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bêtification

English translation: brutalisation

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14:31 Jul 5, 2007
French to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Social Science, Sociology, Ethics, etc.
French term or phrase: bêtification
this is an essay on design and the whole sentence is "tous ces individualismes réchauffe par exemple de manière dangereusement et irrémédiable la température de la terre, dilapide les énergies qui manqueront à nos descendants, contribue à des injustices sociales de plus en plus scandaleuses, ou à la bêtification de la société"
Many thanks
Comunican
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:54
English translation:brutalisation
Explanation:
I don't think the slang meaning of "bête" is at work here. I was tossing up between the term offered and "bestialisation", but thought the latter had unfortunate sexual connotations.

BTW there is something wrong with the grammar as the passage stands: the apparent subject is plural but all the verbs are singular. Could we have the whole sentence?

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Note added at 4 hrs (2007-07-05 18:45:24 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

OK, well now we all know why the verbs are in the singular: because of "l'addition de". I tend to feel that "dumbing down" or any of its semantic cousins would a bit of an anticlimax after all that other stuff.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 6 hrs (2007-07-05 21:23:57 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

In response to some remarks from people who seem intent of giving an ostensive definition of "bêtifier", I would point out the following.

I have not made any assertions about the usual or "correct" usage of the verb "bêtifier" or of the alleged noun "bêtification". I think it is more important to try to make sense of what the author has written. The colloquial sense of "bête" as "stupid" is simply not supported by the context. There is every reason to suppose that the author, as an Austrian, would have been thinking of the "official" usage of "bête", which is as a noun meaning "animal".

So I reject the insinuation, made by a couple of people on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, that I don't understand the French word "bêtifier"; and, at the same time, my suggestion stands.

Indeed, if the guy is Austrian, it might make more sense to consider the overtones of the German cognate "bestialisch". (From Duden: "in seiner grausamen Art eher an gefühllose wilde Tiere als an Menschen denken lassend" [in its gruesome nature more reminiscent of unfeeling wild animals than of human beings], with as examples "bestialischer Mord/Mörder" [I would say "brutal murder(er)" here].)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 hrs (2007-07-05 22:55:27 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Let me make a few points here. The author of the passage is a native speaker of German, who does not even know the difference between an adverb and an adjective (e.g. "de manière dangereusement"), which is not at all surprising when you consider almost any adjective can be used as an adverb in German. One might also quibble about "rechauffe ... la température" : how do you heat up a temperature? And LesBrets tells us the alleged word "bêtification" "may even not exist".... It certainly isn't in my dictionary.

Well this last point raises two issues: if you say a word may not exist, then presumably you are not familiar with it, and therefore hardly in a position to lay down the law on what it "means". More importantly, however, it makes it more likely that the author made the word up, on the basis of etymologically related words in his/her own language (like "bestialisch": see above).

Given all this, the alleged meaning of "bêtification" or "bêtifier" in French is neither here nor there. Neither could be described as "standard" French. The only relevant consideration is what the author is likely have intended. Apart from the evident influence of German on this person's French idiolect, there is the question of rhetoric. If this person had really meant to refer to the "dumbing down" of society, that would have gone near the front, because it is a lot less dramatic than the other items, and it is obvious that the guy is trying to create a climax (which is an upward progression in rhetoric, not the culmination of that progression). So why would he/she put the least significant term last? It doesn't make sense: this guy may suck at French, but he/she certainly has a flair for the dramatic. On a similar note, the concept of stupidity is in a completely different order of ideas: all the others are examples or consequences of selfishness. They are moral nastinesses. Stupidity is not a moral failing, much as I would like to think so.

Selected response from:

Richard Benham
France
Local time: 20:54
Grading comment
thanks to everyone
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +6brutalisation
Richard Benham
3 +3dumbing downMelzie
4 +1dumbing down
aaronshield
3 +1animalizationEtienne Muylle Wallace
4stultifyingxxxEuqinimod
3stupidification
Laurel Clausen


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
dumbing down


Explanation:
*

Melzie
Local time: 20:54
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Laurel Clausen
1 min
  -> Thank you, Laurel.

agree  Jonathan MacKerron: or even "dumming down"
4 mins
  -> Thank you, Jonathan. It's true there are more ghits for dumming than for dumbing. What I'd like to know is just when the language was dumbed down from mb to mm... ;-)

neutral  writeaway: my first thought and most logical-but not in this context I think.
6 mins
  -> Thnak you, Writaway. Here's my reasoning "tous ces individualismes...contribue à...la bêtification de la société." I'd have liked to have more of the sentence to make it less of a guess...

agree  LesBrets: That's the idea in French. Please refer to http://www.cnrtl.fr/lexicographie/bêtifier - To Richard B. : Ah sorry for the accent circonflexe! I see your point but then the term would probably have been forged on "bestialité"
5 hrs
  -> Thank you, LesBrets.

neutral  Richard Benham: Not plausible, I'm afraid, in this context.
7 hrs
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6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
stupidification


Explanation:
but maybe there is another, more common version out there...?

(also found idiotis/zation but somehow I like that less)

Laurel Clausen
United States
Local time: 13:54
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  LesBrets: That's the idea too
6 hrs
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41 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
dumbing down


Explanation:
an idea.


    Reference: http://media.www.dailylobo.com/media/storage/paper344/news/2...
    Reference: http://www.sa2.info/VOICES/2004/dumbing1.html
aaronshield
Local time: 13:54
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: English

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  writeaway: same idea as Melzie had 37 minutes before you
30 mins
  -> yeah, sorry, hadn't refreshed my browser.

agree  LesBrets
15 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
animalization


Explanation:
why not a "neologism"? The pejorative sense of animal is the lack of ........... everything supposed to be human

Etienne Muylle Wallace
Spain
Local time: 20:54
Native speaker of: Native in DutchDutch, Native in FrenchFrench

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Claire Chapman: There are over 10000 hits on Yahoo! for animalization. And I agree with you :-)
6 hrs

neutral  Richard Benham: The neoligism is not such a bad idea; after all, it seems the original term may be one. It just doesn't sound sufficiently dramatic or, ahem, "brutal" for the context.
19 hrs
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
stultifying


Explanation:
Just a suggestion.

xxxEuqinimod
Local time: 20:54
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 11
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9 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +6
brutalisation


Explanation:
I don't think the slang meaning of "bête" is at work here. I was tossing up between the term offered and "bestialisation", but thought the latter had unfortunate sexual connotations.

BTW there is something wrong with the grammar as the passage stands: the apparent subject is plural but all the verbs are singular. Could we have the whole sentence?

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 hrs (2007-07-05 18:45:24 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

OK, well now we all know why the verbs are in the singular: because of "l'addition de". I tend to feel that "dumbing down" or any of its semantic cousins would a bit of an anticlimax after all that other stuff.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 6 hrs (2007-07-05 21:23:57 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

In response to some remarks from people who seem intent of giving an ostensive definition of "bêtifier", I would point out the following.

I have not made any assertions about the usual or "correct" usage of the verb "bêtifier" or of the alleged noun "bêtification". I think it is more important to try to make sense of what the author has written. The colloquial sense of "bête" as "stupid" is simply not supported by the context. There is every reason to suppose that the author, as an Austrian, would have been thinking of the "official" usage of "bête", which is as a noun meaning "animal".

So I reject the insinuation, made by a couple of people on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, that I don't understand the French word "bêtifier"; and, at the same time, my suggestion stands.

Indeed, if the guy is Austrian, it might make more sense to consider the overtones of the German cognate "bestialisch". (From Duden: "in seiner grausamen Art eher an gefühllose wilde Tiere als an Menschen denken lassend" [in its gruesome nature more reminiscent of unfeeling wild animals than of human beings], with as examples "bestialischer Mord/Mörder" [I would say "brutal murder(er)" here].)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 hrs (2007-07-05 22:55:27 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Let me make a few points here. The author of the passage is a native speaker of German, who does not even know the difference between an adverb and an adjective (e.g. "de manière dangereusement"), which is not at all surprising when you consider almost any adjective can be used as an adverb in German. One might also quibble about "rechauffe ... la température" : how do you heat up a temperature? And LesBrets tells us the alleged word "bêtification" "may even not exist".... It certainly isn't in my dictionary.

Well this last point raises two issues: if you say a word may not exist, then presumably you are not familiar with it, and therefore hardly in a position to lay down the law on what it "means". More importantly, however, it makes it more likely that the author made the word up, on the basis of etymologically related words in his/her own language (like "bestialisch": see above).

Given all this, the alleged meaning of "bêtification" or "bêtifier" in French is neither here nor there. Neither could be described as "standard" French. The only relevant consideration is what the author is likely have intended. Apart from the evident influence of German on this person's French idiolect, there is the question of rhetoric. If this person had really meant to refer to the "dumbing down" of society, that would have gone near the front, because it is a lot less dramatic than the other items, and it is obvious that the guy is trying to create a climax (which is an upward progression in rhetoric, not the culmination of that progression). So why would he/she put the least significant term last? It doesn't make sense: this guy may suck at French, but he/she certainly has a flair for the dramatic. On a similar note, the concept of stupidity is in a completely different order of ideas: all the others are examples or consequences of selfishness. They are moral nastinesses. Stupidity is not a moral failing, much as I would like to think so.



Richard Benham
France
Local time: 20:54
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Grading comment
thanks to everyone

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jonathan MacKerron: also a distinct possibility, perhaps Communican can give us a bit more context to go on
1 min
  -> It's not whether Communican or whether Communican't, but whether Communiwill....

agree  DonM: In the context, this has to be the right interpretation. Well done on finding the "mot juste" too!
7 mins
  -> Thanks.

neutral  BusterK: AFAIO, betifier refers to "idiot" and not "brute"
38 mins
  -> FWIW, "brute" original had the sense of "dumb animal" too.... My preference for this option was based more on its coherence with the context, however, than a priori ideas about definitions.

agree  Najib Aloui: You say I am patronizing, why don't you look at what you wrote to me instead?I answer:yes,the author probably made a bad use of the word, I delete my proposal and give you an agree.I still think you should receive a lesson of civility.Next time.
56 mins
  -> "Wrongfully believe" is nonsense. What I may or may not believe about how the term is or should be used in French is neither here nor there. The question is how the author, a non-native, is using it. What would you suggest, "baby-talk"?//Thanks, I think!!

agree  Patrice: or...contribute to a more brutish society...I agree the idea is of a nastier, harsher society
3 hrs
  -> Thanks. If anything I think the whole sentence supports this, although it's still not fully clear.

disagree  LesBrets: Nothing in "bétification" (the term may even not exist in French, only "bétifier" and "bétifiant") refers to beast/brute, only things/people getting more and more stupid
5 hrs
  -> Actually, it's spelt with a circumflex. The suggestion of stupidity is untenable. There is no point theorizing about what a non-existent word should mean if all you can come up with is nonsense in the context.

agree  Michele Fauble
9 hrs
  -> Thanks.

agree  Cervin: Exactly the right tone here in my humble opinion.
16 hrs
  -> Thanks.

agree  veratek: ... They are moral nastinesses. - agree with your articulate reasoning - with the nice touch of "... Communiwill" :-) brought a smile
20 hrs
  -> Thanks, VT.
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