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Passerelles ep. 1, Quiz 46: à travers

    Improve your ear for French with a load of phrases across this 49 word clip: “à travers”, “le partage du gâteau”, “les bougies”, “sur lesquelles”, “faire un vœu”, & “mais surtout”. How many are new? How many do you know? Hear them all in this moderately fast clip, perfect for any level. Fill in the…

    This clip is from Passerelles Episode 1. Listen and fill in what you hear below. Read more and find a translation below. Listen to the full episode here.

    20 seconds, 49 words

    This audio sample and transcription is from Passerelles ep. 1. We do not own the content. Listen to the entire episode

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    Àtraversdifférentestraditions,partagegâteau,bougieslesquellesvasoufflerfairevœu,àtraverstoutça,fêtemarqueannéesquipassent.Maissurtout,vientdonnersenssymbolique. C'estça,fonction 'rituel.


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    À travers les différentes traditions, comme le partage du gâteau, les bougies sur lesquelles on va souffler pour faire un vœu, à travers tout ça, la fête marque les années qui passent. Mais surtout, elle vient donner du sens et de la symbolique. C’est ça, la fonction d’un rituel.

    Through various traditions, such as sharing a cake, blowing out candles to make a wish, and so on, the holiday marks the passing years. But above all, it adds meaning and symbolism. That’s the function of a ritual.

    The above translation from Deepl. Source

    What does “à travers” mean?

    “À travers” is a French prepositional phrase that translates to “through” or “across” in English. It is composed of the preposition “à” (to, at) and the noun “travers” (across). Together, they convey the idea of moving or perceiving something from one side to the other.

    Here’s a closer look at its usage:

    Physical Movement: “À travers” is often used to describe physical movement or passing through something, whether it’s a physical space, an obstacle, or a barrier.Example: “Il marche à travers le parc.” (He walks through the park.)

    Figurative Sense: This phrase is also used in a figurative sense to convey the idea of going beyond the surface or understanding deeply.Example: “À travers son art, il exprime ses émotions.” (Through his art, he expresses his emotions.)

    Understanding: “À travers” can express the concept of gaining insight, understanding, or perceiving something deeply.Example: “À travers son discours, on peut sentir sa passion.” (Through his speech, one can feel his passion.)

    Time or Experience: It can also be used to indicate the passage of time or the experience of a journey.Example: “À travers les années, il a acquis beaucoup de sagesse.” (Through the years, he has gained a lot of wisdom.)

    When combined with “tout ça,” as in “à travers tout ça,” it adds emphasis and indicates that something has been experienced, understood, or seen in its entirety or throughout various situations. This phrase is commonly used to refer to a range of experiences, challenges, or circumstances that have been navigated.

    Example: “À travers tout ça, elle a gardé son optimisme.” (Through all of that, she has maintained her optimism.)

    In summary, “à travers” is a versatile phrase that can be used both literally and figuratively to convey movement, understanding, and experience. It’s commonly used in everyday French speech and writing to express various nuances and meanings.

    What does “le partage du gâteau” mean?

    “Le partage du gâteau” is a French expression that translates to “the sharing of the cake” in English. This expression is often used metaphorically to refer to the distribution or allocation of resources, benefits, or opportunities among individuals or groups. It implies the idea of dividing something fairly and equitably.

    The phrase can be used in various contexts, both literal and figurative:

    Literal Meaning: In a literal context, “le partage du gâteau” refers to the act of cutting and distributing a cake among people. This can be done at celebrations, gatherings, or events where a cake is being served.

    Figurative Meaning: In a figurative sense, the expression is used to discuss the fair distribution of resources, advantages, or responsibilities. It often comes up in discussions about economic, social, or political issues. Example: “Les négociations visent à assurer le partage équitable des ressources naturelles.” (The negotiations aim to ensure the fair sharing of natural resources.)

    Equitable Allocation: The expression is often used to emphasize the importance of fairness and equality in distributing benefits or opportunities. Example: “Le partage du gâteau doit profiter à tous les membres de la société.” (The sharing of the cake should benefit all members of society.)

    Resource Management: It can also refer to the allocation of limited resources in a way that avoids conflicts and promotes cooperation. Example: “Les partenaires doivent trouver un équilibre dans le partage du gâteau financier.” (Partners need to find a balance in sharing the financial resources.)

    In summary, “le partage du gâteau” is a metaphorical expression that encapsulates the idea of fair distribution and equitable allocation, whether in the context of physical resources, benefits, or responsibilities. It is commonly used in discussions about various social, economic, and political topics in the French language.

    What does “les bougies” mean?

    Candles. As in birthday candles.

    In French, “les bougies” refers to candles as a category. However, specific types of candles do have distinct names to differentiate them based on their purpose, shape, or size. Here are the French names for some of the types of candles mentioned:

    1. Church Candles: Bougies d’église
    2. Birthday Candles: Bougies d’anniversaire
    3. Decorative Candles: Bougies décoratives
    4. Scented Candles: Bougies parfumées
    5. Outdoor Candles: Bougies d’extérieur
    6. Emergency Candles: Bougies d’urgence
    7. Floating Candles: Bougies flottantes
    8. Taper Candles: Bougies cylindriques or bougies de cire
    9. Tea Lights: Bougies chauffe-plat
    10. Votive Candles: Bougies votives

    What does “sur lesquelles” mean?

    “Sur lesquelles” is a French phrase that combines the preposition “sur” (on) with the relative pronoun “lesquelles.” The relative pronoun “lesquelles” is a form of “lequel,” which is used to refer to objects in a more specific or formal way. It serves as a link between a preceding noun and a relative clause that provides additional information about that noun.

    Here’s how “sur lesquelles” works:

    • Preposition “sur” (on): This preposition indicates location, position, or a relationship between two elements.
    • Relative Pronoun “lesquelles” (which, that, whom): “Lesquelles” is used to refer to feminine plural nouns in a more precise manner. It agrees in gender and number with the noun it refers to.

    When combined, “sur lesquelles” forms a relative phrase that means “on which” or “on whom.” It is used to provide additional information about the location or position of something. This construction is often found in more formal writing or speech.

    Example: “J’ai posé les livres sur la table. Les livres, sur lesquels j’ai posé ma tasse de café, étaient intéressants.” (I placed the books on the table. The books, on which I placed my coffee cup, were interesting.)

    In this example, “sur lesquels” specifies the location of the books in relation to the coffee cup, providing additional detail.

    It’s worth noting that while “sur lesquelles” is grammatically correct and used in formal contexts, in everyday spoken French, people often use simpler constructions like “où” (where) to convey similar ideas.

    Example: “J’ai posé les livres sur la table où j’ai posé ma tasse de café. Les livres étaient intéressants.”

    So, “sur lesquelles” is a grammatically correct way to express “on which” or “on whom” in a more formal context, but alternatives like “où” are often used in everyday conversation.

    What does “faire un vœu” mean?

    Faire un vœu” is a French phrase that translates to “making a wish” in English. It’s a common expression used to refer to the act of expressing a desire or hope for something through a wish. This phrase is often used in various contexts, including celebrations, rituals, and even casual conversations.

    “Le vœu” (masculine noun) is the key component of this phrase. It means “wish” or “desire.” When you “faire un vœu,” you are making a wish or expressing a desire for something specific. It could be a secret hope, a dream, or something you long for.

    Here are some points about “faire un vœu” and “le vœu”:

    Usage: “Faire un vœu” is used in various situations, such as blowing out candles on a birthday cake, seeing a shooting star, or simply expressing a wish for something positive to happen.

    Cultural Significance: Making wishes is a widespread cultural practice across different societies. It’s often associated with hope, optimism, and the idea that expressing one’s desires can lead to their fulfillment.

    Celebrations: In many cultures, making a wish while blowing out birthday candles is a common practice. Each candle represents a wish, and it’s believed that if you can blow out all the candles in one breath, your wish will come true.

    Shooting Stars: In some cultures, it’s believed that if you see a shooting star, you should make a wish. This idea comes from the fleeting nature of shooting stars and the notion that they have the power to grant wishes.

    Childhood Beliefs: Children often believe that making a wish while blowing away the seeds of a dandelion or breaking a wishbone will bring their desires to reality.

    Expressions: “Faire un vœu” can also be used metaphorically to express a desire for positive outcomes in various situations.

    Example: “Je fais un vœu pour que tout se passe bien.” (I’m making a wish for everything to go well.)

    Le vœu” itself is a versatile term used not only in the context of making wishes but also in other situations where desires, aspirations, or promises are involved.

    Example: “Il a réalisé son vœu de devenir médecin.” (He fulfilled his wish of becoming a doctor.)

    In summary, “faire un vœu” involves the act of expressing a desire or hope, often in the form of a wish. “Le vœu” refers to the wish itself, whether it’s a secret desire, an aspiration, or a hope for positive outcomes. This phrase and concept are culturally significant and can be found in various celebrations and customs around the world.

    Also of note, two words share a similar origin, but…

    Un Vœu (French): The term “vœu” in French comes from the Latin word “votum,” which means “a solemn promise” or “a wish.” In ancient times, a “votum” was a religious dedication or offering made to a deity in the form of a promise or pledge. Over time, the term evolved in French to encompass both the idea of a wish or desire and a more general promise or commitment.

    Vow (English): The word “vow” in English also derives from the Latin “votum.” However, in English, the word took on a more specific meaning related to solemn promises made in religious or ceremonial contexts. The term “vow” has historically been associated with religious vows made by individuals entering into monastic or religious orders, as well as marriage vows and other solemn promises.

    While the two terms share a common origin in Latin, their meanings and connotations have diverged over time in their respective languages. “Un vœu” in French retains a broader range of meanings related to wishes and commitments, while “vow” in English is more strongly associated with formal, solemn promises.

    What does “mais surtout” mean?

    “Mais surtout” is a French expression that translates to “but especially” or “but above all” in English. It’s a transitional phrase commonly used in speech and writing to introduce an important point, highlight a key aspect, or emphasize the main idea that follows. Here’s more about its usage and nuances:

    Usage:Mais surtout” is often used to contrast or add to a previous statement, indicating that what follows is of particular significance or importance. Example: “J’aime les gâteaux, mais surtout les gâteaux au chocolat.” (I like cakes, but especially chocolate cakes.)

    Emphasis: The phrase adds emphasis to the idea that comes after it, suggesting that the following point is the primary focus or the most crucial part of the statement. Example: “Il est un bon joueur, mais surtout un excellent capitaine.” (He’s a good player, but above all, an excellent captain.)

    Highlighting Preferences: “Mais surtout” is used to emphasize preferences, choices, or inclinations. Example: “J’adore voyager, mais surtout découvrir de nouvelles cultures.” (I love to travel, but above all, I enjoy discovering new cultures.)

    Contrasting Elements: The phrase can be used to introduce a contrast between two related elements. Example: “Cette exposition présente des œuvres anciennes et modernes, mais surtout des chefs-d’œuvre méconnus.” (This exhibition features both ancient and modern works, but especially lesser-known masterpieces.)

    Adding Weight to the Main Point: “Mais surtout” strengthens the impact of the main point you’re making, making it clear that the following idea is the heart of your message. Example: “Ce film a une belle histoire et de superbes effets spéciaux, mais surtout, il nous fait réfléchir sur des questions profondes.” (This movie has a great story and stunning special effects, but above all, it makes us think about profound questions.)

    For beginners, understanding “mais surtout” as “but especially” will help you grasp its basic usage. As you advance, recognize how this phrase is employed to emphasize and draw attention to important elements in a sentence. Pay attention to context, as “mais surtout” often signals that what follows is the key point of the statement.

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    Improve your ear for French with a load of phrases across this 49 word clip: “à travers”, “le partage du gâteau”, “les bougies”, “sur lesquelles”, “faire un vœu”, & “mais surtout”. How many are new? How many do you know? Hear them all in this moderately fast clip, perfect for any level. Fill in the…

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