8 Dec 2009
Lost in Translation: why I am suddenly feeling rather old
Here’s an odd one for you. Liberation.fr, a French news site, recently ran an article called “A Totnes, la clé anglaise pour l’après-pétrole”, which my poor French would interpret as meaning “In Totnes, the English key to life after oil”, or somesuch. Looks like a good piece, but it contains the puzzling, and faintly alarming, sentence, “menés par Rob Hopkins, un ancien prof de permaculture”. Ancien? Ben Brangwyn very kindly (I hope) looked up meanings of the word ‘ancien’, and they are not, I have to share with you this morning dear readers, especially flattering.It is, apparently either a noun, meaning ancient, elder, oldster, old-timer, or former, or an adjective, meaning old, ancient, antique, antiquarian, antiquated, former, past, quondam, old-fashioned, bygone, late, vintage, one-time, elder. The only one of those meanings which does anything other than make me feel terribly, well, ancient, is ‘vintage’, like a fine wine of some sort, but I suspect that is not what they are getting at…
Anyone out there who speaks French able to offer any more flattering interpretation of “Rob Hopkins, un ancien prof de permaculture” than “Rob Hopkins, a bygone, old-fashioned, antiquated, one-time professor (!) of permaculture”? I think I need to put my slippers on and go and have a nap by the fire….