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couettes (hair)

English translation: bunches (BR); pigtails (US)

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:couettes (hair)
English translation:bunches (BR); pigtails (US)
Entered by: Karen Tucker
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16:57 May 17, 2002
French to English translations [PRO]
French term or phrase: couettes (hair)
"A cote d'elle, une jolie petite fille de 5 ans porte une robe de couleur et des couettes." This takes place in an African country. Are these pigtails? The dictionary says "bunches," but I've never heard that word before and am wondering if it's the British word for pigtails. My Oxford dictionary does not define this use of "bunch."
Thanks, Karen
Karen Tucker
United States
Local time: 13:30
bunches
Explanation:
I had these when I was little - I grew up in Scotland. In fact, I don't think we used the word pigtails very much - I called them ponytails or bunches - i.e. one on each side of your head. If they were plaited, they were called plaits.

HTH

Sheila

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Note added at 2002-05-17 17:05:29 (GMT)
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References: photos of me when I was 5 years old with my hair in bunches - not a pretty sight!
Selected response from:

Sheila Hardie
Spain
Local time: 19:30
Grading comment
Thanks so much to everyone for their explanations. I'm supposed to use "international English," so I'll present both options to the client. In the U.S., at least where I live, a ponytail is one bunch of hair, pigtails are more than one (usually two), and two bunches of braided hair are simply called braids. Karen
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +7pigtailsJane Lamb-Ruiz
5 +5bunches
Sheila Hardie
5 +3pigtails OR ponytails
Victoria Barkoff
5Bunches, but...
5Q


  

Answers


7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +5
bunches


Explanation:
I had these when I was little - I grew up in Scotland. In fact, I don't think we used the word pigtails very much - I called them ponytails or bunches - i.e. one on each side of your head. If they were plaited, they were called plaits.

HTH

Sheila

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-05-17 17:05:29 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

References: photos of me when I was 5 years old with my hair in bunches - not a pretty sight!

Sheila Hardie
Spain
Local time: 19:30
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 679
Grading comment
Thanks so much to everyone for their explanations. I'm supposed to use "international English," so I'll present both options to the client. In the U.S., at least where I live, a ponytail is one bunch of hair, pigtails are more than one (usually two), and two bunches of braided hair are simply called braids. Karen

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Fernando Muela
3 mins
  -> gracias, Fernando:)

agree  Sam D: Yes, that's the term used in the rest of the UK too
6 mins
  -> thanks, Sam:)

agree  irat56: Agree! "Pigtails" are rather "nattes"then "couettes"
8 mins
  -> thanks, I'd say bunches or ponytails though, it just depends where you are from:)

agree  nmack: In the US it would be "pigtails"--never heard of bunches. I live in Martinique and according to the 2 little girls who regularly me coiffent, nattes are when you twist the hair to make little ringlets (can be all over head or just a couple).
21 mins
  -> thanks:)

agree  Sarah Downing: Bunches is a standard term in the UK - I always knew them as being unplaited and on both sides of the head - like 2 ponytails.
4 hrs
  -> thanks, Sarah, I expressed myself badly, I meant if your hair was divided into one, two (or more) sections and plaited , they'd be called plaits - I meant bunches are just another word for ponytails or pigtails.)
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10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +7
pigtails


Explanation:
That's what I used when a child. Braided or unbraided....

Jane Lamb-Ruiz
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in PortuguesePortuguese
PRO pts in pair: 8576

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nicole Dargere: Precisely!
2 mins

agree  Pascale Dahan: Yup!
18 mins

agree  nmack: i guess i should have put my agree beside you, for pigtails...
19 mins

agree  GILOU
40 mins

agree  RHELLER: yes, when unbraided, otherwise "braids" (US)
49 mins

agree  xyz abc
3 hrs

agree  ydmills
3 hrs
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10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Bunches, but...


Explanation:
The word bunches is indeed used in English to describe 'pigtails'. I think people want to avoid the negative connotations of PIGtails. Anyway, its what my sisters would say. I could even refer to several (i.e. more than two pigtails).

Given that the context is Africa, I would assume the girl in question was African and has tight curly hair. This wouldn't necesarily be easy to put into bunches, as would straight caucasian hair. It actually makes me think of a common haristyle amongst girls in the African community in Paris, which involves making many smaller bunches equally across the scalp. Unfortunately, I don't know the specific name to give to this style.

I would use bunches, its perhaps the most general term and is not out of character for a five year old girl.

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Note added at 2002-05-17 17:12:31 (GMT)
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Braids would be another good term, a common style in African (American) culture and the girl\'s hair may be being primed to grow along these lines. I think the notion of \'couette\', duvet in French, implies a regular \'cushion\' effect (i.e. more than one or two symmetrical tails).

5Q
Local time: 19:30
PRO pts in pair: 71

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  jerrie: In UK we say pigtails, ponytails and bunches, but mainly the last 2...ponytail being one, bunches being more than one. Use bunches to cover many little bunches of hair all over the head in case this is the style being referred to.
1 hr

disagree  ydmills: pigtails are usually plaited.....
3 hrs
  -> No, for me, the difference between pigtails, bunches and ponytails is number. If they are plaited, they are plaits, as SJH explains above.
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39 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3
pigtails OR ponytails


Explanation:
In Canada, pigtails are always braided, while ponytails are just "bunches" of hair held with an elastic. We do not call either of these "bunches".

Obviously, the uasge varies from country to country, so the correct translation depens on your audience.

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Note added at 2002-05-17 17:37:06 (GMT)
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Oops... I meant \"depends\".

Victoria Barkoff
Local time: 13:30
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 119

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Linda Young
14 mins

agree  Nikki Scott-Despaigne
1 hr

agree  nmack: In the US you can have just 1 ponytail
3 hrs
  -> Yes, In canada , too. I was referring to this specific case.
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