[Dixielandjazz] Translation of French Bechet Title

Schnabbels at aol.com Schnabbels at aol.com
Mon Feb 2 02:48:47 PST 2004


Questions like yours always pique my interest, so I checked.

The original meaning of "cafard" is either (1) someone who is insincere, 
hypocritical, as well as someone who tells on others. or (2) a cockroach, one of 
the most maligned insects on earth (though they will be the only ones who will 
survive a nuclear holocaust). "Avoir un cafard" therefore, in the idiom, means 
to feel down about something or to be fed up with something, reflecting the 
negative connotation of the more narrow meaning of the word. Bart Simpson says 
"Have a cow man", whatever that means, but linguistically, it is the same type 
of construction.

I suspect, that in naming the tune, they wanted to avoid the word "blues" 
because it is English and thus keep the title purely French. The French are kinda 
picky about that (and why shouldn't they be?).

As far as I am concerned, "As-tu le cafard" can safely be translated with 
either "Do you have the blues" or, if you want to give it a bit of nuance: "Are 
you feeling down".

Rob van der Plas
Scottsdale, AZ

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