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Thread: Formidable & magnifique

  1. #1
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    Formidable & magnifique

    Hi!

    I like Hercule Poirot and he said -> C'est formidable! in one episode.

    He liked a garden in the episode. My question is: What is the difference between "C'est formidable!" and "C'est magnifique!"?

    What are the exact English words for them?

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    Властелин maxmixiv's Avatar
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    Funny coincidence : yesterday I heard as in another episode Poirot said about "formidable woman" (in English).
    Strange combination
    "Невозможно передать смысл иностранной фразы, не разрушив при этом её первоначальную структуру."

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    "C'est formidable!" and "C'est magnifique! - well, i guess about the same as It's formidable and It's magnificent.

    1066, etc..

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Holy faux amis, Batman! Beware of sound-alike cognates!

    I don't speak French, but I'm pretty sure that c'est formidable more or less means "It's amazing!" or "It's excellent!", but usually NOT "It's formidable!" Because in English, the word "formidable" suggests a THREAT, and is a synonym for "intimidating" or "just a bit scary."

    Admittedly, there are contexts in which English "formidable" has both meanings ("excellent and threatening"), as in "He is a formidable chess player." But you can't say "This chocolate cake is formidable!" in the sense of "amazingly excellent". You can, however, say "The recipe for making this chocolate cake was formidable" (meaning "the recipe was so complicated, I was afraid to attempt it").

    Incidentally, Google Translate renders English "formidable" as грозный, but the phrase "it's formidable" is rendered as это превосходно. The first translation definitely seems correct, but I have my doubts about "превосходный".

    But in a French-to-Russian translation, Google gives это здорово! for "c'est formidable" -- which, I think, is also correct, if you understand "Здорово!" to mean "Amazing! Excellent! Awesome!"

    P.S. When Poirot said "a formidable woman," he meant it in the same sense as "a chess expert I would be afraid to play against."
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    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post

    c'est formidable more or less means "It's amazing!" or "It's excellent!", but usually NOT "It's formidable!"
    Thanks for noticing this. I've checked Oxford dictionary post factum, but was lazy to correct my suggestion. In Russian linguistic literature the term "ложные друзья переводчика" is often used.
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    Увлечённый спикер Lady Maria's Avatar
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    If he says of her "she is a formidable woman" he must be using the term in its English meaning. But then, "formidable" in English may imply several concepts: awe-inspiring, fearful, intimidating, and a mixture of all that.

    When he is exclaiming "c'est formidable !" he is definitely using the word in its French sense of "great, grand, wonderful, fantastic, ...".

    But when Monty Python are singing "our shows are formidable" what do they mean?

    Oh, and about the difference between "formidable" and "magnifique". Well, "formidable" in French may also mean several things, closely related: "astounding, extraordinary" (that's the closest you'll get to the English "formidable"), or more informally "terrific", or the lesser-used concept of "astonishing".

    There are no exact equivalents. Originally I presume that FR "formidable" and EN "formidable" are cognates, just as FR "magnifique" and EN "magnificent". With time, meanings diverged.

    "C'est formidable! C'est magnifique!" could be rendered as "That's marvellous! That's wonderful!" although I'm not entirely happy with that rendition, because such a repetition just doesn't seem to suit the English language as it does the French.

    And I do so love Hercule Poirot, too! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vj3uS-YaHE
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    Властелин maxmixiv's Avatar
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    Thanks Lady Maria, terrific video!

    astounding, extraordinary, terrific, astonishing, marvellous, wonderful, scrumptious, compelling, awesome, spectacular, stunning...
    So pity, that all these are full synonyms for me, I cannot tell such subtle differences in the meaning, so I put them in my head into one box "quite good".

    And my favourite Poirot's face expressions are when he is offered some drinks or food he doesn't approve.
    There are quite a few of them, must be enough for one more video clip.
    "Невозможно передать смысл иностранной фразы, не разрушив при этом её первоначальную структуру."

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    Увлечённый спикер Lady Maria's Avatar
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    Рада, что тебе понравилось.

    Надеюсь, ты не имеешь ничего против того, чтобы я исправила кое-что в твоей речи:

    such a pity (not so pity)

    Тоже мне кажется, что не так трудно разобраться в этих прилагательных. Вот смотри:

    stunning: a view or a person may be stunning. It's usually about visual aspect. Например:

    She is absolutely stunning.
    From here you can get a stunning view of Torquay.
    На мой взгляд, звучит ближе к "потрясающий": она выглядит потрясающе / отсюда у вас получается потрясающий вид на Torquay. To stun = потрясти/потрясать

    Scrumptious: the pie is simply scrumptious. Пирог - просто пальчики оближешь. I guess it's about taste, generally.

    Compelling: to compel is to force. They were compelled to withdraw their forces = они были вынуждены вывести свои войска. If something or someone is compelling, it forces you to pay attention to it. It will not be ignored.

    Wonderful = чудесный. Чудо = wonder

    From now on it gets easier and easier, I'm sure!
    Hope this helps. My Russian may not be quite correct, please bear with me.
    Last edited by Lady Maria; September 30th, 2015 at 12:42 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Bonjour
    Cette discussion est un peu ancienne, mais si je peux aider, ce sera avec plaisir.
    Magnifique est plus employé pour l'esthétique, très joli, très beau, superbe ...etc. =великолепный
    Formidable plutôt pour quelque chose qui suscite l'admiration, la sympathie.... = мировой, потрясающий, удивителный

    Je suis français et j'apprends le russe.
    Posez vos questions et demandez conseil, je répondrai avec plaisir.

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