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I'm reading an article with sustained English so I don't get everything. To quote the article :

They show that humans, unlike chimpanzees, use “relative prestige” to assign status, and then use that status as a signal of what to believe and emulate.

What does "relative prestige" mean in this example? I've made my own research on linguee but it looks like there's no real traduction.

closed as off-topic by jlliagre, Toto, Montée de lait, Stéphane Gimenez Dec 30 '18 at 20:57

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    Je doute qu'il y ait une seule traduction avec un mot composé, mais plutôt une paraphrase. Il s'agit d'une hiérarchie où tous les animaux ont un statut ou un rang social relatif aux autres. La notion de « prestige » ici ne signifie que « position dans l'hiérarchie ». – Luke Sawczak Nov 3 '17 at 10:57
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    You could maybe use "position hiérarchique relative"... since it's quoted in the original text, you could also use "prestige relatif", as it's an invented concept anyway (in the original text I mean) – Nathan Nov 3 '17 at 13:21
  • @LukeSawczak the thing about chimpanzees lost me I think.. Like we all know their system. – Valentin Silvestre Nov 3 '17 at 13:48
  • This seems to me to be a techical term in sociology or ethology. – Circeus Nov 6 '17 at 2:05
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because as it is written, it isn't about the French language. In any case, both relative and prestige perfectly match their French siblings relatif and prestige. – jlliagre Dec 30 '18 at 15:00
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Answering to the question, despite being off topic in my opinion.

They show that humans, unlike chimpanzees, use “relative prestige” to assign status, and then use that status as a signal of what to believe and emulate.

means:

Ils (les chercheurs) montrent que les êtres humains, contrairement aux chimpanzés, s'appuient sur le « prestige relatif » des individus pour les hiérarchiser. Le statut qui en résulte indique qui croire et de qui s'inspirer.

As an example of such difference between humans and chimpanzees, Stephen Hawking had a very high prestige and was trusted as a model in his domain for the most of us while chimpanzees classify themselves not according to prestige, but to physical dominance, fitness, ability to bring back food.

See The evolution of prestige, by Joseph Henrich and Francisco J. Gil-White

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I am neither a specialist of sociolinguistics, nor a French native but still I will give a try. Below it is my attempt to translate the original sentence (based on feedback received and following the spirit of @jlliagre's answer).

They show that humans, unlike chimpanzees, use “relative prestige” to assign status, and then use that status as a signal of what to believe and emulate.

Ils (les chercheurs) montrent que les humains, contrairement aux chimpanzés, utilisent le "prestige relatif" pour attribuer un statut, et puis ils (les humains) utilisent ce statut comme un signal de ce qu'il faut croire et imiter.

Prestige has the same figurative connotation in French and English according to my understanding.

https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/prestige

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/prestige

Here are two books using prestige relatif. I have not verified if the authors come from the Hexagone.

Les théories de la fécondité

Les réseaux criminels

Here is the Ngram of prestige relatif.

I think that, based on @Nathan and @Luke Sawczak comments, one may also use "position hiérarchique relative" and "position dans la hiérarchie", as alternatives.

  • There are several issues with your translation attempt... – jlliagre Dec 30 '18 at 15:04
  • @jlliagre I just attempted to answer an old unanswered question. – Dimitris Dec 30 '18 at 17:25
  • @jlliagre I would appreciate any advice in order to improve my translation. – Dimitris Dec 30 '18 at 17:26
  • What is the subject of utilisent? – jlliagre Dec 30 '18 at 17:31
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    @Montéedelait I edited my answer. Thanks for your useful comment – Dimitris Dec 30 '18 at 18:08

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