1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "The bourgeois"

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

"The bourgeois"

December 19, 2012

15 Comments


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

The heck? I've never seen that word before.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/antonella21

It's a French word. It indicates in a slightly pejorative way well-off people with very conformist views, etc. Italian has the correspondent 'Borghesia'. Methinks Bourgeois and Bourgeoisie are terms probably more known in mainland Europe.


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

I do not believe it was only french. In my dictionary it says in English it was bourg and then later in the 16 cent it was combine with the french word and now it is just bourgeois. But I do seriously hate this word I can barely pronounce it right


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

Bürger simply means citizen if I am not mistaken. Why this weird term bourgeois then? Are we taking lessons in Marxism? :S


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

Yes, but I believe Bürger has connotations in German that citizen doesn't have in English. Ein Bürger is going to be a solid, middle-class guy -- well-off, even, but never an aristocrat -- that's a different class entirely. It goes back to the days when people were citizens of their particular town, and had voting rights there, and had other rights in consequence of their town citizenship.

But in the US, anyway, if you refer to an individual person as "the citizen" you sound, gasp, like a communist (very scary to US folk) even though you can talk about "being a good citizen" and sound perfectly patriotic.

"The townsman" might get a little closer.to what Bürger means in German.

I believe "bourgeois" before the French revolution meant the same thing as Bürger; they were the middle class who had property and voting rights within their towns, and were making money, as opposed to the Aristos who had even more power and wealth, and the starving populace.

So this all gets tied up in franchise, and economics, and class conflict...


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

Should we avoid using Burger when only referring to citizens, then? If it has similar connotations to bourgeois, that's pretty political.


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

No, you can use Bürger; although the etymology of the term is similar to bourgeois, it never picked up those connotations, what with Germany having a very different economic and political history than France.

It just makes it hard to translate into English. If you can, maybe just leave it as "Bürger".


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

Would be nice if you introduced the words to us in German before asking for their translation. Unless we are supposed to just look words up in the dictionary.


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

In American English, "bourgeois" is only used to mean "citizen" in the broadest, figurative sense. It is much more likely to be thought of as a specific class distinction of the citizenry. The average American wouldn't consider it to be a synonym for Bürger. Therefore, I would flag this question for removal on the basis that it is a poor choice for learning.


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

the bourgeois is also plural


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

The problem is that the translations provided when one clicks on a word are not always the ones that the program later asks for. The definitions are less sophisticated than the exercises.


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

Also, this could be plural.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pauline5

LOL, SlyRatchet, I have to agree what the heck is that?


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

I've never seen such English word so it's kinda difficult to translate it...


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

you can always mouse over "Bourgeuois" and if you see a German word you have recently learned, it's probably the one the program is looking for. No need for a dictionary! ; )

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