of the sentence points towards the negative sense - that underwear is a counterexample - 'repudiates' - a straightforward fashion semiotic. On the other hand the first part of the sentence could be read as describing the "eloquence" of the undergarment as a semiotic sign rather than its cryptic nature, which would tend towards the neutral sense, "illustrates". The rest of the context perhaps would help decide.

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Note added at 1 hr (2006-09-03 20:32:03 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

This posted before reading Bourth's comment, which is probably clearer and favours the negative sense...
Selected response from:

Melissa McMahon
Australia
Local time: 09:04
Grading comment
Thank you!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +2It meansxxxBourth
4 +1denoncer
Melissa McMahon


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
Help with the sentence
It means


Explanation:
that since men's underwear (these days) covers the whole range of styles (in addition to whatever else it covers), there is no longer any question of "labelling" a man in accordance with the type of underwear he wears.

In days gone by, a young athletic man wore briefs (except in America, maybe, where practically all TV I have seen shows men of all ages, shapes and sizes wearing 'shorts' (caleçon) ) and the older, fuller man wore boxer shorts. Not to mention colours, stripes, motifs, kangaroo pouches, etc.

dénoncent de fait l’aveu que pouvait trahir, autrefois, un simple vêtement
literally (more or less)
denounce, in practice, the admission (of one's sexuality/sexiness, self esteem, self image, etc.) that could once be betrayed (= revealed) by a simple piece of clothing.

Pretty much the same can be said of tatoos, earrings, and pink shirts these days.

xxxBourth
Local time: 01:04
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 204

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Marian Greenfield: btw, it was also common here for young men to wear jockeys, but preppies wore boxers and they caught on with the young uns, I think about 15 years ago, when my nephew was 16 and we started buying him silk ones.. tv thing I think is due to U.S. prudishness
14 mins
  -> I suspected US prudishness

agree  Sara Noss: Couldn't have put it better!
15 mins
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Help with the sentence
denoncer


Explanation:
I think the heart of the problem (apart from the extreme economy of French academic prose) is whether 'denoncer' here is meant in its neutral sense, ie to reveal/expose without any sense of 'accusation', or whether indeed it has the more immediate and negative sense of English 'denounce'.
The idea that is either being illustrated or repudiated by the particular 'semiotics' of underwear is the ability of a 'simple piece of clothing' to have a straightforward meaning, ie to be a simple, direct and involuntary ("trahi") confession, in the way that a "blue collar shirt" was once a direct and involuntary sign of being working class - and indeed this straightforward sign-function of clothing is located in the past - "autrefois".
On the one hand, the conceal/reveal 'play' described in the first part of the sentence points towards the negative sense - that underwear is a counterexample - 'repudiates' - a straightforward fashion semiotic. On the other hand the first part of the sentence could be read as describing the "eloquence" of the undergarment as a semiotic sign rather than its cryptic nature, which would tend towards the neutral sense, "illustrates". The rest of the context perhaps would help decide.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2006-09-03 20:32:03 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

This posted before reading Bourth's comment, which is probably clearer and favours the negative sense...

Example sentence(s):
  • "...illustrates as a result the way a simple piece of clothing could once upon a time represent a confession."
  • "... repudiates as a result the way a simple piece of clothing could once upon a time represent a confession
Melissa McMahon
Australia
Local time: 09:04
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 44
Grading comment
Thank you!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  xxxBourth: I feel you'd put it in better English than me; I contented myself with explaining the French (which IMO could do with being rewritten, unless intended to be academic reading)
52 mins
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Changes made by editors
Jun 2, 2011 - Changes made by Stéphanie Soudais:
Term askedHelp with the sentence » dénoncent de fait l’aveu que pouvait trahir
FieldArt/Literary » Marketing
Field (specific)Art, Arts & Crafts, Painting » General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters


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