1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Cette lettre est relative à …

"Cette lettre est relative à ma mère."

Translation:This letter is related to my mother.

January 6, 2013

40 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gtmckee

In English one would say "relates to" rather than "is related to my mother". "Is related to" implies a family connection.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lemmingofdestiny

Not necessarily, "is related to" could be used to imply it's about a subject which concerns your mother but is not your mother directly. E.g. "I noticed you got a letter from that Alzheimer's charity this morning. What's that about?" "Oh it's related to my mother and her recent fundraising efforts."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-TashaJ-

Actually we wouldn't say "Oh it's related to my mother and her recent fundraising efforts." We would say "Oh it's about my mother and her recent fundraising efforts." This makes more sense in English. "Is related to" does imply a family connection, because English people associate this with family.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lemmingofdestiny

What do you mean "we wouldn't say"? I am an English person, and posted the above example to suggest one situation in which I could imagine the translation making sense;


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-TashaJ-

When I said "we" I was referring to English people in general. I am English, yet that doesn't mean to say that everyone on here learning French is also English. Therefore, I wasn't aware that you are also English. I wasn't intending to offend you in any way. The example you posted doesn't make sense to me, so I was just explaining that generally people would say it in a different way. I'm studying AS English language, so I guess I think about the way in which language is used quite a lot. I'm sorry if my comment offended you; it wasn't intentional. I had no idea that you are also English. If I had known I would have explained my point in a better way. I hope you can accept my apology.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lemmingofdestiny

Don't worry, I wasn't really offended - I was looking for the most tactful way to point out that one shouldn't assume one's own experience and therefore view of even one's native tongue is identical to other native speakers. Something I've repeatedly noticed on Duolingo is that idiolects can be surprisingly varied when it comes to nuances of translation. Moreover, when bleached of their context, otherwise acceptable sentences can suddenly sound disjointedly unnatural. I recommend reading this:

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

to give you some idea of the imagination that can provide a seemingly impossible sentence sufficient context to become meaningful. Especially "Attempts at meaningful interpretations".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arya.Stark

Ah, but in that example, you added "and her recent fundraising efforts". Would you simply say "it's related to my mother"? I, another native English speaker, would look at you like you had two heads if you said that to me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/namewithanumber

must be some regional differences happening. I'd say that "it's related to my mother", "it relates to my mother", and "it's about my mother" all can mean the same thing. "related to" just has a few alternate meanings.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-TashaJ-

I'm glad I didn't offend you and I now understand your point. I shall read the link. Oh, and good luck with your french by the way (:


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

The above example shows that it worked better when you added "and her recent fundraising efforts." Without something that it is related to and just a person, it would have created the same confusion. People are related to each other, because they are each other's relations. I am from California. Are you from England? Here in the USA, we would more likely say "The letter is about my mother." and it is also an accepted answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jwl99

I too am from California, and could easily see myself saying, "it's related to my mother's issues with alzheimers"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rungus

I agree with the Lemingofdestiny here, that 'it's related to my mother' is fine English, although not as commonly used as 'it relates' or 'it's about' or maybe even 'it concerns'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-TashaJ-

Fair enough. Personally, I would never say that, but I guess some people do.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alphabeta

It would make more sense to say that "it is related to my mother's recent fundraising efforts", not your mother herself.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/milesnagopaleen

I would be more inclined to say "is relating to my mother"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Maggieroni

I used this and it was accepted. I think this would be a somewhat formal expression for a letter from a business.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chloechloe777

I agree, I would say "has to do with my mother" if anything.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gfmuffin

"This letter concerns my mother" is a more natural statement of the idea.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lpacker

That would be my choice.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ejm_etherwork

And yet, when I typed "This letter is concerning my mother", I was marked wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kmburkezoo

"Is concerning" strikes me as unnatural and overly wordy; "concerns" sounds much better to me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/milesnagopaleen

Ah, but both are still ambiguous without a context. A letter could concern your mother, in that she was concerned by it e.g. if it contained a demand for money that she was unable to pay.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ncp1113

In English I think people would normally say "is about" instead of "is relative to"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

In French it sounds pompous to say "relative à" when it is about everyday speech. We would keep it for a formal commercial letter, for example.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/puppy7989

Thanks Sitesurf - what would be a less formal way of expressing the same idea in french?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sitesurf

"cette lettre parle de ma mère".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anode1

I tried, "This letter pertains to my mother."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joan223152

So did I! I suggest that the editors at Duolingo need to study a bit more English! 'pertains to' is perfectly correct in this context, guys.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/milesnagopaleen

One lingo for that one!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lpacker

Any luck? Sound good to me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kmcleann

In English no one would ever say "relative to" either. In every day speech you would say "is about" and in a letter or more formal setting you would say "refers to" .. a letter can't be related to anything, it refers to something.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nikitakimba

I'm pretty sure you can't vouch for what every single English speaker across a number of regions / countries is likely to say.

"relative to" is gramatically correct, and is in fact said by English speakers.

It's also tricky when making assertions about what people say in "every day" speech. I'm sure that word choice varies quite significantly across different regions, countries, and socio-demographics, for example.

Unless the letter referred solely and specifically to my mother, I wouldn't say "is about".

A letter from a doctor describing her medical condition is about her.

A newsletter from an organisation of which she is a member is not.

A letter from a friend describing a recent holiday isn't about her, either.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paul_W

"Relative to.." is my first option I assure you. That's what the word means.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bdgawmk

Or "in relation to" - "related to" is a very odd and poor translation, and certainly shouldn't be the default.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jimwb

you can say "relative to my mother" quite properly in English


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MitchQuinn

For formal use another way to reference somebody or something is to use 'regard'. French cognate yay!

e.g This letter is with regard to my mother... (it concerns my mother, is referring to my mother, my mother is the subject)

Note that emails in english have 'RE:' before the subject if you reply to them, this is short for 'Regarding: subject'

From: Hopethishelps@qqch.com Subject: RE: My Mother


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bruno_Zhao

this letter is relative to my mother? no? why

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.