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  5. "Le loup mange une poule."

"Le loup mange une poule."

Translation:The wolf eats a hen.

August 27, 2015

This discussion is locked.


UN POULE IS A CHICKEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 2033

We get it that you were disappointed that your answer was rejected. Some references allow "poule" as chicken, but usually when it's on the plate, not running around the barnyard. I have just checked the user-suggested translations for this sentence and found 100% of them contained errors of gender (un poule), errors of definite vs indefinite articles, errors of verb (manges, mangent, mangle?!) and errors of word translations, including "le poule mange le lapin". So maybe we need to have another sip of coffee and make sure that the answer is really correct before pressing enter.

If you are presented with the English sentence, it will show "a hen" which can only be translated as "une poule". If the English sentence said "chicken", either "la poule" or "le poulet" would be accepted. From French, "une poule" is definitely a hen and should be translated so, whereas "un poulet" would simply be a chicken.


Except that in English, a hen can also be called a chicken.


No. 'Hen' is used ONLY for gender specific to exclude roosters. The demand for the gender specific 'hen' seems to accentuate the gender specifity of the question.


One of your fellow moderators down below said themselves ""une poule" is a female, adult chicken". I don't know where you are from but in Australia, where I am from, we say: 'do you have any chickens?''Oh, I am just going to check the chooks/chookens/chickens.' I barely ever hear somebody say 'hens'.

Maybe you should just have another sip of coffee before correcting everybody incorrectly and just accept that everybody is different and the language programme is set up so that there can be multiple answers.

  • 2033

The only way that the French use "poule" for "chicken" is in the sense of a cowardly person. The rest of the time, the generic term "poulet" refers to chicken. A "poule" is specifically a hen. DL is trying to help you learn French so can you examine the issue in a way that lets you see that there is a difference in the terms? http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/anglais-francais/chicken/569761


This only with the adjective "mouillée" (wet): "une poule mouillée" is a coward.


Your translations to English must evidence that you have understood what the French sentence expresses. If you translate "poule" to "chicken", it shows that you have not understood the French word.


If that is the case then shouldn't Duolingo should be accepting only 'queen' for a female cat and 'b*tch' for a female dog. It is inconsistent. I am just confused.

  • 2033

Let's try this:

  • un poulet = a chicken
  • une poule = a hen
  • un coq = a rooster

Can this work for you?


K Russell, I grew up on a farm. If a child asks "What lays eggs," what would you say? We invariably said "hens". We went to feed chickens, but if we were collecting eggs, we checked the hens. If we warned someone about a mean chicken it was 'that rooster' or 'that hen'. This true for most of the town, and the town hosts an agricultural school that informs much of the US. Texas A&M. You might have heard of it. Your experience is not necessarily the English norm either, and we are here to learn French. Let the teachers teach.


Interestingly enough enough, in English a "pullet" is a young hen.

  • 2033

That's true! That takes me back to my childhood! ;-)


Why does the translation say "poule" could mean "pool"?

  • 2033

It is a somewhat obscure reference to a sporting competition among a group, e.g., a round-robin or a tournament. http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/poule/62367 It's another good reason not to choose words from the drop-down hints without understanding what they really mean.


It is not obscure for those interested in rugby.


When we say "chicken" in English, we usually think of a female chicken, otherwise we say cockerel or rooster. Saying "the wolf eats a chicken" is correct and it's very frustrating to have it marked wrong.


In French, "une poule" is an adult, female "chicken", able to lay eggs.

"un poulet" is a young hen or rooster, most often bred for its meat.



If you are told a wolf is eating a chicken you wouldn't know if it was one of your hens or one of your cockerels that is being eaten.

The given French sentence is precise - it is a hen not a cockerel that is being eaten. There is no reason to be less precise in the English translation.

  • 2033

In English "we" do not think of the gender of chickens but we do differentiate between "a hen" (une poule, which is a female bird which lays eggs) and "a chicken" (un poulet) which could refer to any chicken, or "a rooster" (un coq). But we are learning French, are we not? So when you see "un poulet", just use "a chicken" and when you see "une poule", use "a hen".


Thank you n6zs and sitesurf for your explanations and for your immense patience. In fact most people will probably get this one wrong the first time around, because we are so accustomed to thinking about supermarket chickens rather than our feathered friends scratching around in the yard. Please note, the wolf was not eating a supermarket chicken, which was dealt with in the food section. Most people keep hens to lay eggs, with just the odd cock/rooster if they want more chickens or want to impress upon the neighbours that they really are living in the countryside... Hen is certainly not an archaic word, or even old fashioned. French speakers are just more aware of the distinction between male and female chickens. Exactly the same words exist in English. un poulet = a cockerel (Young male chicken, up to a year old) une poulette = a pullet (Young female chicken, up to a year old) un coq = a cock/rooster(Mature male chicken over a year old, or male chickens in general) une poule = a hen (Mature female chicken over a year old, or female chickens in general) Not forgetting, of course that un poussin = a chick Supermarkets sell only very young birds, so it is reasonable to call your dinner "un poulet'', as you don't know whether it is male or female.

  • 2033

You are quite welcome, Ruth. One "thank you" is worth its weight in gold!.


If the translation is into English then it better be the way English is spoken. If you insist on 'hen' being used for 'une poule' then it can be added as a side note that 'poule' is 'hen' or 'the adult female chicken'. Besides, it's not so much about back-translation as it's about the language, is it? Using both alternatives 'chicken' and 'hen' would resolve the issue. It's important to convey that 'une poule' is literally 'a hen', but it's also equally important that a translation into the target language, English in this case, also doesn't lose it's natural essence.



The English word "hen" is not an unusual or unnatural word. It is a very ordinary everyday word.

Some people seeing a hen might point at it and call it a chicken but if someone else called it a hen I would not wonder why they are using an old fashioned or unusual word.

Hen is exactly what is said in English.

There is absolutely nothing unnatural about the sentence "The wolf eats a hen".


Precisely why I'd said "Using both alternatives 'chicken' and 'hen' would resolve the issue." Just too many native speakers are more comfortable with using "chicken" in the sentence, even if it's an "adult female chicken", i.e. a hen. Language is about usage, not dictionaries, as long as it doesn't conflict with grammar, which isn't the case here.



Well actually you were suggesting that "the wolf eats a hen" is a less natural sentence in English which it isn't.

Sometimes when translating to English on Duo we get an unnatural sentence or are forced to search around for a word that fits eventhough that word is very rarely used in English. In those cases it is right to compromise the meaning of the sentence and give a natural English translation that does not quite match the French.

In this case though we can give a very natural translation that exactly matches the French. So there is no reason to compromise on the meaning and make it less specific than the French sentence given.

Also if Duo accepts both "chicken" and "hen" as a translation of "poule" how do learners learn that in French there is a significant difference in meaning and usage between "poulet" and "poule"?


I would have to say, Ive never really used hen in english that I can think of. I dont know if perhaps it is regional, but to say "the wolf is eating a hen" would probably through me off in everyday conversation.

As for how to teach people the difference in meaning, firstly there would be tips & notes, second there would be sentences in which the difference is explained, third the sentence options where you`re able to select either la or le or either Poule or Poulet, to attatch the gender to the noun.

As someone who didn`t even think of the word hen, I understand the reasoning but nevertheless find it a pain and believe there are better ways to teach gender differences.


Chances are that now, after having so much invested in this discussion, you will remember that "une/la poule" is feminine and what it means.

When it comes to Tips and Notes, please consider that the amount of space we have there is very limited and we cannot always explain things that any dictionary can tell.


I agree with Pruechelan. The only instances where you'd ever use 'hen' rather than 'chicken' would be if you wanted to stress that it wasn't a cockerel. Hence in 'the wolf is eating the hen' the most important bit of information would hardly be the gender of the chicken. If I witnessed this situation and someone would say, 'The wolf is eating the hen', I'd look at them and say, 'Really? That's what you're focussing on?' As a result, this isn't really an English sentence in the proper sense, and therefore we shouldn't be supposed to use it as it doesn't convey the English meaning of the French sentence. Let's hope one day Duolingo will realise this.


Fascinating commentary. Thanks especially to George and Sitesurf for your patience and thorough explanation.


Some mnemonics I use for the Words in this sentence are:

La poule- Poultry
Manger- Munch/ Mandible
Le loup- For you Harry Potter fans out there, Remus Lupin

This is because all of these Words derived from Latin:

Pullus- Young bird
Mandūcāre- Chew, Gnaw
Lupus- Wolf

You could also argue that all of these Words came from Proto-Indo-European but, claims of Words coming from P.I.E. are Always equivocal. (Plus, I don't know any P.I.E.).


Doea "Is eating "and "eats" same same french translation as "mange"?


Yes, since the French language does not have continuous tenses.


I thought the wolf was "le louve"...?


Mrs Wolf is "la louve".

Mr Wolf is "le loup"


My answer was "The wolf eats one hen" but the answer should have been "a hen". Why is "one hen" not correct?


This sentence is not really about counting hens or comparing what the wolf eats today vs yesterday or vs what the fox ate. So I think it is more natural to use "a hen".


How can one tell if mange will translate to is eating or eats?


Either is possible, correct and accepted, because the continuous present "is eating" does not exist as a verbal form in French.


This question taught me something about English today, since I cannot recall the last time I have heard sometime say 'hen'. And I have been on many farms.


I just dont get it! Why does a word need a gender like un/une dont know when to use or la/le cant figure! UHH!


In many languages nouns have a grammatical gender. This is something you have to accept if your mother tongue does not have genders.

Since you cannot guess genders - except for the obvious "un homme/une femme" and "une poule" (female bird, laying eggs) - you will have to learn every new noun with its gender.

To memorize genders more easily, you should learn nouns as follows:

  • apple = [une-pomme], as if the indefinite article were a prefix


Why does she pronounce poule as poo-lee


Not as "poo-lee" but as "poo-luh": it is a shwa.



couldn't it be poulet though? I mean, you had to fill in the missing word.

  • 2033

No, because the missing word must agree with "Le loup mange la . . . ." That means that the following word must have a feminine gender: le poulet (m), la poule (f).


Is there a difference in translation of "the hen eats the grain" and "the hen is eating the grain"?

  • 2033

No difference. French does not have a Present Continuous tense. The FR Present tense may be translated primarily as EN Simple Present or EN Present Continuous. Much of the time, it sounds more natural in Present Continuous.


I love all the comments along the lines of 'Well I've never used the word hen in my life!'. Well then. Looks like you've learned something new today about your native language. Maybe incorporate that? Or begin to realise that your use of your own language might have room to grow and evolve?

Or in the very least, understand that we are trying to learn French and that if this sentence was used on a farm in French speaking territories, or in a French film etc, you would need to understand what was being said. Therefore Duo is teaching us the most accurate translation possible. Also, thank you to Sitesurf and n6zs for being way more patient than I think they need to be. You folks deserve a medal and a vacation.

And the rest of you need to take a chill pill.


Some can live their whole life with only a few hundred words of vocabulary in their mother tongue. Some learners are here to learn another language, yet they don't want to know about accuracy, like the difference between "beau" and "joli", "facile" and "simple", "route" and "rue", etc. when it comes to translating those to English. Lazy learning is not learning, but just hovering on the surface of knowledge and understanding. Socrates, Galileo and Einstein (and other geniuses) recognized how little they knew (“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.” A. Einstein). This should make us all quite humble.

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