1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "De quoi il parle ?"

"De quoi il parle ?"

Translation:What is he talking about?

January 4, 2013



really struggled to hear the sound file properly on this one


I love french but its so HARD! and to make it even harder: I am swedish so my english grammar aren`t always on my side :P


[01/05/15] I know how you feel, I'm brazilian and each lesson it's always a challenge.


It's a question, so why is it not used the form "De quoi parle-t-il?"


"de quoi parle-t-il ?" is indeed a question, with an inversion between Verb and Subject. It is very formal. Alternatively, you could use the "est-ce que" interrogative adverb: "De quoi est-ce qu'il parle ?"


Without either "est-ce que" or inversion, it seems strange to me.. but I suppose in French it's fine?


Have to stop thinking in English. I'm positive, to the french speaker, 'What are you talking about' sounds equally as foreign.


Why wouldn't the independent clause, "What does he speak?" not work?


Because you missed the first word, "de" meaning "of". So it should be "OF what does he speak?" which is another way of saying "What does he speak about?" Or, "What is he speaking about?"


"What does he speak" isn't the meaning. "De quoi il parle"= "Of what he talks/is talking" which is really "What is he talking/speaking about" or "What does he speak/talking about" The "what does he speak" doesn't work because of the "de"


De quoi il parle est correct en français mais ne s'utilise pas seul. Cela doit être dans une phrase. Par exemple "je sais de quoi il parle", "je comprends de quoi il parle". Il y a peut-être d'autres tournures de phrases mais ce sont les plus fréquentes sont avec les verbes savoir et comprendre.

Quand vous voulez poser une question, la forme correcte est "de quoi parle-t-il ?"

"De quoi est-ce qu'il parle ?" est une forme qui peut être utilisée mais qui est lourde et qui n'est pas utilisée couramment par les gens.


I am not sure users' French is fluent enough at this stage to fully understand your comment.


I agree with you but it is awful to hear (and to read that as correct for Duolingo) for the french girl that I am. I try to explain again. If you want to ask a question (as the english translation gives us) you HAVE TO SAY "de quoi parle-t-il ?" (you want to know and you ask a question) When you say "de quoi il parle" you mean that you are speaking about somebody - who knows a subject and who speaks of this subject (il sait de quoi il parle) - who listen to someones who knows very welle a subject (je sais de quoi il parle, je comprends de quoi il parle). Is it clearer ?

Never use " de quoi il parle" to ask a question.

The correct form is "de quoi parle-t-il ?" - It seems difficult because we add the letter "t" but it is because it is not easy to separate "parle" and "il" when we speaks. So we add the letter "t" so it is easier to articulate.

"de quoi est-ce qu'il parle" is not useful for a french person. We do not really use the form "est-ce qu(e)" when we have to ask a question.


French learners have to be aware that in contemporary French, there are 3 ways of asking questions, depending on which register of speech is used:

  • formal: de quoi parle-t-il ? with the Verb-Subject pronoun inversion and the addition of a T for euphony

  • standard: de quoi est-ce qu'il parle ? this is commonly used in speech and in writing, even though the French Académie strongly recommends not using "est-ce que" after an interrogative word of 2+ syllables (there is some tolerance for "qui", "où" and "quand")

  • informal: de quoi il parle ? or il parle de quoi ?, that is with an indirect interrogative form, or a declarative construction. Both are improper French, but this is the way French people speak nowadays.


Does this mean that the only really correct form (according to the Academy) is the formal one?


I don't know if it is the "really correct form" according to Sitesurf. "De quoi parle-t-il ?" is the form that you may use everywhere and anytime and the most useful in France.


The standard forms to use "qui, quand, où" with "est-ce que" are : Quand est-ce qu'il parle ? Où est-ce qu'il parle ? But - Qui est-ce qui parle ?

And the three forms are ugly... I recommanded Quand parle-t-il ? Où parle-t-il ? Qui parle ? Are you OK with that ?


I always agree when it comes to proper French! ;-)


Am I the only who translated as "What does he speak of?" :P I couldn't really find any other way to translate it at first, and it sounded a bit old-timey.


A bit old-timey, maybe, but quite accurate, I think. I might try "What's he talking about?", except DL would probably knock me down because the verb is parler not dire. But would a French speaker do that? Face to face, I'd give that a go.


This post is not for the people learning on this site, but a small way for me to vent about something that really bothers me. When people tell me that I must be fluent in French because my first language is Spanish I feel extremely annoyed. I love French and everything French, but I find it very difficult to learn, specially to understand it. I have watched countless French movies, and I was lucky if I understood five whole sentences by the end of the film. In Spanish we pronounce every consonant and every vowel. It's easy to know if it is "he/she or they", for example, when we are working with verbs or singular and plural frases. All of the talking we do it's done in the same tone of voice. We don't have an "e" that have 3 or 4 different sounds. So, for all those people out there that don't think that, for us, it's a HUGE challenge to learn French ...think again.


I feel you, same with me. I struggle to get what they say even in the news!


'What is he saying' got rejected :-(


What is he saying? = Que dit-il ? / Qu'est-ce qu'il dit ? / Il dit quoi ?

De quoi il parle? = What is he talking about?


What's the difference?


Why isn't "what does he say" accepted?


"What is he saying?" should be accepted

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.