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FENRIS
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courriers/coureurs de bois

Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:13 pm

pourquoi courriers alors que d'après mes recherches, la dénomination
est coureurs de bois.
A moins que ce soit le nom en anglais, plutôt surprenant, en plus
je joue en version française (je précise que ce n'est pas une montée
d'anglophobie)
merci d'avance pour les réponses

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Philippe
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Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:35 pm

FENRIS wrote:pourquoi courriers alors que d'après mes recherches, la dénomination
est coureurs de bois.
A moins que ce soit le nom en anglais, plutôt surprenant, en plus
je joue en version française (je précise que ce n'est pas une montée
d'anglophobie)
merci d'avance pour les réponses


I'm really glad you brought that up. I've been wondering about that for years. Outside of the game and these forums I can't recall seeing them called anything but 'runners of the woods' -- 'couriers of the woods' means something completely different, and I'm not sure if it's historically correct.

Could someone who knows a lot about this subject please comment and give sources?

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FENRIS
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Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:03 pm

Philippe wrote:I'm really glad you brought that up. I've been wondering about that for years. Outside of the game and these forums I can't recall seeing them called anything but 'runners of the woods' -- 'couriers of the woods' means something completely different, and I'm not sure if it's historically correct.

Could someone who knows a lot about this subject please comment and give sources?


hello and excuse my very bad english !
courrier is like postman ? or it is french canadian word ??

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Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:14 pm

And I spent ages trying to work out if they should be called Coureur des Bois or Coureur de Bois.

My French is very poor and I couldn't find a definite answer. I went with des in the end as it seemed more common on the web.

Cheers,
Chris

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Philippe
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Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:43 pm

Fenris:

In English, a courier is someone who delivers messages. So a unit that is called couriers des bois probably does mean something like ' forest postmen'.

Hobbes:

Coureur des Bois is someone who runs around in the woods.

Coureur de Bois means wooden runner.

But that's modern French. Canadian French is a bit unusual, mostly because it has bits of fossilized 17th Century French along with Anglicisms mixed into it. I could be convinced that 'courier des bois' is authentic period French from Canada, but I'd want to see some documentation. I've read a fair amount of 18th Century French, and it's very elegant, very classical, very correct, and rarely weird.

The courier des bois things looks and sounds to me like a monolingual English speaker taking a foreign phrase and switching a more familiar term for a word he didn't recognize. Once upon a time I was trained to edit Latin texts, and that was a particularly famous and common error that even had its own name: lectio facilior.

But I'll be more than happy to believe in the existance of couriers des bois (other than postmen) if someone can come up with a few period texts that use it. Otherwise I'll always harbor a suspicion that it was something that originated in this forum.

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Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:51 pm

To continue to beat a dead horse, here's a link to an English language wiki that discusses coureurs des bois (as opposed to the probably incorrect couriers des bois).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coureur_des_bois

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Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:43 pm

Thanks Philippe, this is very interesting to me as I spent so long trying to find the correct name. I also considered using couriers for a while.
If native French speakers are uncertain I can see why I found it so confusing! :blink:

But now I'm wondering if I should have used Coureurs des Bois rather than Coureur des Bois to describe a unit of men!

Chris

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Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:30 pm

Hobbes wrote:Thanks Philippe, this is very interesting to me as I spent so long trying to find the correct name. I also considered using couriers for a while.
If native French speakers are uncertain I can see why I found it so confusing! :blink:

But now I'm wondering if I should have used Coureurs des Bois rather than Coureur des Bois to describe a unit of men!

Chris


I would go with the plural (Coureurs). I think the analogy would be to having a semi-informal unit of scouts, and having to choose between naming it 'Scouts' or 'Scout', or, in a tactical game, having a company of skirmishers and having to choose between naming it 'Skirmishers' or 'Skirmisher'. The singular form sounds to me too much like one individual. In English the singular used as a collective plural is not totally unknown, but it smells of the lamp and more often than not is probably a grammatical borrowing from Latin (they do it with the neuter plural). Keep it simple and keep it in Muhrican so people can understand you.

But whatever you do, don't tell us how the Brits really spell Chumley.

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Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:55 pm

Philippe wrote:To continue to beat a dead horse, here's a link to an English language wiki that discusses coureurs des bois (as opposed to the probably incorrect couriers des bois).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coureur_des_bois


en fait, les coureurs des bois étaient des colons du Canada (francophones) qui avaient adopté le mode de vie indien (ils aimaient la vie au grand air
libres et les femmes indiennes plus attrayantes que celles expédiées vers les colonies par la métropole, ils sont à la base d'un métissage franco-indien
au 17 18e siècle (nombreux officiers français d'origine indienne)
d'où l'avantage de la France avec ses unités irrégulières (les coureurs des bois)
du côté anglais vois le cas de sir William Johnson marié à une indienne et principal garant de l'alliance des Irroquois.
("histoire de l'Amérique française" de Gille Havard et Cécile Vidal)

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Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:06 pm

Philippe wrote:I would go with the plural (Coureurs). I think the analogy would be to having a semi-informal unit of scouts, and having to choose between naming it 'Scouts' or 'Scout', or, in a tactical game, having a company of skirmishers and having to choose between naming it 'Skirmishers' or 'Skirmisher'. The singular form sounds to me too much like one individual. In English the singular used as a collective plural is not totally unknown, but it smells of the lamp and more often than not is probably a grammatical borrowing from Latin (they do it with the neuter plural). Keep it simple and keep it in Muhrican so people can understand you.

But whatever you do, don't tell us how the Brits really spell Chumley.


i would use coureurs des bois : plural it's a group of skirmishers ? in french : voltigeurs (like riflemen)

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Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:24 pm

I wish I had spoken to you a year ago :)

Thanks,
Chris

P.S. I looked up Chumley - I'm none the wiser!

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Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:14 am

Hobbes wrote:I wish I had spoken to you a year ago :)

Thanks,
Chris

P.S. I looked up Chumley - I'm none the wiser!




Go here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_names_in_English_with_counterintuitive_pronunciations

and look at the tenth entry under the letter "C".


One of my English classmates always maintained that it was something you did to confuse the foreigners.

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Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:00 pm

Of note from game development, these were called Courriers des bois in BOA [developed by the French dev team] and were thus 'ported' into WIA as same [team Project Manager was French], and so, as an American speaker [not English!, that's spolen in Europe ;) ] I have never challenged it...

So, this name has been in games since 2005!!! :blink:
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Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:13 pm

lodilefty wrote:Of note from game development, these were called Courriers des bois in BOA [developed by the French dev team] and were thus 'ported' into WIA as same [team Project Manager was French], and so, as an American speaker [not English!, that's spolen in Europe ;) ] I have never challenged it...

So, this name has been in games since 2005!!! :blink:



Kudos to Fenris for finally bringing this up. I hope this can get corrected in the next patch without too much trouble.

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Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:37 pm

FENRIS wrote:i would use coureurs des bois : plural it's a group of skirmishers ? in french : voltigeurs (like riflemen)


I just checked the files and I did use Coureurs des bois for the King William's War scenario - phew :)

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Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:36 pm

Ahaha ! I used "Courriers des Bois", from WiA, in some conversations (forum or not) to look fancy. How wrong I was ;) It will teach me.

This said, "Courriers des Bois" gives some non-AGEOD positive and "not-recent" results on Google.

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Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:41 pm

Narwhal wrote:Ahaha ! I used "Courriers des Bois", from WiA, in some conversations (forum or not) to look fancy. How wrong I was ;) It will teach me.

This said, "Courriers des Bois" gives some non-AGEOD positive and "not-recent" results on Google.



When I type "courriers des bois" into my admittedly Anglo-Saxon version of Google, I get several pages of entries, but Google seems to be automatically correcting the spelling and converting it to "coureurs". I haven't looked at all the entries on all the pages, and for something like this I don't really trust computer programs that aren't written by philologists (and those programs would be fairly rare).

What we would need to rehabilitate/justify the use of "courrier des bois" is a cluster of citations to actual period texts from real ink and paper books.

Failing that, there are a couple of alternatives.

Consult an historian who has worked on the French colonies in Canada. He/she will have read the original texts and would be able to say, pretty authoritatively, whether the word was ever used, and/or what the more correct form is. And by the way, I can't imagine that the correct form isn't "coureurs des bois".

I know a French history professor at Yale who also teaches and lives in the midi, but I think his area of expertise is late 19th century so he probably wouldn't be the right person to talk to. But a French history professor in France who does 18th century French colonial history would know this kind of thing off the top of his head, and would probably know it better than a professor of literature.

Larousse puts out a bunch of specialist dictionaries, and one of them is on 18th century French. I came very close to buying it about ten years ago when I was reading a lot of period texts, but was put off by its astonishing price tag. I'm sure if someone in France were to go into a university library, or simply a big library and look up "courriers des bois" that dictionary would list and quote the references, if they exist. The main New York library at 42nd Street probably has a copy, but I won't be able to get over there any time soon. Also, any large university with a big French literature department would have a copy in its library.

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Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:49 pm

In Les Indiens Blancs, Français et Indiens en Amérique du Nord (XVIe-XVIIIe siècle), de Philippe Jacquin (1987), the french word is "les coureurs de bois".
At first they were economical agents, but in the war these "several hundreds" "vagabonds French Traders" become political (propaganda) agents, and probably tactical counseillors ("none were captured and none were found killed"), levying the indians against the mocking English.

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Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:35 pm

ERISS wrote:In Les Indiens Blancs, Français et Indiens en Amérique du Nord (XVIe-XVIIIe siècle), de Philippe Jacquin (1987), the french word is "les coureurs de bois".
At first they were economical agents, but in the war these "several hundreds" "vagabonds French Traders" become political (propaganda) agents, and probably tactical counseillors ("none were captured and none were found killed"), levying the indians against the mocking English.


While I still think that "coureur(s) de bois" should properly mean "wooden runner(s)", after looking at a bunch of the entries that can be found online I'm seeing "bois" getting used in the singular and the plural.

The english equivalent would be the distinction (if there is one) between forest (sing.) and woods (plural).

What I can't determine without consulting the 18th century Larousse is whether one or the other is more 18th century or not. I prefer the sound of the plural, but I have a corrupted ear. One or both forms might be 18th century French, but even if one form is currently modern Canadian French it doesn't clinch anything because, though modern Canadian French dialect often preserves older forms than modern French, it has also evolved independantly so shouldn't be taken as authoritative.

So we need to consult someone who really knows rather than just observing modern usage from books. What we need to know is what Montcalm would have called them -- did he say forest in the singular or the plural ? Or did he even care? That's the kind of thing you can figure out from consulting the 18th century Larousse (which is a French to French dictionary, in case anyone was wondering).

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Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:40 pm

And then we have Voyageurs :) It's a lot easier to be English. We just had colonists! (or should that be settlers).

Types of Voyageurs
Voyageurs who only paddled between Montreal and Grand Portage were known as mangeurs de lard (pork eaters) because of their diet, much of which consisted of salt pork. This was considered to be a derogatory term. Those who overwintered were called hommes du nord (northern men) or hivernants (winterers). Those who were neither primarily traveled the interior (beyond Grand Portage) without wintering in it.

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Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:01 pm

So, if I'm to chew up a day changing the name, exactly to WHAT do I change? :confused:

Then, if there's another patch, we'll include it. Otherwise, I'll post as a QuikFix...
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Philippe
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Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:01 am

lodilefty wrote:So, if I'm to chew up a day changing the name, exactly to WHAT do I change? :confused:

Then, if there's another patch, we'll include it. Otherwise, I'll post as a QuikFix...


I'm 85% certain that the name should be "coureurs des bois". But I'm sending off some inquiries to a couple of academics just to be 100% certain.

If I'm wrong the name should be "coureurs de bois".

There's also a 35-40% chance that either name is appropriate, in which case go with "coureur des bois" because I think it sounds better.

Since we happen to be doing this thread in the French section, if any francophones out there disagree with me, please speak up because this would be a great moment to make your voices heard.

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Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:41 am

On an unrelated note, I think I know where the coureur/courier error came from.

I just sent an email explaining the problem to an academic acquaintance and noticed that the darned spell checker tried to change all my coureurs into couriers, which really made nonsense out of the message I was sending!

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Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:40 am

I just got an e-mail from a professor of 18th century French literature at Columbia. She can only recall having seen "coureurs de bois". She also sent me a fascinating link that includes Montcalm's journal.

http://gallica.bnf.fr/Search?ArianeWireIndex=index&p=1&lang=EN&q=Montcalm

I'm still waiting to hear from a history professor at Yale, but unless something really compelling turns up in the next day or two, I think the answer is leaning towards

coureurs de bois

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Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:57 pm

pourquoi pas explorer dans la voie du language franco-canadien d'époque ? Why not ?
surement très différent soit du français soit de l'anglais avec en plus des apports indiens ?!

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Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:46 pm

We'll change these to Coureurs de bois for next update.
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Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:57 pm

I just skimmed through the first 50 pages or so of Montcalm's journal (see the link a couple of posts above). Wow! I really, really wish I had a copy of it in book form to read. I didn't read enough to stumble on his descriptions of the French Canadians (he apparently doesn't mince words about how he feels about their service to the king), but reading that text is like looking through a window and seeing the 18th century through French eyes.

He's a very good writer, very smart, and very insightful. And he makes it very clear that sailing from France to Canada in April in the middle of a war with England is not a pleasant experience. It's worth taking a look even if you only know a little French. There are two things you have to be aware of if you aren't used to reading this kind of text. The dipthong that is written and pronounced 'ai' in modern French is written 'oi' in 18th century French. So instead of talking about les Anglais he'll talk about les Anglois. And he uses the imperfect tense a lot, so all those '-ais' and '-ait' verb endings show up as '-ois' and '-oit'.

But one of the real joys about reading this kind of thing (at least for a student of language) is that 18th century French uses the full French verb in all of its moods and tenses (and subtle shades of meaning). But don't worry if you can't remember all the ins and outs of using the subjunctive -- you'll still get the general gist of what he's saying, and it's such a pleasure to read really elegant and really correct French.

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Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:47 pm

où sont les francophones ? j'ai l'impression d'être le seul français sur le forum francophone

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ERISS
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Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:44 pm

La faute à Philippe et l'habitude. Dès qu'un parle anglais, on se croie sur le forum angliche.

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FENRIS
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Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:38 pm

ERISS wrote:La faute à Philippe et l'habitude. Dès qu'un parle anglais, on se croie sur le forum angliche.


ah ! philippe peut écrire en français et moi je me prends la tête pour essayer de me faire comprendre en anglais !
c'est pour çà que j'ai l'impression que cette histoire que j'ai lancé m'echappe un peu, je voulais juste signaler
que ce terme de courrier me semblait curieux
(si encore c'était en espagnol je pourrais capter un peu plus vite)
à part çà, les corsaires on s'en sert comme dans AACW ?? (posture evasion ?)

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