Translation:I am so hungry that I could eat a horse.
Given recent events in europe, it shouldn't be too hard for the speaker to find a horse!
Quite the opposite, because of the recent events, there are no more horses left ;)
Pffft, nothing wrong with eating horses – very nice meat, providing it’s not a work or race horse. In fact, it’s quite common to eat them in many parts of Europe – at the very least in Slovenia, Switzerland and France.
The meat is dry and sweet. I would eat it readily as long as the horse has had a good life and death.
Formerly a very common meat in Quebec as well, although pushback from the RSPCA and federal legislation has been making it disappear from store shelves.
We also have it in Poland, but apparently we can get even hungrier than the French, because "we could eat a horse with its hooves" :D
there is a horse section in the butcher area of my local carrefour supermarket here in the french alps. i kid you not.
The comment was written 2 years ago. At that time, in Europe, there was a big scandal of big companies selling horse meat as beef...
There is a similar expression in Polish (and probably in other european languages as well, including English : http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/I_could_eat_a_horse), and we even add "with hooves". Noone is eating horses here ( at least not on purpose) and horse meat is not part of polish cuisine.
Actually, yes. Cheval here is meant to be seen as a big quantity of food. (That's the way I've thought about this idiomatic expression since childhood.) You could say "J'ai si faim que je pourrais manger un éléphant" without changing the meaning.
However, mptmpt's comment had me thinking about the "taboo" implication of eating a horse. I guess a city girl like me didn't consider the bond between the horse and its owner.
Hi, most of my French friends rather use "je mangerais une vache", so a cow instead of a horse.
Is this pharse actually native in French or just a verbatim translation from English?
Except that it is not an idiom (an expression which has a meaning completely different from its literal translation). It is rather a metaphor for being hungry enough to eat an impossibly large amount of food.
The Present Conditional form of most verbs uses "would" + verb. Two notable exceptions are pouvoir (all cases in Present Conditional use "could" -or- "would be able to") and devoir (all cases in Present Conditional use "should" or "ought to"). Source: Barron's 501 French Verbs.
Since the subjects are the same ("je" and "je"), should one use an infinitive there instead? I.e., "J'ai si faim de pouvoir manger un cheval." Maybe I'm constructing it wrong, please correct as necessary.
Yes, "J'ai si faim ...." = I am so hungry.... You may also use "tellement" : J'ai tellement faim que....
Or even, "I could eat a scabby horse and his jockey". What would that be in French?
Well the sentence consists of two verbs: Pouvoir and manger. Pouvoir is the verb that has been conjugated in time and person. "Pouvoir" means: "To be able to". "Je pourrais" is the present conditionnel: hence: "I WOULD be able to"
Not precisely the same, it is used, in British English at least, for being extremely hungry, in the same way as we might say "I am starving" - not literally true but a bit of hyperbole.
I'm going to argue that "je pourrias manger un cheval" is literally "i would be able to eat a horse" and is the same thing as "i could eat a horse." In support of my contention, DL itself gives both "would be able" and "could" as acceptable translations in their "we could live here in peace" example.
Speaking of literal, the introductory clause is literally, "I have such hunger ..." but DL shot me down on that one too!
I am so hungry that I could eat a horse
Although marked correct by DL its one of those you would rarely hear ... far more likely to hear 'I'm so hungry I could eat a horse'