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The song is "Les amours dévouées" by Cœur de pirate.
This part, the chorus, is far away from my understanding:

Mais j’arrive et que celles qui t’attendent ne t’attendent plus jamais.

In several translations, they say this part has some strange tenses like this:

But I am coming and the girls that are waiting for you
will never wait for you again.

I understand the tenses are different, aren't they? She is like telling a story that repeats itself every time she arrives. But that conflicts with the rest of the verse:

Ou se fassent un sang d’encre pour ce diamant que j’ai
Si je dois moi-même tendre la carte d’une dévouée

Which, as I understand, says:

Or worry for the diamond that I have, if I myself have to hand a letter of a devote

What is she trying to say with this whole verse then? Can you say what is dévouée in French culture?

  • I've never heard "tendre la carte d'une dévouée" before. The closest idiom I can think of is "Jouer la carte de ...", which means the same as in english ("play the ... card"). But I must be missing something... What do you want to know about "devote"/"dévouée" ? – Random Jun 22 '16 at 20:06
  • Regarding the tense/mood, I’d guess that the que in “et que” is introducing the author’s wish concerning the others rather than her simple observation about them. If this be true, the verbs following “que” should (& perhaps are) be the 3rd person plural subjunctive to go with “celles” (but it’s hard to say since the indicative & subjunctive are the same here): “I’m returning, so let's hope that those waiting for you stop waiting for & fretting over you & this ring that I have, especially/even if I'm required to [further] prove my devotion (by tendering a “devotion identity card”). – Papa Poule Jun 22 '16 at 22:18
  • so you saying "tendre la carte" is like "Playing a card"?, like a rola? – José Osorio Jun 22 '16 at 22:39
  • well in my country we use devote for some religious stuff, not for love, maybe in french its easier to think of a devotee as a secret lover? – José Osorio Jun 22 '16 at 23:02
  • I'm not sure if you're talking to me or @Random, but I think "tendre la carte" is not so much "playing a [playing] card" but maybe more like "tendering or giving/presenting a [business/identity] card [to show/prove my devotion to you], or maybe if "carte" means "map" then maybe "using or spreading out a [road] map [to show/prove my devotion to you]. Anyway, it's all guessing on my part. – Papa Poule Jun 22 '16 at 23:03
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Mais j’arrive et que celles qui t’attendent ne t’attendent plus jamais.

Yes, the tenses are different.

  • "Que celles qui t'attendent" is indicatif présent
  • "Ne t'attendent plus jamais" is subjonctif présent

Examples of subjonctif présent:

  • "Que la Force soit avec toi" = "May the Force be with you".
  • "(Que) Dieu sauve la reine !" = "(May) God save the Queen!"

Note that "que" is followed by subjonctif in my examples and by indicatif in the song. It's because of the structure, but the "que" goes with the second "attendent". English example (with 3rd person to see the tenses): "May the one who is waiting for you stop waiting for you", and not "wait" and "stops". You could write: "Que n'attendent plus jamais, celles qui t'attendent" ("May stop waiting for you the one who is waiting for you").

So I would translate it as: "But may the girls who are waiting for you never wait for you anymore", if it's correct in English, I dunno. I prefer "anymore" over "again" since I understand it as: "they were waiting for you for years but now that I'm coming back, they will stop waiting".

I hope I'm not making a mistake.

  • very good answer, I hanv't noticed that " que " was important, in spanish we use que a lot, and I get it now thanks to you. Still i don't understand "Tendre la carte de une devueé" would u say it's: "playing the card of a devotee"? or maybe "hand someone the letter of a devotee"? – José Osorio Jun 22 '16 at 22:53
  • @JoséOsorio I don't understand that part. Maybe "tendre une carte" means "jouer une carte" in Québec. – Destal Jun 23 '16 at 9:11

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