Friday, December 28, 2007

French Phrase #1

élan vital
vital, creative force

From Les Bons Mots: Literally, "vital ardor." The French philosopher Henri Bergson (1859-1941) advanced the idea that a creative force of living things is responsible for growth, change, and desirable adaptations of organisms. The phrase was taken into English without change of meaning or pronunciation, indicating that there is no better way to express élan vital.

11 comments:

Run Around Paris said...

I'm gonna need to get a little more élan vital this year!

Colleen said...

I love philosophy.

That is a fairly new word. I was curious of the etymology of the word but was distracted by the thesaurus entries: Life, Life force and Psyche.

Randal Graves said...

Now that's something to use in a poem, though I think my élan vital is broken.

b said...

RAP... we all need our élan vital this year more than ever, don't we?!

Colleen... I love philosophy as well. Thanks for the etymology. It is interesting how the literal meaning of two words can come together and become something so brilliant.

Randal... Your élan vital is broken? Is there any greater reason to substantiate that you must go to Paris this next year?!

Zen Chef said...

Those are perfect words to begin the New Year with. 'Elan vital' is such a nice way to describe that creative force that always pushes us to do better. It's funny how two simple words can mean so much. Thanks for sharing! :-)

Bonne Annee, bonne sante et meilleurs voeux pour 2008! ;-)

b said...

Zen Chef... As always, thank you for your very kind encouragement. Simple thoughts/words/sentiments are almost always the most meaningful to me. Merci! Bonne Annee!!

La Belette Rouge said...

My élan vital has been greatly expanded through knowing you :-)

carra said...

I lived in France over a year, read quite a few books in French too and never did I come across this phrase. I also love the simplicity, I think I am in the mood for proverbs today as I remembered another one: simplicity is genius maybe not the best translation I could have done, but it's basic and gets the message through. I am wondering where is my élan vital I think it's in the paperblanks journal on my bedside ;)

Randal Graves said...

b, got any extra cash lying around? Or know anyone will to pay thousands for my bad poems? ;-)

Take A Year Out said...

soooo looking forward to using new french phrases throughout 2008 - keep 'em coming B!

b said...

LBR... Oh, I feel exactly the same about you!!

Carra... It seems that we need to constantly check our élan vital to make sure we are not suppressing it. Simplicity is genius and I realize that more and more each year.

Randal... I have a very large suitcase that you might fit into! Sadly, I do not have ridiculous amounts of cash lying around. Getting to Paris will be a financial struggle for me, no question. But where there is a will there is a way, right?! :) I admire poets so much and fully recognize how under appreciated you all are! Your poetry may not get you to Paris but just think of the inspiration Paris would be to your poetry!!

TAYO... Thank you, always, for your sincere encouragement. Perhaps you will visit LBR and I in Paris this year and we can exchange our French phrases among each other? :)