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"Sapristi!" & "Sapperlipopette!": What do the words mean?

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#1 · Posted: 18 May 2005 23:04
I know that in the original French books Tintin says "Sapristi!" rather than, "Great snakes!" in the English versions. Does anyone know what that means?
I looked it up on the internet and all I got was a publishing company.
#2 · Posted: 18 May 2005 23:39
It means something like "good heavens!", "by Jingo!" or "deary me!" in English. It's an old-fashioned, mild expletive.
#3 · Posted: 19 May 2005 12:29
So how come Tintin says, "Great snakes!" in the English version??
And does he say "Crumbs!" in the French version?
#4 · Posted: 19 May 2005 12:48
So how come Tintin says, "Great snakes!" in the English version??

There is already a thread about that here.

"Crumbs!" is just another similar expression of surprise, and probably isn't translated literally the French... MT&LL-C were simply looking for the sort of phrase that would be used by the characters in such circumstances - I mean in English one might have a character exclaim "Strewth!" in surprise, which comes from the very old "God's truth!"... - there simply isn't a way to make a direct translation convey the word(s) - "La vérité de Dieu!" wouldn't work, it's nonsense to create a new contraction like "'tédedieu!". But "Sapristi!" would probably cover the situation quite nicely.
Harrock n roll
#5 · Posted: 19 May 2005 13:35
And does he say Crumbs in the French version?

Well, not translated literally... (It would be "Miettes!", if translated directly into French!)

This brings to mind two books I have by Jean-Loup Chiflet - Ciel! Blake!/Sky! Mortimer! and Nom d'un Pipe!/Name of a Pipe! - which use frames from the Blake and Mortimer adventures to illustrate a few literally-translated idiomatic expressions.

Some French to English examples;
"Stop making the sausage!" - Arrète de faire l'andouille! - "Stop acting the fool!"

"He touches his marble!"Il touche sa bille! - "He knows a thing or two!"

and English to French;

Cela prend le gâteau! - That takes the cake! - "C'est le bouquet!"

Jetons des pierres aux corbeaux! - Stone the crows! - "Vingt dieux!"
#6 · Posted: 19 May 2005 14:01
I love those examples of (all too) literal translation!

I have a cast-recording at home of a theatrical comedy revue from the early Sixties, called Four Degrees Over, mainly written by John Gould and David Wood - now known as a children's playwrite of some note.

It contains a song, Mon Ami Françcois, apparently sung in French, and then converted back to English by an on-stage simultaneous translation; however, this reveals that it is made up of colloquial English expressions, translated word-for-word into French, and then worked back, once again, into English by the translator:
"Mon ami François c'est un morceau de carte" - My friend Francis is a bit of a card
"il est toujour sur la boutielle" - he is always on the bottle
"comme un poisson il boit au Cochon/ et Sifflet" - He drinks like a fish, at the pig.../ ...and Whistle
#7 · Posted: 19 May 2005 14:14
"Sapristi" was first found in 1835. It comes from "sacristi" (sacristy)
It expresses wonder, or exasperation.
It is deliciously old fashioned!
French idioms are wonderfully translated into English (British) Tintins.
Harrock n roll
#8 · Posted: 19 May 2005 14:57
Good work gnolles!

According to the dictionary, a sacristy is "a room in a church, housing the sacred vessels and vestments".

So I suppose a literal translation could be "Vestry!" ;-)
Belgium Correspondent
#9 · Posted: 19 May 2005 22:41
There is a little difference between "sacristie" and "sacristi"

Sacristie is indeed "a room in a church... etc."
But Sacristi probably comes from "sacré Christ!" and would be translated to something more like, "Good Lord!"
Harrock n roll
#10 · Posted: 20 May 2005 00:02
But Sacristi probably comes from "sacré Christ!"

I think you've got it! I owe you a proud candle...*
(* very indebted to you)

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