Spotted on the autoroute north of Paris, liked it. Part of a campaign by Sanef, company that runs much of the transportation infrastructure in France. (Why isn’t it “notre vie” instead of ”nos vies“? Anyone?)


6 Responses to Home – sanef

  1. Denis Muller says:

    The signs above with their names, when in all caps, no accent marks are used… a French general once told me that.

  2. Francophilia says:

    That’s how it was when I learned French, but it was because typewriters didn’t allow people to put accents on caps. Now computers do, and you are increasingly seeing accents on caps in French in France (it’s always been the case in Canada).

  3. Colette A. says:

    I think “nos vies” is OK grammatically. In English, you wouldn’t say, “Respect our life”, but “respect our lives.” Non?

  4. Francophilia says:

    The thing is, in English we say to a room full of people “Please take off your hats,” while in French they say to a room full of people, “Please take off your hat” (because everybody has only one). To say “hats” in French in this case would imply that everybody was wearing more than one hat! But I asked some French people and they said “nos vies” was OK, because “notre vie” would make it sound like they were living together.

  5. Emma Jamieson says:

    The French “respectez nos vies” is correct. It means “respect our lives”. Otherwise it would be “respect our life” which is wrong. I would have thought you wouldn’t need to question the spelling on a nationwide French advertising campaign, it is quite likely about 5 levels of marketing departments will have approved this beofre plastering it across the country… Also, in French we say “Enlevez vos chapeaux” (take off yoru hats) – no idea where you got your version from!

  6. Francophilia says:

    Hmmm… Maybe I’m just used to seeing errors slip through five levels of whatever in the US! And seeing things like “Lybia” on major news channels there…

    Here is an example of this French grammatical phenomenon from “La carte et le territoire,” the latest Goncourt winner by Michel Houellebecq (p. 371):

    “Au moment où il s’apprêtait à sonner, deux hommes vêtus d’un blouson et d’un pantalon de coton sortirent…” Now, they weren’t both wearing (sharing) the same jacket and pair of pants. By contrast, in English, this would read “Just as he was about to ring the doorbell, two men came out wearing cotton jackets and pants.” Plural.

    This is where I get my wacky notions about grammar:

    And I think we have a right to question everything.

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