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Old 07-31-2016, 03:36 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Yet more help with French, please

I'm preparing Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo in the translation by Isabel F. Hapgood for the MobileRead library. There are several occasions in which 'Noel!' is used, and several other occasions in which 'NoŽl!' (with an umlaut over the e) is used.

Are these two different words?

If they are the same word should it have the umlaut, or not?

What does it mean anyway? In an English speaking culture the word relates to Christmas, but in the 15th century French setting it has nothing to do with Christmas.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-31-2016, 10:42 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexBell View Post
I'm preparing Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo in the translation by Isabel F. Hapgood for the MobileRead library. There are several occasions in which 'Noel!' is used, and several other occasions in which 'NoŽl!' (with an umlaut over the e) is used.

Are these two different words?

If they are the same word should it have the umlaut, or not?

What does it mean anyway? In an English speaking culture the word relates to Christmas, but in the 15th century French setting it has nothing to do with Christmas.

Thanks in advance.
Only NoŽl is correct nowadays (with the e trťma, not related to the german Umlaut). There are multiple meanings to this word:
  • Christmas
  • gift for Christmas
  • a Christmas carol
  • a male first name (used at least once in Notre Dame de Paris)

The other instances of this word refer to Christmas or a Christmas carol (maybe also a nativity scene, today called a crŤche de NoŽl)

Last edited by bernard.ryefield; 08-01-2016 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 08-01-2016, 10:41 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by bernard.ryefield View Post
Only NoŽl is correct nowadays (with the e trťma, not related to the german Umlaut). There are multiple meanings to this word:
  • Christmas
  • gift for Christmas
  • a Christmas carol
  • a male first name (used at least once in Notre Dame de Paris)

The other instances of this word refer to Christmas or a Christmas carol (maybe also a nativity scene, today called a crŤche de NoŽl)
Merci, Bernard. I haven't got to the character by that name yet. And none of occasions where it's used in the book have anything to do with Christmas - though some of them are in the winter time. So I'm still confused.
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Old 08-02-2016, 12:33 PM   #4
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Hi Alex and Bernard,

From an orthographic point of view Bernard is right: according many sites the word must always be written ęNoŽlĽ with the trťma regardless of its meaning.

However, NoŽl that is mainly connected to the feast of Jesus birth, may also be the first name (prťnom in French) of a man, as in the novel, NoŽl = first name Lescrivain = last name.

When people scream: "NoŽl! NoŽl!" it is an acclamation, if I'm not mistaken. (I have no time to re-read the novel, so if someone can validate!)

Alex, Gallica has online many versions of the novel. Personally I prefer the one from 1865 (illustrated), but there are also the 1831 one. The consultation of one of them could perhaps clarify some typographical things about the intentions of Hugo, who knows?

1) The 1865 edition: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt...e%20de%20Paris

2) The first edition (1831):
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt...e%20de%20Paris

Last edited by Arios; 08-02-2016 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 08-03-2016, 09:28 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Arios View Post
Hi Alex and Bernard,

From an orthographic point of view Bernard is right: according many sites the word must always be written ęNoŽlĽ with the trťma regardless of its meaning.

However, NoŽl that is mainly connected to the feast of Jesus birth, may also be the first name (prťnom in French) of a man, as in the novel, NoŽl = first name Lescrivain = last name.

When people scream: "NoŽl! NoŽl!" it is an acclamation, if I'm not mistaken. (I have no time to re-read the novel, so if someone can validate!)

Alex, Gallica has online many versions of the novel. Personally I prefer the one from 1865 (illustrated), but there are also the 1831 one. The consultation of one of them could perhaps clarify some typographical things about the intentions of Hugo, who knows?

1) The 1865 edition: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt...e%20de%20Paris

2) The first edition (1831):
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt...e%20de%20Paris
Thanks again, Arios

Since I first posted I've come across a definition of 'NoŽl!' as the French form of the English 'Hurrah'. That seems to fit.

Thanks for the reference to Gallica; I may have just enough French left to be able to make my way around, and check typos. I'll try it out.
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Old 08-03-2016, 12:55 PM   #6
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It is to me to thank you Alex!

In delving a bit, I have found many interesting information about Christmas (particularly at medieval times) and it would certainly be a fascinating historical research to do, but already done no doubt!

You have certainly the right answer for "NoŽl! NoŽl!" meaning Hurrah.

References to the French versions: it was simply for the format, the look. One possible source of inspiration for your ebook?

Have a nice week Alex.
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Old 08-06-2016, 02:53 AM   #7
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More help please: One of the vagabond/truand characters is called in the English text

'king of Thunes, grand CoŽsre' What does that mean? I can't find it on the internet or in my Penguin dictionary. The text I'm working from has many typos, so it may be coesre
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:36 AM   #8
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king of thunes = king of beggars
Source: Littrť dictionary, a French dictionary of the 19th Century http://www.littre.org/definition/thune

le grand CoŽsre is more or less a synonym of king of thunes
https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/co%C3%ABsre
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Old 08-10-2016, 01:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by septentrion View Post
king of thunes = king of beggars
Source: Littrť dictionary, a French dictionary of the 19th Century http://www.littre.org/definition/thune

le grand CoŽsre is more or less a synonym of king of thunes
https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/co%C3%ABsre
Thanks, that's most helpful.
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