The French expression Ça va sans dire
, which is the literal translation of
"this goes without saying" has become very familiar to the English-speaking world. The idiom means there is no need to say it, it’s obvious, it’s evident...
but I’m going to say it anyway.
We can also say Cela va sans dire
which has exactly the same meaning. Ça
are both demonstrative pronouns, where ça
can mean both "this" and "that" and cela
means "that" and is a more formal expression.
The expression ça va sans dire is said to have arose during an important historical event. During the Congress of Vienna, which was held at the Schönbrunn
Palace, from November 1814 to June 1815, the Prussian chancellor was defending his own interests in the European reorganisation following the defeat of Napoleon, and pronounced an overconfident, "Cela va sans dire!".
Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord
, the French prince, politician and diplomat, promptly replied: “Si cela va sans dire, ça ira encore mieux en le disant.”
The meaning of this pun was: "if this goes without saying, it will go even better by saying it".
If you want to show off your French, go ahead and pronounce
either ça va sans dire
o cela va sans dire
as long as you pronounce these expressions correctly.
The correct pronunciation of ça va sans dire is sah vah sohn deer
The letter "ç" in ça is pronounced like an "s" and it is followed by pronouncing an "ah" sound. The second word, "va" is also pronounced with the same "ah" sound as "ça".
The third word, "sans" is slightly more difficult to pronounce: the final "s" is silent and the "a" sounds like an "oh", followed by a nasal "n". The "a" sounds like an "oh" due to the nasal "n", which is pronounced by vibrating the vocal cords, without obstructing the sound with movement by the throat, tongue or lips. It may be simpler for an English speaker to approximate the sound by pronouncing a very abbreviated sound of an "n".
The final word, "dire", is pronounced similarly to the word "deer" but with a guttural "r" at the end. Once again, the guttural "r" may be difficult to pronounce for a non-native speaker but can be approximated by pronouncing an abbreviated "r" sound.