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funfly
11th Jun 2014, 20:38
Good french speakers are required to settle an Art History puzzle.

Marcel Duchamp took a copy of the Mona Lisa and he wrote on the bottom
L H O O Q - which, when spoken by a local sounds like: "Elle a chaud au cul".

Most literature states that someone reading would understand it as
"She is hot in the arse".

However my Art tutor was emphatic that this was a 'polite' translation and to a frenchman it would sound more like: "She is hot in the C (front bottom)".

Anyone with good enough understanding of colloquial french solve the riddle for me - what is the real answer?

p.s. I know I should have put LHOOQ as the title but it was a mistake and I cannot edit titles!!

Dushan
12th Jun 2014, 03:15
I think you can edit a title. I did a few days ago.

Cacophonix
12th Jun 2014, 03:34
She is hot in the C (front bottom)

I sincerely hope we get to the bottom of this conundrum... ;)

Caco

Mac the Knife
12th Jun 2014, 05:00
Your art tutor is wrong.

Q is pronounced cul (the l is silent) - it is never pronounced con (with a hard c)

It is your teacher who is the "con" (or possibly a little anatomically confused!)

"Elle a chaud au cul" anyway means effectively that she has hot pants so the meaning that she is sexy is the same - it is just that the Q calembour (pun) doesn't work with "con".

Mac

:ok:

Tankertrashnav
12th Jun 2014, 08:34
The 60's show with the puzzling title "Oh Calcutta", which appeared to have no connection with the content, was a rough transliteration of "Oh, quel cul t'as (tu as)" which means ""Oh what an arse you've got!"

Cacophonix
12th Jun 2014, 10:18
One of the reasons I like JB, a span of experience and knowledge that covers everything from installing Samsung smart televisions to French argot! ;)

I took the liberty of e-mailing my brother, whose disreputable life in the banlieues of Bordeaux makes him, to my mind at least, a credible commentator, with the original question and he said the same as The Knife, so there it is!

Caco

Lon More
12th Jun 2014, 14:34
The 60's show with the puzzling title "Oh Calcutta", which appeared to have no connection with the content, was a rough transliteration of "Oh, quel cul t'as (tu as)" which means ""Oh what an arse you've got!"

worthy of Qi

MagnusP
12th Jun 2014, 14:53
Company GPT suffered some ribbing in France, too.

Tankertrashnav
12th Jun 2014, 23:16
Took me a while to twig that one Magnus!

MagnusP
13th Jun 2014, 07:59
... and you stayed up until after midnight! I'm impressed. ;)

probes
14th Jun 2014, 06:41
One of the reasons I like JB, a span of experience and knowledge that covers everything from installing Samsung smart televisions to French argot!
absolutely. Also it's encouraging to know a big bottom can be seen as a nice Calcutta. :8

mixture
16th Jun 2014, 18:49
funfly,

The answer is on Wikipedia here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.H.O.O.Q.), backed up by a reference to an interview given by Duchamp where you may find an explanation straight from the horses' mouth.

funfly
16th Jun 2014, 22:12
Mixture,

I am well aware of the Wiki description (you don't have to believe everything on wilki) as well as many provided by even more authoritative sources.

What our lecturer was trying to say is that the written reports were always on the 'safe' side but the real meaning was something else.

I assume he was wrong but my french was never good enough to understand if this was fact or fiction.

I am persuaded that he was wrong and the phrase did indeed translate as bottom or arse or areas to that effect.

My next investigation is to try and determine if the artist thought the play on letters himself then applied it to the postcards etc. or if it was a current 'in' joke at the time which he then used, possibly much to the amusement of his friends.

HyFlyer
17th Jun 2014, 12:12
Your French teacher makes a point...but a subtle one.

'cul' does normally translate as 'arse' or rear-end....or even for US readers 'fanny'....(again causing a problem with a different interpretation to UK English speakers).

However by translating the expression as she has a hot-arse, a slightly wrong impression is given of the original sense of the expression as an natural English speaker would more take that to mean she had a nice (attractive) and sexy looking posterior or demeanor ....this isn't exactly the sense of the French.

....it's more like ....'she's a randy little piece of tail' could be a way of explaining the excat meaning....and implying that she was interested and desirous that her 'front' be serviced........

Accurate translation is an art...and takes time and imagination.

FlamantRose
18th Jun 2014, 01:49
As a matter of fact both "L.H.O.O.Q." and "C'est un Chaud Lapin" get on together pretty well.!!!

SOPS
18th Jun 2014, 11:09
Can I just confirm this? Is a nice bottom, as seen on JB, now officially known as a Calcutta? Is that correct?:E

Cacophonix
18th Jun 2014, 11:11
now officially known as a Calcutta? Is that correct?:E

It appears so and I blame Probes for this! ;)

Caco

SOPS
18th Jun 2014, 11:30
So it's time for a Calcutta thread then?:E

Cacophonix
19th Jun 2014, 09:25
I shall never think of the black hole of Calcutta in quite the same way again... :eek:

Caco