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OT - anyone knows the meaning of this french expression?

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Old
02-02-2008, 05:18 PM
  #1
Masao
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OT - anyone knows the meaning of this french expression?

"Un jeune vieillard assis debout sure une roche de carton disait 'j'aimerais mieux mourir que perdre le souffle'"

Trans (I think...): A young old man sitting-standing (wtf?) on a cardboard rock said "I'd rather die than lose my breath"

Makes absolutely no sense, but I've heard it many times in Montreal and usually the people who say it have absolutely no idea where it comes from.

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Old
02-02-2008, 05:19 PM
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Namso
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Just going from the english expression maybe it means "I'd rather die then lose free speech?"

just a total guess.

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Old
02-02-2008, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Namso View Post
Just going from the english expression maybe it means "I'd rather die then lose free speech?"

just a total guess.
"Live Free or Die" is actually the phrase written on New Hampshire license plates, for what it's worth.

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02-02-2008, 05:25 PM
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Masao
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Namso View Post
Just going from the english expression maybe it means "I'd rather die then lose free speech?"

just a total guess.
Sorry my bad, I meant to ask if anyone knew where it came from

I also heard it in other version with some small variations (one time the "young old man" was "watching a dead dog with his eyes closed" or something)

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Old
02-02-2008, 05:26 PM
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Cristobal Huet
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I think what it might mean, not sure, is that the old man doesn't want to work or do anything that tires him, thus "losing his souffle", not quite sure.

Laziness? Unwillingness to work?

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Old
02-02-2008, 05:30 PM
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It seems like the french equivalent of "I love lamp" to me...

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Old
02-02-2008, 05:30 PM
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Masao
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A google search gave me yet another variation:

"Un jour, c'était la nuit. Un jeune viellard assis debout sur une pierre de boi, riait en pleurant la mort de ses enfants encore vivant. Il monta a la cave et descendi au grenier et a la lueur d'une bougie eteinte, il lisait son journal plié en 4 dans sa poche" (I know there are a lot of mistakes, but I quoted it as it was)

It means... "one day, during the night, a young old man sitting standing on a wooden rock laughed while crying about the death of his kids who are still alive. He went up to the basement and down to the attic and with the light of an unlit candle was reading his newspaper folded in 4 in his pocket"

Makes absolutely no sense

But I heard it so many times... there MUST be some kind of an origin to those jokes

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Old
02-02-2008, 05:35 PM
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You should read it as an exercise of style, opposing two words that used to be their mutual contrary (jeune/vieux, assis/debout)...


That kind of thing remembers me a song from Les Colocs :

Une fois c'étaient deux gars qui étaient trois
Le premier d'mande au quatrième :
- Qu'est-ce qu'on fait?
Y dit on va aller manger chez nous
Rendu chez eux tu veux-tu ben d'la crème à glace?
Ah j'vas prendre d'la crème glacée
Y ouvre la porte du frigidaire
Tombe dans cave
Tu parles d'une place mettre un piano

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Old
02-02-2008, 06:22 PM
  #9
crazyd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masao View Post
"Un jeune vieillard assis debout sure une roche de carton disait 'j'aimerais mieux mourir que perdre le souffle'"

Trans (I think...): A young old man sitting-standing (wtf?) on a cardboard rock said "I'd rather die than lose my breath"

Makes absolutely no sense, but I've heard it many times in Montreal and usually the people who say it have absolutely no idea where it comes from.
A wasted Jean Perron

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Old
02-02-2008, 07:31 PM
  #10
Iz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masao View Post
"Un jeune vieillard assis debout sure une roche de carton disait 'j'aimerais mieux mourir que perdre le souffle'"

Trans (I think...): A young old man sitting-standing (wtf?) on a cardboard rock said "I'd rather die than lose my breath"

Makes absolutely no sense, but I've heard it many times in Montreal and usually the people who say it have absolutely no idea where it comes from.
Have you really heard that many times?

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Old
02-02-2008, 07:52 PM
  #11
Guillemin
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I'm thinking it's for walking contradictions, or people who can't hold to their commitments, that sort of thing.

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02-02-2008, 07:58 PM
  #12
obcd1
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You mean french as in France? Because nobody ever said that in Quebec

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Old
02-02-2008, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masao View Post
"Un jeune vieillard assis debout sure une roche de carton disait 'j'aimerais mieux mourir que perdre le souffle'"

Trans (I think...): A young old man sitting-standing (wtf?) on a cardboard rock said "I'd rather die than lose my breath"

Makes absolutely no sense, but I've heard it many times in Montreal and usually the people who say it have absolutely no idea where it comes from.
Ive heard it a thousand times before it means "This is the dumbest post I can possibly find to put on a hockey board"

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Old
02-02-2008, 10:19 PM
  #14
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Along the lines of:

One bright day in the middle of the night,
Two dead men got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other
If you don't believe this lie is true
ask the blind man he saw it too.

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Old
02-02-2008, 10:45 PM
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obcd1 View Post
You mean french as in France? Because nobody ever said that in Quebec
I've actually heard variations of it many times.

I think Molaram explained it best - at least that's what I always thought.

Would be interesting to know where it originates from.

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Old
02-03-2008, 12:04 AM
  #16
obcd1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbo View Post
I've actually heard variations of it many times.

I think Molaram explained it best - at least that's what I always thought.

Would be interesting to know where it originates from.
yeah I have read things similar but in poems not as usual language

Dans les petits pots les meilleurs ongants

here is an expression for you

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Old
02-03-2008, 01:49 AM
  #17
oohhkev
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masao View Post
"Un jeune vieillard assis debout sure une roche de carton disait 'j'aimerais mieux mourir que perdre le souffle'"

Trans (I think...): A young old man sitting-standing (wtf?) on a cardboard rock said "I'd rather die than lose my breath"

Makes absolutely no sense, but I've heard it many times in Montreal and usually the people who say it have absolutely no idea where it comes from.

I think it stands for something along the lines of "better to burn out than to fade away" (Kurt Cobain's dying words i think?). The reason I come to this is because jeune vieillard usually refers to a man entering old age (ie. 60 years old) or an exuberant old guy (the type thats always out power walking on sunday mornings

also for reference, perdre le souffle can stand for getting exhausted or dying a slow death..

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Old
02-03-2008, 03:26 AM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sneidanaC View Post
Ive heard it a thousand times before it means "This is the dumbest post I can possibly find to put on a hockey board"
This coming from someone that couldn't get a joke about people in the middle ages not understanding linear perspective?

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Old
02-03-2008, 08:12 AM
  #19
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I think he'd rather die like right now, like in one instant rather then die slowly.

I know some guy that his dad spent his last 2 months or so on an hospital bed before passing away. Then the guy said, as much as it might be crazy, not to call for help if he was on the edge of dying. Someday he's got an heart attack he went in the bed like he was just tired. We, cause yes i was there, thought something was wrong, but we didnt really pay attention to it thinking that maybe he was just tired, but then when we called for ambulance it was too late.

The guy wouldve done pretty much anything he could not to spend his last days on an hospital bed. I think he'd rather die younger(He was like 50-55) then risk to be stuck at the hospital just like his father did.

Not sure it's exactly that, it's probably more general, but it surely remind me of that alot when i read it.

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Old
02-03-2008, 08:42 AM
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masao View Post
A google search gave me yet another variation:

"Un jour, c'était la nuit. Un jeune viellard assis debout sur une pierre de boi, riait en pleurant la mort de ses enfants encore vivant. Il monta a la cave et descendi au grenier et a la lueur d'une bougie eteinte, il lisait son journal plié en 4 dans sa poche" (I know there are a lot of mistakes, but I quoted it as it was)

It means... "one day, during the night, a young old man sitting standing on a wooden rock laughed while crying about the death of his kids who are still alive. He went up to the basement and down to the attic and with the light of an unlit candle was reading his newspaper folded in 4 in his pocket"

Makes absolutely no sense

But I heard it so many times... there MUST be some kind of an origin to those jokes
I'm french and this makes absolutly no sens to me. If this isn't some sort of poem it means nothing, basically.

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Old
02-03-2008, 08:55 AM
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obcd1 View Post
yeah I have read things similar but in poems not as usual language

Dans les petits pots les meilleurs ongants

here is an expression for you
My dad always says that one! That's the translation for "good things come in small packages".


The kind of stuff the OP refers to was always recited to me as a sort of joke - the "exercise in style" explanation by Molaram above is the best I've heard here. Basically, it's a little humorous because of the weird juxtaposition in words - it sounds as if it's a proper sentence but it's completely nonsense. Maybe it was a poem? Also kind of sounds like something a guy like Sol would have come up with. Anyway, it must be fairly old because I heard variations of both the "un jour c'etait la nuit..." and the "deux gars qui etaient trois..." as early as back in the 80s.

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Old
02-03-2008, 10:41 AM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masao View Post
"Un jeune vieillard assis debout sure une roche de carton disait 'j'aimerais mieux mourir que perdre le souffle'"

Trans (I think...): A young old man sitting-standing (wtf?) on a cardboard rock said "I'd rather die than lose my breath"

Makes absolutely no sense, but I've heard it many times in Montreal and usually the people who say it have absolutely no idea where it comes from.
My 2 cents is:

An young-old man sitting up on a rock made of cardboard said to himself, "I would rather die than lose my breath"

Is the most accurate translation I can come up with.

As for a meaning, to me every time I've hear the term "young-old man" always spoke of a person afraid to live, more as someone who's life appears to be behind him at a young age that a young person who looks old. And as for the rock made of cardboard, probably speaks of the illusion of stability he is sitting up on, proudly like he knows something someone else doesn't, and his statement is one of a coward, who would rather die than lose breath, exhaust himself to strive for anything more than his current illusionary state that as we know has no lasting value being of cardboard.

Or maybe I'm just reading too much into it, and its just a grammatically correct phrase who's incorrect in syntax and has no meaning. Or maybe its the literary equivalent of a Rorschach test where the mashing together of a sentence can mean different things for different people.

But I would agree with previous posters and say that this is NOT an expression. Possibly a snippet of a poem or a study of language.


Last edited by Moester: 02-03-2008 at 10:46 AM.
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Old
02-03-2008, 10:48 AM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KostitsyntheBagBaby View Post
This coming from someone that couldn't get a joke about people in the middle ages not understanding linear perspective?
I COUNDT GET A JOKE??? of course i got the joke its not cause it was a boring joke that i didnt get it! plus it had SOMETHING to do with hockey (koivu's over the crossbar goal) This stupid french expression thread jsut doesnt belong on a hockey board thats all. there must be some "stupid french expressions" board out there just for crap like this.

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Old
02-03-2008, 10:51 AM
  #24
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http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxymore

edit: (english) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxymoron

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Old
02-03-2008, 10:59 AM
  #25
Turbo
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Originally Posted by sneidanaC View Post
I COUNDT GET A JOKE??? of course i got the joke its not cause it was a boring joke that i didnt get it! plus it had SOMETHING to do with hockey (koivu's over the crossbar goal) This stupid french expression thread jsut doesnt belong on a hockey board thats all. there must be some "stupid french expressions" board out there just for crap like this.
Why do you participate? Two posts in this thread no less (that's 1.8% of your entire HF Boards output on non-hockey matters right here, and we're not looking through your other posts at all). If you're offended by these types of threads, ignore them. Posting in them is ********. Others generally like the community that formed here and enjoy discussing non-hockey matter at times as well. Bottom line, you're not a mod, so buzz off with your policing. If there's a problem, mods are more than capable of merging/moving/closing threads that need to be.

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