Coupe

Coupe.
Nom féminin.

Aujourd’hui j’ai vu trois tracteurs lourdement chargés rangés sur le bord de l’“autoroute”. (Qu’est-ce qu’ils fichent là ?) “Tiens, me suis-je alors dit, la coupe a commencé.”

Oui, la coupe, la récolte de la canne à sucre, the back-breaking activity that brought so many people on Mauritius’ shores against their will. Voilà donc un mot de plus pour cette collection. Je ne pense pas avoir jamais entendu quelqu’un ici préciser « de la canne », sauf peut-être s’il s’agissait de faire une mise au point pour un étranger. Dans la conversation courante on ne parle pas de « moisson » ou de « récolte » — sauf, à la rigueur, quand on est un journaliste essayant de sonner français. Non, c’est tout simplement « la coupe », point.

Pour couper la canne point de coupe-coupe, mais une serpe, ou, plus rarement, un sabre. (A la Réunion, l’expression consacrée est sabre à cannes, parfois confondue avec sarbacane, le roseau dans lequel on souffle, mot lui-même emprunté par l’espagnol à l’arabe.) Machette, mot d’origine espagnole, n’est pas utilisé non plus.

Traditionnellement, les champs sont brûlés juste avant que les cannes soient coupées à grands coups de serpe, pour les débarrasser de leurs feuilles et pour les débarrasser des nids de mouches jaunes qu’ils peuvent contenir. Mais les « escarbilles » que cela génère embêtent tellement les riverains que l’habitude est peu à peu délaissée.

Au début de l’hiver, à partir du mois de mai, les cannes commencent à fleurir, ce qui revêt les champs d’un tapis mauve aux reflets argentés qui peuvent tourner à l’incandescence lorsque, la lumière devenant rasante, on les voit à contrejour.

Fleurs de cannes.

Cannes en fleurs.

Cannes en fleurs.

Fleurs de cannes.

Traditionnellement encore, le début de la coupe fait l’objet de cérémonies plus ou moins illaïques. Elles frisent parfois le ridicule le plus achevé.

When will we see yer like again...     (Clickable image.)

When will we see yer like again... (Clickable image.)

(To be continued…)

║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║

Addendum 1.
13 juin 2009.

Quelques outils tranchants illustrés par le très bon coup de crayon de Y. :

Serpe, sandokan, panga
(Illustrations exécutées au pied levé, debout sous une varangue. — Cliquable.)

Pour moi Sandokan est avant tout un héros de série télévisée, mais je pense que donner ce nom à un sabre est tout à fait justifié. Seule la serpe (celle utilisée pour couper les cannes) est d’une seule pièce, étant faite d’un seul morceau d’acier. Les autres, y compris la serpe « de jardin » — celle que Monsieur Toulmonde a chez lui —, ont un manche en bois susceptible de se démantibuler avec le temps.

Cette année-ci aussi le Premier ministre a cherché à s’approcher de Dieu à Camp-Diable :

Présence du Premier ministre pour la traditionnelle prière du coup d'envoi de la "récolte sucrière". (Une du Mauricien du 5 juin 2009.)

Présence du Premier ministre dimanche à l'Amma Tookay Kovil de Camp-Diable pour la traditionnelle prière du coup d'envoi de la 'récolte sucrière'. (Une du Mauricien du vendredi 5 juin 2009. — Cliquable.)

Traditionnellement toujours, le « coup d’envoi » de la coupe est donné par le ministre de l’agriculture, au-dessus du tapis roulant d’une des usines sucrières après qu’un employé modèle lui a tendu une gerbe de cannes. Et il s’agit bien d’un coup — de serpe en l’occurrence.
 
 

≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈

 
 
Cannes-à-sucres
 
 

≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈

 
 
Cannes dépaillées
 
Coupe_manuelle_1
 
 

≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈

 
 
Champ_coupe
 
 
Tracteur_de_cannes
 
 
Rolling_hills_behind--en_fleur
 
 
Mécaniquement_coupé

Coupe manuelle. A gauche de la photo on voit ce qui est appelé une corbeille, laquelle sert de réceptacle de cannes que l'on remplit avant de tirer sur un camion à l'aide d'un ingénieux système de winch, de câble et de roulettes.

Coupe manuelle. A gauche de la photo on voit ce qui est appelé une corbeille, laquelle sert de réceptacle de cannes que l'on remplit avant de le tirer sur un camion à l'aide d'un ingénieux système de winch, de câble et de roulettes.

Brûlage de cannes.

Brûlage de cannes.

 

 

_______

Mise à jour du 31 octobre 2013.

Le 8 novembre 2013 a lieu le “vernissage” d’une exposition de pastels de Siddick Nuckcheddy consacrés au camion Bedford, le camion de cannes par excellence, encore très largement utilisé pendant la coupe avec son système de corbeille (cf. ci-dessus).

Exposition_camion_de_cannes

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62 réponses à “Coupe

  1. A. J. P. Crown

    ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈

    Slightly off-topic, but I’m impressed by this pattern. It looks Japanese.

  2. You’re right, it’s Japanese. It’s the cane and the wind on the water.

  3. A. J. P. Crown

    If that’s a haiku, it’s only sixteen syllables — you probably meant ‘it is’ the cane.

  4. «◊»«◊»«◊»«◊»«◊»
    ?

  5. You’re right again. We tend much too often to swallow a sound here and there, lazy bunch that we are.

  6. A. J. P. Crown

    She’s so competitive.

  7. But she loves diamonds, no?

    Oh, maybe these are sugar crystals! When you visit a sugar factory it’s fascinating to see crystals forming in the brownish paste that looks somehow like mud.

    You put the water and the wind outside the cane, whereas in the first place I contained them between the cane. Each possibility has its own meaning and implication, but I prefer the latter.

  8. A. J. P. Crown

    Once again, slightly off the topic (too bad, because I love sugar cane), I see that l’Express and Le Mauricien have little bits of English here and there, as if they know its readers are bilingual. That’s an unusual practice in other parts of the world — or maybe not?

  9. A. J. P. Crown

    I prefer the latter
    That’s funny; I thought you would, when I did it. My reasoning for thinking you would was that as an engineer you wouldn’t like the unsupported spans at the ends.

  10. Haïku rhumier :

    Le vent dans les cannes
    Hier le champ a brûlé
    Le feu, l’eau s’égouttent

  11. I knew it must be something organic–yes, you have inspired me in spite of the French.

    See sugar crystals
    Form in the brownish paste that
    Somehow looks like mud.

  12. in spite of the French

    Come on, don’t be mean…

  13. I prefer the latter
    That’s funny; I thought you would, when I did it.

    Actually I got it wrong: I meant the former! That’s why I changed the sequence on the second one, before realising that it was what you had done.

  14. But the word order here is everything, no?

    See sugar crystals
    Form in the brownish paste that
    Looks somehow like mud.

    Yes.

  15. Funny that you mention the word order because I first wrote the brownish paste that looks somehow like mud before changing it to the brownish paste that somehow looks like mud, before going back to the first try. I can’t explain why though. Just a feeling, which might as well be right or wrong.

  16. Looks again like an haïku – in spite of English.
    Sig, it’s your turn, we wait for the morysian haïkuish celebration of the canne à sucre.

  17. A. J. P. Crown

    ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈
    goes better with the water imagery.

    ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║ ≈ ║
    this is more like a goldfish tank.

  18. Sig, it’s your turn
    That WAS Sig’s haiku. I only put it into seventeen syllables. Sig writes compact little crystal thoughts and you only have to brush the dust away to have your poem.

  19. Well?????

    When the blog was first born, I put everything into the FoxLingo translate page so I could follow its first steps, but now that it can walk on its own, it’s just too much cut and paste. Also the translation really isn’t that good.

  20. Funny that you mention the word order…I can’t explain why though. Just a feeling,

    With poetry, feeling is everything.

    The reader has to stop in the headlong rush to finish the sentence so that the mud stands apart.

  21. Sig writes compact little crystal thoughts

    Bien malgré moi*…

    * Sorry Nijma, I haven’t got a clue about how to say this in English, and anyway I’m too tired to think properly now. It’s just time to go home and have a drink.
    — Rhum et eau ?
    Ottez Ôtez l’eau.

    But I do have a little bit of energy left to ask if for you it would rather be « Siganus’s haiku » or « Siganus’ haiku »? And if it’s the first option, do you think there would still be a good deal of English-speaking people choosing the second possibility?

  22. It’s mostly to do with the fact that « official » matters are dealt with mostly in English, while people find it easier to read French when it comes to everyday, « normal » things. Once upon a time Indian investors (not speaking a word of French) decided to create a new daily in Mauritius. They found out (decided?) it would work better if it wasn’t an English newspaper. Therefore its name is Le Matinal and it’s mostly written in French.

  23. zerbinette

    😆

  24. Bien malgré moi= »Despite me » (maybe « in spite of myself » or « without trying »)

    — Rhum et eau ?
    — Ottez l’eau.
    =
    Rum and water?
    – Ottez water

    My grammar books are all in boxes now, so I can’t look up your question. I would prefer to write it as it sounds, but then how would you distinguish singular Sigs from plural Sigs?

  25. As far as I can tell, Ottez is a Basque surname, but what he is doing with the water is anybody’s guess.

  26. Ottez l’eau ?

    Un accès de jalousie, à mon avis…

  27. Nijma, the verb « otter » « ôter » means « to remove » and ottez ôtez is the imperative (written without the vous pronoun in this mood). So the person is being asked to remove the water.

    We are talking of sugar cane here, and further up A15 used the adjective « rhumier » while AJP talked of the water imagery. Therefore it made some sense to mix rum with water (Roméo), before being asked to remove the water (Othello).

    (NB: Siganus’ is not plural. The question was about the possessive indicated by the apostrophe.)

  28. Nice series of puns, no wonder you blog in French. All I can say at this point is
    صحة
    « Saha »…to your health.

  29. A propos : « ôter », et non « otter »…

  30. Bien vu Aquinze. Vous avez un œil de correcteur semble-t-il, le gauche peut-être.😉 (Mais l’erreur était tellement hénaurme…)

    Pendant des années le seul avion qu’on pouvait prendre pour aller à la Réunion voisine, la plus proche terre étrangère, était un coucou de 12 à 20 places : un Twin Otter. Je ne suis jamais monté dedans — du moins je ne m’en souviens pas —, mais il paraît que l’expérience valait la peine d’être vécue, surtout quand il y avait du vent, comme cela est souvent le cas à Gillot.

  31. marie-lucie

    In France it is very common, especially in popular magazines such as fashion magazines. People like to show off their knowledge of English (even if it is minimal).

  32. AJP : I love sugar cane

    I’ve added more of it in the post. Since I’m fairly bad at poetry, I let you write a haiku that could accompany the painting. You or anybody else who feels like it. I’ll then paste it under the canvas…

  33. What about a cinquain? It’s even French.
    ..although Sig’s prose seems to lend itself to the haiku form very nicely.

  34. Thanks Nijma. I’ll stick to the « malgré moi » part of it though.

    Regarding the little survey I’m trying to do, would you rather write « Siganus’ prose » or « Siganus’s prose »? Would it be « kids’ club » or « kids’s club »? « Mothers’ love » or « mothers’s love »?

    (Any other English-speaking mosquito person’s contribution is welcome.)

  35. A. J. P. Crown

    These kids who carry clubs, is that a problem in Mauritius?

  36. Sig, there is an impressive article in Wikipedia about the possessive apostrophe

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostrophe#Possessive_apostrophe

    Quote : « A 2008 survey found that nearly half of the UK adults polled were unable to use the apostrophe correctly. »

  37. Thanks, Afifteen.

    A 2008 survey found that nearly half of the UK adults polled were unable to use the apostrophe correctly.

    Hmmm, maybe that’s why neither Nijma nor AJP wanted to stick their neck out… (I wonder if people like Language Hat and Noetica would have a final say on the matter, if such a thing can ever be achieved.)

  38. Yes, clubs have been a problem in Mauritius for ages, because they were (and still are) divided along racial lines. And since kids tend to carry on with the bad habits their parents had, things take a lot of time to change.

  39. Have a look at the (endless) discussion under this topic on Wiki. At this remark, in particular, which might comfort you in your Siganus’ way of writing… :

    « Proscriptive statements about this issue are generally erroneous. There are two extreme schools of thought. One says that you must use -‘s in all cases, regardless how the word ends. The other says that if the word ends in a /s/ or a /z/ sound, use only -‘. Various other systems achieve different levels of middleground. As a philologist, I have seen many older documents, and in them, the second rule tends to prevail, although there are some authors who use -‘s if the word ends with -x, -z, or -ce, but many do not. The « must use -‘s in all cases » rule appears to have originated during the Purist movement of the nineteenth century, in which many rules were changed from natural rules to positive laws based on « logic ». This is where the rule against double negatives originated. Since, in many words this produced unnaturally difficult pronunciations, some post Purist grammaticians invented an exception to the rule, by which -‘ could be used if -‘s caused a difficult pronunciation, such as in « Archimedes’s ». My general inclination is to ignore most Purist rules as they are unnatural and fly in the face of the language’s genius. And as a philologist, I can only say that the spelling should reflect the speech. If you pronounce what belongs to James as « Jameses », spell it « James’s ». If you pronounce it « James », spell it thus. The same goes for words like « Marx » and « Justice » which do not end in -s. Since different people pronounce these different ways–I, for one, pronounce an extra syllable on almost none of these–no definite rule can be applied, and it is foolish for the article to proscribe so certainly. »

  40. Well then, Sig, here I have the impression that you missed a « bon mot » from A.J.P. Crown. Was he not playing with the word « club » (as in « golf club », i.e. that one which has a slender shaft and a head of wood or iron, and which is often carried by kids in some paradisiac golf courses), was he ?

  41. Yes, I’m sure he was. And I’m sure he must be playing golf on his frozen Norwegian lake when it’s time to hibernate.

    My answer was much too serious. I probably deserve to be hit on the head with a knobkierie. (Maybe the word « club » is too much of a touchy issue over here.)

  42. Proscriptive statements about this issue are generally erroneous.

    Proscriptive, from proscribe? I know somewhat more about the war between prescriptivists and descriptivists*. I have never met a proscriptivist, who seems to be from a third tribe (related to the first one though). Actually I have never realised how close the words proscribe and prescribe are in English.

    * by the way, and out of the right way, this blog is mostly a descriptivist one, which means that some of the things written here ought not be repeated

  43. Sent last night by the New York Times:

    « Nicholas D. Kristof’s and Readers’ Suggestions on the Best Kids’ Books »

  44. Sig, « readers » and « kids » are normal plural nouns with an added s. In this case, the universally accepted rule is that no extra s is added in the possessive.

    If those suggestions were made by a Ms Readers on books written by a Mr Kids, things would be different. Depending on how you pronounce it, you may choose to spell it « Readers’s suggestions on Kids’s books »…

  45. I wonder, however, what would be the spelling for the suggestions made by the New York Times…

  46. Aquinze, cela devient trop compliqué pour ma grosse tête. Je trouve finalement plus simple de m’en tenir à l’habitude de ne jamais rajouter de -s, quelle que soit la prononciation.

    Pour ce qui est du NYT, on peut trouver ceci dans leurs propres pages :

    The New York Times’s policy prohibits staff members from accepting gifts of more than trivial value.
    http://partners.nytimes.com/library/politics/camp/031000wh-dem-bradley.html

    It’s lovely – if you enjoy hearing about how brilliant Ann Coulter is, how misguided The New York Times’s editorial page is, and how valiant the president is as he tries to stop America’s slide into paganism.
    (By the sharp-tongued Ms Dowd.)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/28/opinion/28dowd.html

    About 800 demonstrators protesting the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti and The New York Times’s coverage of the coup gathered in front of the Times building on West 43d Street in Manhattan last night.
    http://www.nytimes.com/1991/10/23/nyregion/800-marchers-protest-times-s-haiti-coverage.html

  47. I get confused.

    The third article you quote, mentions « the Times building » : assuming that this building belongs to the New York Times, it should be, at least, the Times’ building, if not the Times’s building… See also, further down in the article, « the Times correspondent », and « the Times article ».

  48. « The Times building » doesn’t make me uncomfortable. You could well see it as the name of the building, like the Chrysler building or the Sears tower.

    I would also tend to write « a New York Times editorial », « this BBC programme », « the CNN reporter » and so on. If we think it the French way then there is a « de la » or a « du » that should be used to mark the possessive, but I think it works quite well without any apostrophe in English.

  49. A15, I just saw that on the BBC website:

    « The Sears Tower in Chicago – one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world – is being renamed.

    The 110-storey structure, which opened in 1973, is being rechristened the Willis Tower on Thursday.

    London-based insurance brokerage Willis Group Holdings (…) »

    So no « Willis’s Tower » either…

    Likewise, near Paris don’t they speak of « la tour Total » or « la tour Areva » instead of « la tour de Total » and « la tour d’Areva »?

    http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tour_Areva

  50. Yes, they bought the naming rights for 15 years. The CEO that negotiated the deal says he doesn’t care if they call it « The Big Willie ». ¡Qué barbaridád! I say the years will pass quickly.

  51. I believe they are also renting three floors in the building.

    I used to go in that building to repair the little computer that ran a system to send messages from one floor to another in a tiny elevator shaft. It was a PDP1105 with a teletype, very old equipment at that time, and no one knew how the whole thing worked–the techie guy had job security for sure. We just kept pouring oil on the teletype from a ketchup bottle and prayed our part of it wouldn’t break.

  52. My books are still in boxes, so I’m still going to pass on your apostrophe question for now again, but I feel secure there is a definitive answer, in spite of the supposed controversy. At one time I had it down pat, but I would be afraid to try it now without the book.

    I just wanted to mention though, that the mosquitoes we sometimes call « skeeters ».

  53. I am eagerly waiting for the (final) truth to come out…

  54. I felt a disturbance in the force concerning apostrophes. As the most tenacious keeper of the relevant article at Wikipedia, I came here as soon as I could.

    So, what was the question?

    [By the way, caro Signore: may we persist in hoping that you will grace Lost for Words: II, chez Hat, with an appearance? Tabellion has been linked, and we need you to … well, to maintain standards. Now, I hope all markup worked. No preview? Ah!]

  55. If Noetica is hot on the case, I must try the puzzle quickly then, in spite of my current state of extreme fatigue, before he renders a definitive answer.

    So the question is:

    Regarding the little survey I’m trying to do, would you rather write “Siganus’ prose” or “Siganus’s prose”? Would it be “kids’ club” or “kids’s club”? “Mothers’ love” or “mothers’s love”?

    The last part is the easiest, since they are pure examples of single and plural possessive nouns.

    singular: kid’s club, mother’s love
    plural: kids’ club, mothers’ love
    …and here is an example of a plural noun that does not end in « s » —
    plural: children’s play

    The hard part is, of course, the singular noun that ends in « s », in this case « Siganus ». I have checked four different ESL grammars, and none of them will touch it. For me, avoidance is the best course of action, which is why I rendered it as Sig’s. But that wasn’t the question. The question was about « Siganus ». So here is what I think I remember. I think the correct answer from school in the 1960’s isSiganus’. But I don’t like it, because how do you know it is not the possession of more than one Sinagu. So in order to keep it from looking like a plural word you have to write Siganus’s. Now I can see it is not a plural word, but there is a new problem–it doesn’t « look right ». [So, …Sig’s…and I am happy, since I know this is correct and « looks right ».] Still, this (Siganus’s) is what I would prefer, if I could not rewrite the problem.

    And now we will see what Noetica says.

  56. Noetica, Nijma summarised it: it had to do with the possessive marked by an apostrophe with (a lot of) respect to words ending with an -s, comme le nom de ton serviteur. Aquinze said he/she/it* was disturbed by the fact that the NYT wrote “the Times building”, “the Times correspondent” or “the Times article”. To me that looks all right. (Mais ne me demande pas pourquoi, je ne saurais le dire avec toute l’exactitude requise.)

    Regarding the Hattic note, I’m so sooorry, but the pace of life was going somewhat too fast for my siganid vital capacity. (I’ve heard about fishes having lungs. That must be utterly ridiculous!) What was it all about?
     
     
    Nijma: I think the correct answer from school in the 1960’s is Siganus’.

    Then that’s probably why I have some sort of physical reluctance to add a second -s. It’s almost Pavlovian in my case. But why the apostrophe at 1960’s?
     
     
    * Aquinze, for your information Noetica is a genderless entity, which does not mean that he/she/it is sexless, okay?

  57. Mes chers,

    I think you have sorted out the apostrophes without my intervention. Opinions differ on Siganus'[s] and the like; there is no single definitive answer, as the Wikipedia article makes clear with surveys and minute analyses of intractabilia like « The Beaux[‘][s] Stratagem » and « the two Dumas'[s] rivalry ». I remain, of course, à votre service s’il y reste quelque difficulté, mais … I too am preoccupied!

    And when we both have more leisure, Signoid, let us remember that we owe each other seven emails, by my calculations.

    Nous restons, très respectueusement et avec l’assurance de toute amitié qui soit concevable, les vôtres,

    N

  58. why the apostrophe at 1960’s?

    I was taught to write 1960’s, 1970’s etc. or just to abbreviate 60’s and 70’s. Lately I have seen it written as 60s and 70s. Looks like 60 shillings? Still this seems like a less cumbersome way to write it, as an apostrophe takes both an uncomfortable move with the non-dominant pinkie finger on the right hand and a simultaneous move to the impossibly located shift key with the other pinkie. So I have just picked it up and used it without ever having been formally instructed, just because it makes sense to me, and also probably because I have seen it used in some impeccable source or other and it « looked right ».

    In the paragraph above, I typed it the old way automatically and decided to leave it. I think it looks very Walter Cronkite.

    « The Times building » and « the Washington Post article » look all right to me.

    The s’s is creepy, isn’t it. And it’s hard to explain why. It’s like that overly friendly acquaintance of your uncle you don’t want to notice you. I would also do almost anything to avoid having to pronounce « Jameses » .

    By rights I should also be putting a ? after « isn’t it », but I have noticed lately that I have been dropping question marks on tags. Maybe it’s because I hate uptalk and have seen question marks used to indicate uptalk on cartoons.

  59. Ah, there’s Noetica now. « Minute analyses of intractabilia »–I like that.

  60. Aquinze said he/she/it was disturbed by the fact that the NYT wrote “the Times building”, “the Times correspondent” or “the Times article”.

    No. I said I was getting confused to see « the Times building » and « the Times article » in a Times article entitled « 800 Marchers Protest Times’s Haiti Coverage« 

  61. N : Nous restons, très respectueusement et avec l’assurance de toute amitié qui soit concevable, les vôtres

    Ah, yes, I forgot that you were plural as well. Just like « les cannes », which some people would like to call « la canne », as if there was just one of them. Like I said once, those who have to cut them know full well that they are plural too.

  62. Siganus Sutor

    « Le Bedford et la canne, une histoire à deux », exposition de Siddick Nuckcheddy à la galerie Ilha do Cirne le 8 novembre (cf. la mise à jour du billet ci-dessus).

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