Racy cross-sex pairing

Spotted in Maurice Bloch's "Kinship terms are not kinship" Doug Jones' "Human kinship, from conceptual structure to grammar": a half-glimpsed vision of a translation police state.

There are many other ways of classifying cousins and other kin. For example, French makes a sex distinction among cousins that English and Seneca don’t. Consider the French movie title Cousin, Cousine: A close translation, following anthropological convention, would be Parent's Sibling's Son, Parent's Sibling's Daughter. But the English language remake of the movie was instead entitled Cousins, losing the racy cross-sex pairing of the original.

It's that "instead ... losing" that gets me — it seems to suggest that the title Parent's Sibling's Son, Parent's Sibling's Daughter, whatever its failings, would at least have been racy.

Popularity factor: 8

David Shadoff:

It would seem that the original French title implied something about the content of the movie - perhaps a relationship, or differences between male and female cousins, or even transgendering. In that way, neither suggested English title is suitable. Perhaps instead, "Cousin..." (Of course, one should probably watch the movie before attempting to give it a title...)


"Me and my cousin?" "My beautiful cousin?"


"Shelbyville Story", obviously.


Les Cousins Dangereux


Aw shucks..whay hasn't anyone mentioned Kissin' Cousins yet?


In Bloch's defense, any criticisms of tonedeafery should be directed to Doug Jones, who wrote the linke article. Bloch's contribution is a critical comment responding to the article on p. 384.


Whoops, that's embarrassing! I'll correct that ASAP.

Tim May:

<i>C♂usin, C♀usin</i>.

Aime la vérité, mais pardonne à l'erreur

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