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Cars - Carver One - "Pendulaire" translation

A current translation task has the word "pendulaire" in the title. It is used in Swiss French (definitely, including newspaper headlines) as an adjective to mean to do with commuting, It is used in Canada, but I have no way of checking how widely, and possibly in Belgium. It does not seem to be used in the French of France.

July 13, 2012



The Carver One is a 3-wheeled vehicle that tilts into corners, providing better traction, similar to the way a motorcyle naturally performs or the technology used on the experimental Pendolino train in the UK. Haven't seen the translation, but I guess "tilt", "tilting", "leaning" or even "dynamic roadholding" or "dynamic suspension" would be appropriate terms.


As you know, "pendulaire" is an adjective coming from Latin (pendulus = which is suspended). I should think this is rather technical, related to back and forth movements, like older clocks equipped with a "mouvement pendulaire". You may encounter it when it comes to figurative comparisons like the fact that electors vote for the right then for the left. But again, it is not widely used in France.


I have no doubt that the "winner" will be "tilting" because the trike does tilt, the very next sentence starts with "Le trike inclinable..." and all the translations I looked at said "tilting". I am not editing mine but leaving it as "commuting", without conviction.

Now I can see the connection between the meanings of "pendular" and the meaning of the adjective "pendulaire" to mean daily travel to work. The swinging pendulum is a good image for the constant to-and-fro. I wonder if we are dealing with a play of words?

A couple of sources: http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/francais-definition/migration%20pendulaire Another discussion here:http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1157622


@Mizotte - thanks for that insight. I love to understand the origin and meaning of words, and how the images they conjure up translate between cultures. My immediate thought on the origin of "pendulaire", meaning "commute", was of "straphangers" swinging from the straps in metros and buses. No such luck; my Robert gives the French translation as "voyageur debout". How very boring!

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