In the French sentences on Duolingo, I sometimes see something like this, where the exclamation mark and the last word of the sentence have a space between them, as in Au revoir, et merci beaucoup ! Sometimes, there is no space between the last word and the final punctuation mark.
What is correct? What is the rule with this when it comes to punctuation in French?
Because "au revoir" is equivalent to "goodbye". Literal translations are no good, it's better to understand the meaning of the words or phrases in the culture they are used. They use "au revoir" to express the same thing English speakers express by saying "goodbye".
EDIT: A literal translation is not good in this particular case. "au revoir" and "good bye" are cultural equivalents which convey the same meaning for this particular situation.
If they were expressing the same thing, then they would say “goodbye” but they don’t and we can learn about French culture from their choice of words. English speakers make everything so dire and inject “God” into everything because of the puritan roots of the English culture. We say “God bless you” when someone sneezes, whereas in French culture they simply say, “à tes souhaits” (to your wishes) or “à tes amours” (to your loves.)
“Good b’ye” actually comes from “God be with ye” – so fatalistic, so fearful, whereas, the French say, “au revoir” (until we see each other again) – optimistic wouldn’t you say? So we can learn from how they choose to say “goodbye” or put blinders on as you have and look at it only through one’s own culture’s lens and insist it means what you mean. But indeed, there are words closer in meaning to your “goodbye.”
In Spanish, they say, “adios” or (to God/go with God) which the French also say, “adieu” (to God/until God) but when the French say it, there is a reason, it is a choice. One says, “adieu” when the likelihood of the next time of seeing each other will be never or after we meet our maker so “until God.”
So, I disagree with you, Andrew. I believe there is some value in the quote: “By their words ye shall know them.” What I learn from their words is the intention behind their words and I like what I see. So I like the optimistic friendliness of “à bientôt,” “à demain,” “à tout à l’heure,” or “au revior.” I’m sorry you cannot appreciate French culture through its language. I think you are missing an opportunity to expand your awareness and understanding of the world in which you live.
I apologize to you and to Baderous if my reply to him was in any way offensive to any of you. That was not my intention, it has never been. I joined this community to learn and help others learn as much as I can.
Thanks for your thorough explanation of the matter, you are right in what you say. But I've re-read my comment and yours a few times and I do not see how they could be opposite. My comment says the same thing you say, which is that instead of translating word-for-word, we should look at how they are used in the culture in which they were created. So, in the two cultures we are contrasting, when they leave and expect to see each other again at some point, in english they say "Goodbye" and in french "au revoir". Even if they are not literal translations of each other, they convey the same meaning. That's what I meant in my original reply and is exactly what you say. So I cannot understand why you went out of your way to reply to me as if I were saying the opposite.
Regarding the original version of your comment: I am not American. English is my second language and french, my third. I am a last-year, translation student and one of the most important things that we learn here is to use functional equivalents or cultural equivalents instead of literal translations whenever it's needed. And in this case it is.
Another example of cultural equivalents is popular sayings. For example when something bad happens and we want to say that something good will come out of it in english they say "every black cloud has a silver lining" and in french they say "après la pluie, le beau temps". They are not literal, word-for-word translations of each other, and if someone translated them literally to their language they might not really get what it means. But they both express the same meaning, same thought and they are used in the same situations. So they are equivalents, not literal translations.
Here's a good read I found about this:
Having said all this, again, I apologize. I came here to learn and help, and not to misinform the members of this amazing site.
You're so very welcome! I'm 50 and was walking in the street this summer and the air was perfumed full of Linden blossoms lining both sides of the street and it had never touched my soul, my consciousness, to that depth before in my life. And I was baffled at how I could have missed noticing, falling in love with, something so absolutely beautiful for all of these years... the point I suppose, is it's never too late to learn and indeed, at least for me, its what makes life so wonderful to live every day! :)