"Les chiennes noires mangent les canards blancs."

Translation:The black dogs are eating the white ducks.

January 5, 2013

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  • 1083

Just want to remark for those among us who are also learning English - although "bitch" is correctly defined as "female dog", it is rarely used in conversation with this meaning, unless one is conversing with a dog-breeder.

No doubt because of the very frequent use of the word as a slur against women, people tend to flinch (or giggle) when they hear it, even if you are obviously talking about a dog, not a woman. So, for example, I always say I have two dogs, even though both are females.


Very true.

All the same, it's a correct term, and people are free to use it during their translations, either because it it provides a childish "giggle" during what can be a frustrating learning process, or they're angry misogynists trying to increase their education; education is a good way to eliminate prejudices.

I'm not sure if you're advocating against the word; you seemed to just be making a general statement. If it makes people flinch when others are "obviously talking about a dog," though, that's societal conditioning, and not to be solved in these forums. Even if some will make a point of calling female dogs "bitches" soley to make others uncomfortable, it makes them nasty people, but nasty people exist everywhere.

It's a good thinking-point.



You are correct. The appropriate use of bitch is societal conditioning. All language is social conditioning which is very much to be solved on these pages.

Duo should be trying to teach conventional French and conventional English as a platform from which students can branch out. Once they have the groundwork, then they can speak as they wish, with intent to shock, upset, mislead, buzzkill, whatever. If they want listeners to focus on what they use to identify female animals there is a way to do it. If they want people to focus on what they are saying about those animals there is another way.

I think most students want to learn how to make their intent understood first before learning how to make people notice how they say it.


I said the response to an appropriate useage of the word "bitch" being negative is societal conditioning, ie: the word is first heard by the majority as a slur, and therefor when it comes up in its proper context--usually the world of dog breeding and dog shows--it is reacted to negatively, as DianaM said.

I was merely saying that that reason alone would not--were someone to propose it--be a good or legitimate reason to censure or ostrasize the word.

In the context of Duolingo, it hasn't, to my knowledge, been the only acceptable translation of "chienne". But neither should it be said to be wrong because some choose to use "bitch" as a pejorative.


more than some though....


they accepted "bitch" for this one rofl


That's because ''bitch'' is the word for''female dog''.


Correct, but that, like other english words, has taken on a rude/different meaning. In fact, "gay" used to mean "happy."


I can't hear the difference between "les chinnes noires" and "les chins noirs". How do you know when it's singular and when it's plural? Also the verb doesn't help because "mange" and "mangent" sounds the same! Is there a trick?


chien(s) ends with nasal sound IN

chienne(s) ends with sound èNN (you clearly hear the final N)

The difference between singular and plural is in the articles:

le [LEU] chien / les [LEH] chiens

la [LA] chienne / les [LEH]

the difference is the same as between the English "the" and "they"

  • 1930

That's helpful to know....however, in this exercise, the word chiennes is followed by a word that begins with an 'n' (noir..) and it didn't sound all that distinct to me. I'm trying!


is there a rule in making a masculine animal word to a feminine noun? i only know chienne and chatte


Unfortunately not...

  • un éléphant / une éléphante - un rat / une rate - un lapin / une lapine - un ours / une ourse

  • un dindon / une dinde - un lion / une lionne - un tigre / une tigresse

  • un cheval / une jument - un coq / une poule - un cochon / une truie - un singe / une guenon

  • une fourmi mâle / une fourmi femelle - une girafe mâle / une girafe femelle -


This is disturbing on many levels.


I am having trouble with white I do not know when its masculine or feminine! help!!


White is masculine when it's spelled "blanc" and pronounced "blahn(k)." It is feminine when it is spelled "blanche," and pronounced "blahnsh."


You see a dog You don't know if the dog is male or female. Which word have you to choose.



If a room full of female dogs has one male dog then you use the masculine plural form as there is no form of chiens (or most French nouns) that encompasses both genders at once.

French requires that a choice must be made and so it is masculine that prevails unless you know absolutely that all examples are feminine.

With some nouns the choice has been made for you. La chemise is feminine simply because it is. With other nouns such as chien/chienne you have to decide.

When in doubt, use the masculine form.


At first sight, you say "un chien".


It is a bit like the situation in English, except our dilemma is centred on the pronoun, as the word bitch is only used in very particular circumstances. Hence we tend to guess or ask the owner,- often using the words boy, girl (and male)or lady/(female) to find out. I understand the French do use chienne but that "chatte" has been brought into misuse. If so, 'use with caution' advice would be good. We do not want anyone going into shock!


I wrote female dogs and was not accepted. Please correct.


Usually your error is highlighted so you can see what the mistake was. Sometimes the computer is unable to distinguish between possible errors because it doesn't know your intent.

EG: Say you wrote a female dogs. It has to guess which was wrong, the article or the use of the plural form. One of them is wrong so the computer has to make a choice. While this happens you may not notice what the true error is, given what you meant to write. The computer scans and sees you used a perfectly fine article and then followed it with something that didn't match. To you, female dogs is what the sentence is all about. To the computer each word has equal weight. If you make a typo that changes a word into another perfectly fine word but makes everything else after that into nonsense, there is no way for the computer to know your intent.

There are many times when the computer has identified something as incorrect to which I objected until after looking closely, I notice an error elsewhere in my answer.

When you get error message you simply don't understand, try highlighting the error response, copying and then pasting it into the comments here. This will help everybody immeasurably.


Thanks, I've thought of that but somehow I am pretty sure I just wrote 'female dogs', no errors. I really don't know why it didn't accept it, perhaps this sentence's database just accepts 'bitches' or simply 'dogs'. Next time I'll make sure to copy paste to let you guys see for yourselves. :P ;-)


Maybe you made a mistake somewhere else in the sentence? If you think you didn't make any mistakes you should hit the "report a problem" button before continuing. Then choose "my answer should be accepted". I often also give a further explanation in the box provided at the bottom, for example I might cut and paste the URL of a webpage that explains the point in question. I usually read other people's comments before hitting the "report a problem" button.


Thanks, I already did all that, I just wanted to let you too know. ;-)


Why is the male version "chiens noirs" incorrect?


Because of pronunciation,caren. Les chiens=Lay shee-a. Les chiennes=Lay shee-enn. As the excellent northernguy has posted "Les chiens: The N is not pronounced. Les Chiennes: The N is pronounced." Always read the posts through first. Another answer is by Borma1 just above your query.


Except the word elides straight into noir so it is very difficult to tell where the n is or is not pronounced.


Even if chiens and chiennes are linked with noirs and noires, there are still distinct sounds that differ::

  • in chien: sound [in]
  • in chienne: sound [èn]

try them sie by side on forvo.com for example and focus on these sounds.


How can you tell it means more than one animal?

  • 1083

"Les" (plural) sounds different from "le" (singular).


I can't hear the plural words. How can you pick it up when listening?


Focus on determiners when listening to the sentence: they are always different in plural and singular.


how do you know if its in present tense or what? i wrote "the black dogs eats the white ducks"


This is present tense, but you used "eats" with a plural subject. English conjugations are relatively simple: only with he/she/it does the verb need an ending -s.

he/she/it eats

I eat, you eat, we eat, they eat


When would you use blanches?


When describing a plural feminine noun


Can someone help me i am confused to know what form of blancs that goes here and why it's not any one of the other forms


Hi Bueno. Nearly every French adjective reflects the noun it modifies. There are a few exceptions. (Annoyingly!) Nowthen; Blanc describes a singular masculine noun. Blanche describes a singular feminine noun. Blancs describes plural masculine or a mixture of masculine and feminine (the default is always to masculine) and Blanches describes plural feminine. Hope this helps.


what is wrong with saying the black dogs ate the white ducks instead of saying the black dogs eat the white ducks


Because, Onelessidiot, Ate is past tense and Eat (which can also correctly translate to are/is/.am eating) is present tense. This lesson is all in present tense.


I manage to pick the wrong version of "blanc" every time, no matter what. I just don't understand the pattern.

Can someone help?


blanc = masculine singular

blanche = feminine singular

blancs = masculine/mixed-gender plural

blanches = feminine (only) plural

"Les canards" (the ducks) is plural "le canard" (the duck). "Le" tells you it is masculine, and since it is "les" in this sentence, then the color should be masculine plural, ergo, "les canards blancs."


how isn't "the black dogs ate the white ducks" right?


Because "ate" is past tense, and this sentence is present tense. The correct verb is either "eat" or "are eating."


i'm frozen on this there is no room to answer....correct answer is noir


No t's not Lynn. If there was just one single dog, the adjective to agree with the noun it modifies would be singular: The Black Dog= Le chien noir. But in this task there are many dogs and so the adjective will agree with the plural noun The Black Dogs=LES ChienS NoireS.


i dont really understand how the word for 'white' isnt plural in this sentence. Shouldn't it be 'blanches' because there is more than one duck?


No Kait (forgive me too too long a name) Ducks/Canards is masculine. Blancs is masculine plural modifier for the noun.


MillardXD you don't have to use this kind of words! There are children who are watching this dude!


Can usually tell by listening slow, a couple of times, but listened 10 times and can't hear the tiny extra 'n' to indicate chienne not chien. They REALLY need to sort out the recordings. I know it's free and I am grateful. But it is hard to learn if vital sounds can not be heard at all.


no the ducks are eating the dogs!!!!!!!!!!! DUCKS RULE THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Actually, the black dogs are eating the white ducks, and I think you mean the ducks are going to rule the world.

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