The 14th sense you added to [[à#French|à]]
Hi Internoob. I do not agree with the sense you added to à with this edit: "(in conjuction with the definite article) Used to name the owner of a body part". The sense is much broader: here, "à" introduces a complement to "couper", not to "les oreilles", and introduces a provenance. It can be translated as "from" and usually can be equally replaced with "de". It is the same "à" as in "couper une branche à un arbre", "retrancher 10 au résultat", "prendre à Pierre pour donner à Paul". This sense should stay because it is not redundant with any other sense, but it must definitely be rephrased. — Xavier, 21:15, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, you're right. I made this change, which is an improvement but could use some more explanations, maybe. What do you think?
Indeed, that's better. However, in my opinion, what remains to be said is mentioned in the usage notes: "à" introduces an indirect object (envoyer qq chose à qq'un) or a second object. I am not grammatically savvy enough to tell you more but my feeling is that this sense 14 (naming the owner or the provenance) is not the same as sense 6 (belonging to). Contrary to sense 6, this "à" is intimately bound to the verb and it introduces more the origin of an action (from ...), or the indirect object of an action, than the belonging of the direct object.
In this respect, the bolded translation, albeit correct, is misleading. To make myself clear: "il a volé la voiture à son père" would translate to "he stole the car from his father" (origin). On the other hand, "he stole his father's car" (appartenance: il a volé la voiture de son père) is very close but doesn't exactly bear the same meaning.
It's definitely different than sense 6, yes, but I'm not sure how to express the difference clearly either. I made this edit to the translation. "Cut the ears off of" sounds like more natural English IMO than "cut off the ears from".
Perfect, thank you! And you are in a better position than me to judge what sounds best in English ;-) BTW, I wonder whether the "off" shouldn't be bolded too.