Can the verb adresser be used in the sense of the pair address (en)/aborder(fr) as follows?

address the issue

aborder la question/le problème

adresser la question/le problème

Is adresser a "false friend" in this context?


2 Answers 2


A dictionary definition: to think about a problem or situation and decide how you are going to deal with it;

example of use: Your essay does not address the real issues.

This example shows that there is something more in the concept than simply the idea of an approach to a question or problem. It involves the task of considering a solution, showing its feasibility, etc. Therefore, a translation such as "traiter" is more what you would expect. The translation of the above example as

"Vous ne traitez pas les questions réelles."

appears to correspond rather well.

If instead we use the verb "approcher", we have "Vous n'approchez pas les bonnes questions/questions réelles."; it seems that sort of activity is not quite what essay writing is about, but that it is only an "ingredient" in it, that which constitutes how the author treats the question.

I can't find "false cognates" but apparently you can say "false friends" or "deceptive cognates"; they are synonymous phrases. True, in this context the two words are deceptive cognates.

  • Thanks. So adresser in this context is but a false cognate?
    – Dimitris
    Nov 24, 2018 at 11:41
  • @dimitris I think I understand what you mean but I don't know the term "false cognate", apparently a technical term in linguistics, so i'll have to check up on that before I can be more assertive.
    – LPH
    Nov 24, 2018 at 11:46
  • Faux-amis en français.
    – Dimitris
    Nov 24, 2018 at 11:48
  • Like pain, main etc.
    – Dimitris
    Nov 24, 2018 at 11:56
  • @dimitris « Vater » and « father » are cognates; « Haus » and « house » are cognates; I find the translation "deceptive cognate" for "faux-amis".
    – LPH
    Nov 24, 2018 at 12:03

Non, aucunement, ce serait un anglicisme sémantique avec l'idée d'aborder une question puisqu'en français adresser signifie « envoyer », « émettre des paroles » ou moins typiquement à mon avis « diriger quelqu'un vers la personne qui convient » (voir la BDL). D'autre part, dans le sens de to address a problem, il est parfaitement usuel de dire aborder un problème, s'attaquer à un problème, s'occuper d'un problème, voir à un problème, le prendre en main (BDL) etc. Aucune sur-analyse du sens de to address en langue anglaise n'est requise pour traduire aisément.

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