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  5. "L'enfant est léger."

"L'enfant est léger."

Translation:The child is lightweight.

January 5, 2013



I heard "The elephant is light."


L'éléphant is pronounced lay-lay-font. While l'enfant is lon(silent n)-font


i put l'enfant est legere. why is this incorrect? how do we know the child is a boy?


You raise a good point.

This has been discussed in other threads.

Advanced students say that enfant is both masculine and feminine.

Dictionary.com labels enfant as masculine pure and simple.

Larousse which is more authoritative classifies enfant as both masculine and feminine.

French seems to prefer assigning masculine to situations where gender is not clear. Especially Duo. As a consequence I use masculine when it's not clear just to play it safe.


From my understanding, all Latin-based languages default to masculine and feminine is the exception. Somewhat sexist, but that's history for you.


True, but there are many who seem to think that an entire cultural linguistic framework should turn around in the space of a few years so that it conforms to their world view.


I wasn't saying it should change. I was saying what it currently is. Acknowledgement doesn't mandate change.



I didn't think you were advocating for change. I was referring to a number of students who complain that Duo is teaching incorrect French when it shows what they consider excessive defaulting to masculine.


northernguy, I apologize if at any point you took offense to what I posted. I can't control what others do, but I can be accountable for myself. My off-handed remark was not meant to offend you.

Please keep doing what you're doing. There are a handful of commenters whose input is fairly valuable to all of us, and I consider you part of that group.

(I also apologize for not responding sooner. I don't think my notifications are set up for me to effectively have a discussion.)


It's not sexist at all. Personne (person) is feminine in french and nobody has a problem with that. It's arbitrary, but english speakers aren't used to arbitrary gender in grammar.


In many ways, English does as well. Not with the genders of nouns, but in the use of pronouns. If I see "he" referring to an indeterminate subject, I assume that person could be male or female. If I see she, I only think female. Some writers like to use the feminine pronoun, or interchange the two during a story. I find it distracting, but it has absolutely nothing to do with my feelings about women.


I believe the feminine form is pronounced 'lay-jzayre' while the masculine is 'lay-jzay.' I always have to listen very closely to the way it is said, or I will enter the feminine and be wrong!


By default and without any other indication about the sex of the child, you would use masculine by default.


But if you know the sex of the child, wouldn't you still use "le enfant" and therefore "léger" (because the adjective agrees with the noun)? For example, would you say "Julie (Julie being a girl here) est un enfant léger" or should you say "Julie est un enfant légere"?


le enfant cannot work because of the vowel conflict:

"l'enfant" is the proper spelling, valid for a boy (un enfant) or a girl (une enfant).

  • l'enfant est légère (Julie)
  • l'enfant est léger (Tom)

[deactivated user]

    You don't know if the child (enfant) is a boy or a girl, so you use the masculine form as default. Same in the plural form: Les enfants (the children), never Las enfants. It's just how it is. But for example, in portuguese l'enfant is 'a criança'. Criança is a feminine word hence the 'a' before it (instead of 'o'), but you could be referring to a boy.


    What's wrong with 'The child is nimble' or 'the child is springy'? Of the three translations (light, nimble, springy), 'light' sounds a bit odd to apply to a kid imo.


    It's wrong because that is not the meaning in French: "léger" only means "not heavy".


    Thank you!

    But why is the hover-text-translation of 'léger' given as 'light, nimble, springy'? I'm a beginner, and confused. In what context would you use 'léger' to mean the other two translations (nimble, springy)?



    You would use light as a synonym for nimble, springy, adept, eyecatching ..whatever... when you have already established your intent.

    The nimble athletes were impressive. Such a light performance is rarely seen.

    Light is used to describe the athletes application of their nimbleness, not their actual weight. It seems effortless and weightless because they are nimble. You can replace nimble with light because you have established a context where it works, not because they mean the same thing.

    As Sitesurf points out, there are other words, in French, that explicitly mean nimble, springy, etc that better express their intent.

    Duo is suggesting that léger can be used in some contexts to mean something other than just light in weight. But it is also saying that without context, it just means light.

    Most dictionaries give multiple uses for léger but nimble isn't one of them. Larousse does give springy as a primary definition. I guess you can use léger with that meaning about as often as you use springy in ordinary English conversation.


    I used 'the child is nimble' and it marked it correct, so it seems they've updated that.


    nimble = leste, alerte = fast moving.

    "léger" is only the opposite of "heavy/weighty"


    i got it now, thanks.


    @ "Sitesurf" Could you please clear this up for me? Two sentences before this one, was: "Elle est légère." I answered with "She is thoughtless" because that was one of the drop-down choices. I got it right. So now, "L'enfant est léger. " and I answered with "The child is thoughtless." This time it was marked wrong! Thank you, in advance, for answering my question.


    In so short sentences, the exact meaning of "léger/légère" is difficult to identify.

    "Elle est légère" can be a female human or a feminine animal or thing. Therefore, in theory, all possible translations given by a dictionary can work, including figurative ones, like "thoughtless", although it would need a robust context.

    For instance, "une argumentation légère" would be the contrary to "a solid/sound argument" (= futile, maybe).


    "L'enfant est léger" is easier to understand and I think that the prime meaning of "not heavy" should prevail = light/lightweight.


    why is " the child is nimble" incorrect? It makes good sense in English, and was a suggested translation of léger.


    Dont know why. I think its a mistake and should be reported. I think Nimble is more usually translated to Agile.



    Correct me if I'm wrong but I think you are saying you don't know why Duo suggests nimble as a translation of léger anywhere. On first reading it looked as if you don't know why Duo doesn't accept léger/nimble in this example.


    northernguy, yes mate. Has Duo made a mistake in suggesting Nimble as a translation of Legér and if not why? Looking at the posts here, dictionaries and asking native speakers none seemed to give Nimble as a translation for Legér. You usually give extensive responses in your explanations so please may I lean on you to do so once more here to show that if indeed Legér can be translated to Nimble would you give an example. I think that I'm speaking somewhat for fiercebadrabbit also on these points. Thank you in advance.


    Such answers are further up the page.


    what does "the child is light" or " l'enfant est léger" mean?


    It means that the child's weight is low.


    Not in standard English it doesn't. "Lightweight" refers to someone who is not up to the job, a little flaky, someone of limited intelligence, ability, importance, significance, etc. It might be used for clothing or for a type of division in a particular sport. If a child does not weigh very much he is "not heavy", "light", etc. but never lightweight.


    Wouldn't this be the opposide of heavy? i.e. thin, skinny etc.

    I feel like we don't refer to people as light in english...


    You would call a small child light if you were picking him or her up.


    Why is "The baby is light" wrong?


    baby = un bébé

    child = un enfant


    I write the child is thin, why is this wrong?


    somebody wants to help me? what is the difference between léger and légere


    Léger = masculine

    Légère = feminine (note the accent mark on the second e in the feminine form)

    Léger usually translates as light = weight but has other connotations as well such as a light meal, light heart etc.


    Do 'est' and 'et' have the same pronunciation?...suppose we want to say a sentence like "L'enfant est legre et sale"....wont they both sound the same??


    Actually "est" an "et" should not sound alike:

    est = [ɛ]

    et = [e]

    IPA for French


    Why is 'ia' not considered a typo :(


    Hi Nunsyafiah. Generally if you're translating from French to English and make a typo you'll be marked correct with a warning. If you are translating English to French or typing what you hear in French then typos are not tolerated. People from all over the world for whom English is a foreign language are given tolerance by Duo in written English but as we are learning French here then the French we produce as a solution must be correct. Your accents typos, or complete non-use of ACCENTS in written French will however (for reasons best known to Duo) be tolerated with a warning. If you wrote, even as a typo, "La Enfant" you will have broken such a basic rule that it wouldn't even be allowed in task one of the first basic lesson. Typos in French written are just not tolerated. Bon chance et cordial. :)


    Touching the word leger givs the options light, grntle and soft. But you only accept lightweight as the only correct answer. Which isn't mentioned in the definitions. Light can mean multiple things.


    As well as "léger", actually.



    Duo told me gentle was a translation so i answered the child is gentle and i got it wrong. Someone please tell me why


    « Léger » can mean "gentle," just not in the sense people can be gentle. It's "moderate in action, effect, or degree; not harsh or severe" like "a gentle breeze" or "a gentle persuasion" (very much in keeping with it's meaning of "light"). When talking about gentle people (i.e. "mild in temperament or behavior; kind or tender") the French word would be « gentil(le) » or « doux/douce ».


    Well, Benny, I'll stick my neck out here and ask to be corrected but I say that Duo is wrong. It can be that "Mild" may be a translation but my Collins Robert dictionary (which is the one our trustworthy Sitesurf uses) gives no reference of "Gentle" to the French "Leger". Please don't trust the drop-down hints because they are often utterly unreliable and for the life of me I just do not know why, nor their pertinent purpose. If you lost a heart through this, please accept lingots from me.


    wouldn't it be "lightweight-ed" instead of "lightweight" ?


    Hi Thezrail. Lighted does exist without the hyphen as past participle, but as a native speaker I've never heard it used. We use lit. However its definition applies to light as a source such as the sun, a flame or light bulb, not to weight.


    Pale would be claire or maybe pâle. Léger is light, slight, faint or mild.


    "léger/légère" means "not heavy".


    I would never use "the child is lightweight" in English. "The child is small," "the child is light" or, possibly, "the child doesn't weigh a lot," but "lightweight" makes the child sound like a sweater or a piece of furniture.


    I could not agree more.

    [deactivated user]

      Is légère feminine and léger Masculine?


      That is correct.


      enfant cannot translate to infant?


      No, an infant is "un nouveau-né/un nourrisson".


      Under what circumstaces in English would a child (whether male or female) ever be described as "lightweight"? The answer is - never.


      Isn't lightweight only for things you carry?


      I put the "the kid is lightweight" and it was marked wrong. Why the difference on the use of kid/child when they're synonyms?


      You don't need synonyms:

      • l'enfant = the child
      • the kid = le gamin/la gamine
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