The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Being somewhat at loose end, and to limber up my understanding of somewhat idiomatic and idiosyncratic French, I translated Denys Lombard's 1994 review of a Haraprasad Ray monograph on Sino-Indian trade and diplomacy. Check it out if you like.

Denys Lombard uses such expressions as "Les commentaires de M. Haraprasad Ray, qui est lui-même d'origine bengalie, ne laissent pas d'être précieux." This baffles not merely me, but also two automatic translators and several native French speakers, before, finally, succumbing to one colleague who explains that this is a literary expression rarely used in common speech. It means, as you might guess, something like "The observations of Mr Haraprasad Ray, himself of Bengali origin, are surely invaluable."

I'll try this out on some unsuspecting Frenchman one day. "Vos commentaires," I'll say, "ne laissent pas d'être précieux."

I'll be sure to report the results of said pronouncement.


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