F>E Louisiana Creole Slave Songs
Thread poster: BonTemps
BonTemps
French to English
May 30, 2007

A musicologist friend of mine asked me for help with the French in this book of US slave songs. The transcriptions are not great, but I could figure most of it out just from the way it sounds. A couple of lines totally escape me though. Does anyone have a clue about these?

C’est li mo oulé, c’est li ma pren

Li pas mandé soulier prinelle

For the full texts, you can go to this web page:

http://reactor-core.org/slave-songs.html

The French songs are near the very end. They're pretty interesting, especially "MUSIEU BAINJO", of which the author writes that the slaves are speaking "evidently a rude corruption of French". Sounds like they speak it better than he does!

In any case, any help with the above will be much appreciated.

Thanks!
Mason


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:33
English to Dutch
+ ...
What words exactly? May 31, 2007

Nice link, very interesting!

What words exactly do you not understand?

I guess this is the song they come from:

Aurore Bradaire, belle ti fille,
Aurore Bradaire, belle ti fille,
Aurore Bradaire, belle ti fille,
C'est li mo oulé, c'est li ma pren.
Li pas mandé robe mousseline,
Li pas mandé déba brodé,
Li pas mandé soulier prinelle,
C'est li mo oulé, c'est li ma pren.

Now, French is not one of my working languages, but I'll give it a try. The way I read it:

It's her I choose(?), it's her I'll have.
She did not demand a mousseline dress,
she did not demand 'déba brodé' (no clue there, but you seem to have found a translation, or you'd ask for one),
she did not demand shoes (for herself?)
It's her I choose, it's her I'll have


But please remember I do not translate French professionally, it's just that I like your link so much, I wanted to give it a try!
I hope someone with better knowledge will help you out completely.

In the meantime, could you post the lines from this song you have already translated? I'm sure that would be helpful.

Good luck!


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Virginie Lochou  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:33
English to French
+ ...
I love créole! May 31, 2007

I just love the language, even though I do not understand everything!

"C'est li mo oulé, c'est li ma pren" is likely to be "c'est elle que je voulais, c'est elle que je prends" (literally : it's her I wanted, it's her I take).

I'm at loss for "soulier prinelle", though. One of my colleague is from Martinique, but she speaks a different creole, unfortunately...

Margreet, "déba brodé" most likely means "des bas brodés": embroidered stockings. Nice gift, don't you think?

Good luck with your texts, Bontemps!


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BonTemps
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
déba brodé is really "des bas" May 31, 2007

I understand:

Li pas mandé déba brodé,

to mean:

She doesn't ask for embroidered stockings ('des bas', not 'déba')

I like your idea of 'it's her I'll have', but how are you getting 'choose' from 'oulé' ?

Thanks for taking a stab at it, by the way.
Mason


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:33
English to Dutch
+ ...
Just a guess May 31, 2007

Hi Bontemps/Mason,

it was a guess, I thought it would have something to do with 'vouloir', and I wasn't sure how to translate that in this context. I was thinking along the lines of 'want her more than someone else' - hence choose.
After reading Virginie's posting, I understand it is alright to simply use the verb 'to want'.

Thank you both for the translation of déba brodé - you are absolutely right, Virginie, they do make a very nice gift.

Thanks, too, for bringing a beautiful language to my attention once again. I really should read and hear more French. Good luck with it, and enjoy the music!

Best wishes,
Margreet


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F>E Louisiana Creole Slave Songs

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