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lundi 28 décembre 2009

doute (Fr.), Doubt (Eng.)

Le billet qui suit a été rédigé par Jonathan Goldberg, que je remercie.

For those readers who know Spanish, the nouns doute (Fr.) and duda (Sp.) are synonyms. Both have two principal meanings:

1. to indicate a fact or situation that is uncertain and which leaves room for doubt, e.g. The authenticity of this painting is in doubt;

2. to indicate a query, e.g. I was uncertain of the etymology of a word, so I submitted a question to the panel of linguists.

In English, meaning (1) is also valid, but meaning (2) is inappropriate. Therefore when I submit my question or query to the panel, I cannot refer to it as a doubt. That would be a mistake.

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