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Confused by the Meaning of Partir in the Dialogue

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3204
Posts: 0
Beverly Hills, CA
United States
Registered:
Oct 27, 2013
Nov 21, 2017 at 4:42pm

In Session 19 of French 5, Olivier says he has been working on selling a project to Japan. Then he says that last week he was supposed to leave there to make a presentation -- je devais y partir -- but it didn't happen because they canceled the trip. The impression given to me is that Olivier has been in Japan, was supposed to leave Japan to go elsewhere, but did not do so (which would mean that he is still in Japan). But later in the dialogue we come to understand that he is in Europe and it was the trip TO Japan that was canceled. So far, I've only understood partir to mean leaving or going away from a place. Does it also sometimes mean going to a place?

Emilie Poyet
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Barcelona, Catalunya
United States
Registered:
Dec 1, 2010
Nov 22, 2017 at 9:11am

I understand your confusion because in the program we've mostly used "partir DE", to leave from somewhere.
However in some cases, "Partir" can also be used with the preposition "À", as in "to leave TO a place"; it's quite common especially for trips:
Partir au Canada/To leave to Canada..

In this case it's almost like a synonym of "Aller", like here:
"Je devais y partir" means "I was supposed to go there"
The use of "Y" replacing "AU Japon" (and not "EN" which would replace "DU Japon") indicates we're talking about a destination.

Here are a couple more expressions with "Partir" used to refer to a destination:
Partir en voyage = To go on a trip
Partir en vacances = To go on vacation

Hope this helps :)

3204
Posts: 0
Beverly Hills, CA
United States
Registered:
Oct 27, 2013
Nov 22, 2017 at 9:14am

Thank you. That does make it clear.

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