i'm a begginer in french, but I see the relation between the two words cause 'sins' or mistakes (miss take) sometimes have synonymous that means 'lack of', 'miss'. In portuguese, for example, mistakes are sometimes said as 'faltas', which means lack of, and it reminds me of 'fault' (guilt). not sure if I explained it well.
I can't ignore a challenge, can I? "Vous avez raison qu'ils goûtent mauvais, sauf si vous les faites cuire correctement. La meilleure recette est de les mettre dans une casserole d'eau bouillante avec une brique - lorsque la brique est cuit, vous jetez le merle et mangez de la brique."
Hah! This is one to remember. Thanks. A first attempt to translate: Tu as raison. Les merles ont goûtent terrible, à moins que tu les cuis comme il faut. La meilleure recette est de les mettre dans une marmite d’eau bouillante avec une brique. Quand le brique est cuite, tu jetes le merle et manges la brique.
To complicate the issue, blackbirds are a species of thrush. Go figure.
Even further off the linguistic chart (sorry), I couldn't resist this Elizabethan recipe for blackbirds: "To bake Woodcocks, Black-birds Sparrows or Larks: Truss and parboil them, then season them with Pepper and Salt, and put them into a Pie with good store of Butter, and so bake them, then fill them up with Butter."
I promise to stick to language issues henceforth (but thanks for the laugh).
Pas très bien pour le régime avec toute cette beurre!
I go with your translation with these changes ... Les merles ont un goût terrible, à moins que tu ne les cuises ...
You haven't met the subjunctive and the "ne explétif" yet - it comes up later in the course - ha ha! you're in for fun. I suggest reading up the grammar rules and conjugations first http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/subjunctive.htm and http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/negation_form_2.htm.
As for the brique, I go with the feminine. As for the joke - I'll try it on our French friends and see if they like it as much as we do! And laughter does help learning :-)
Many thanks for the links and the translation corrections (including the brick of confused gender—oops!). I vaguely remember the subjunctive from past teachings (including my teacher repeating endlessly "It's not a tense but a mood). I remember it as being frustrating -- and I'm sure I will again!
Encore, merci pour l'aide! (Et malheureusement, j'aime la beurre comme un élizabéthain!)
However, blackbirds had to suffice for the King of England: "Sing a song of sixpence, A pocket full of rye. Four and twenty blackbirds, Baked in a pie." 'Sing a song of sixpence' is an English nursery rhyme...I wonder whether there's any connection between this and the French idiom?
Here are some very descriptive explanation. Just let google translate into Eng site
Yes, the French do eat garden birds! I asked my neighbours' kids in Normandy and they thought I was mad. So then I asked a middle-aged neighbour and she said, yes, both thrushes and blackbirds are very good and so are woodcocks (bécasses). Hunters catch them and they are still eaten even to this day.
It is one of the reasons that there are more songbirds in the Americas than in Europe. During times of famine the people could eat wild birds when there was nothing else so those easily caught became extinct (unless they were domesticated). After Europeans settled America we started getting some extinctions. But hunting hasn't gone on for millennia so hopefully we can change this. I can't believe all the hoopla about pet cats catching birds. They haven't done near the damage as people.
That's interesting! Though it sounds like that's now prohibited since it's a protected species.
Incidently, I found recipes for blackbirds online http://www.cuisinez-corse.com/recette-du-merle-aux-herbes-et-aux-olives/ note: le merle Corse fait partie des gibiers qui sont excellents à la dégustation
and for thrushes http://cuisine.notrefamille.com/recettes-cuisine/recette-grive-_393-ingredient.html which also mentions thrushes are espèces proches du merle noir as already pointed out by MrHazard.
So I guess people are still eating them!
Unfortunately, despite the legal restrictions, it's still a big problem -- see e.g. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/09/ortolan-bunting-slaughter-ignored-france . Not just in France, though: this goes on in many countries around the Mediterranean, particularly Egypt ( http://www.theguardian.com/environment/nature-up/2013/jul/19/jonathan-franzen-egypt-migratory-bird ).
They certainly do. A French hunter friend shared a number of freshly shot "perdix" (partridges) and faisans (pheasants) with us. We all, kids and adults, sat down on the kitchen floor and plucked them. Quite the messy business, but a fantastic meal! Bécasse (woodcocks) are also very popular. You also see pheasants and other wild birds hanging on hooks at markets in big cities as well as at country markets.
I stared at it for a bit to make it out and put "for want of thrushes, we eat blackbirds". I thought that sounded quite pleasing and was quite proud of myself. I felt less happy when Duo marked it wrong. it really doesn't like you being poetic does it? I'll report it anyway in case anyone else is of a similar bent.
Don't you think that if a French student learning English was given the idiom "Beggars can't be choosers" they would consider the possibility of "Les mendiants ne peuvent pas etre ceux qui choisissent" - I've probably got my French wrong but I'm hoping you've got the gist of what I am wanting to say. Meant to also say that I'm loving this exercise on idioms and the comments by so many people discussing idioms from their own languages - what a wonderful world we could live in. Je suis Charlie!
I have seen lots of proposals for this sentence in the reverse course. Most French speakers find "faute de grives..." because it is a common saying. A few others pick a literal translation, like: "les mendiants ne choisissent pas" or "les mendiants ne peuvent pas choisir".
The Larousse dictionary
and the PONS dictionary can be helpful to compare different French idioms.