actually the meaning here is, which one (among you, for example) of you has a hat... coz lequel is which one.. here, it refers to maybe a group of people to whom the question was asked.... sometimes, we have to think a bit out of box to understand... if u do word to word translation from english to french or vice versa, you won't understand.... even i struggled with it at first... :-)
I disagree. If I wanted to say "who has a hat", I'd say, "Qui a un chapeau ?"
[I deleted the part of my original comment where I wrote, "What's more, 'lequel' only works for inanimate objects, not for people"]
The reason I deleted that is because this might only be true for relative pronouns, but not for interrogative pronouns.
Regarding "lequel/laquelle", I think that you are wrong here. It was used before for "enfant, fille, .." and it was never said that it should be used only for inanimate objects. This is interrogative or relative pronoun which can also be used for human beings and for animals, as well as for things - it can be used instead of all nouns. In the following link, I don't see any reference to your claims: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/lequel.htm
I've updated my response, but my point still stands on how I would ask "Who has a hat?"
What's funny is I think I used that link you provided to aid me in my initial response:
" 2) Relative pronoun: Lequel replaces an inanimate object of a preposition. (If the object of the preposition is a person, use qui.) "
That said, I am beginning to think it's okay to use it as an interrogative pronoun when referring to a person. Like for instance, "Lequel enfant aimes-tu le mieux" --> "Which child do you like the most?"
I agree with you that "qui a un chapeau"/"qui est-ce qui a un chapeau" would be best for "who has a hat", and I didn't question that - you are completely right here, in my opinion.
As you have quoted yourself (regarding "lequel"), this is only mentioned when it is used as a relative pronoun, but I haven't seen any reference for the interrogative pronoun, which is (obviously) the one used here, in this sentence.
I had suspected that maybe you had some other source in mind, which contradicts about.com. Anyway, it seems to me now that we agree on that one too.
- Lequel a un chapeau ?
The key is that lequel is an interrogative pronoun that replaces quel plus a noun. In this case, we don't know which (masculine) noun is replaced. (I think it's safe to assume a human, since mostly only humans wear hats.)
The quel part is asking the respondent to make a choice from a limited class -- like "which". Lequel is not like qui, which can refer to a choice from an unlimited class -- like "who" in English.
So the two pronouns would be like this:
"Qui (out of all the male humans in the entire world) a un chapeau ?" Unlimited choice.
"Lequel (out of the several males we're choosing from) a un chapeau ? Limited choice.
Another example: My mother is showing me a photograph of my five uncles. One uncle is wearing a hat, four are bare headed. It would be wrong to ask "Qui a un chapeau ?" The proper question is "Lequel a un chaoeau ?" because the choice is from a limited class.
This rule exists in English, but we're not very strict about it. In French however, the rule is strictly applied, according to thoughtco.com.
quel (m) and quelle (f) mean "which". It is an adjective and will be used before a noun. Ex: Quel chien ? = Which dog? Quelle robe ? = Which dress?
lequel (m) and laquelle (f) mean "which one". It is a pronoun (i.e., used as if it was a noun). Lequel a un chapeau ? = Which one has a hat? Laquelle est la bonne ? = Which one is the good one?
"lesquels" is the plural of the masculine (lequel). It translates to "which ones?"
"lesquelles" is the plural of the feminine (laquelle). It also translates to "which ones?"
Want to know more? http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/lequel.htm
I heard the fast voice say "Lequel est un chapeau," in which case the translation would be "Which one is a hat?" Correct?
These are pronouns, meaning they replace nouns. If the noun being replaced is masculine, lequel is used. If the noun being replaced is feminine, laquelle is used.
If your difficulty involves hearing the difference... There is a difference which can be heard between lequel and laquelle. If you're not hearing the difference, it's because you're a beginner and your ear is not trained. You must practise listening A LOT in order to hear the difference. If you don't practise A LOT, I'm afraid you'll never get this.
Which has a hat is definitely wrong!!!!! but acceptable to Duo.with the moderatrs help I do understand the French version better, but I think this section of the course with lequel is still very confusing for many.... and i believe it is the English translation that confuses so many ( it had confused me until I read the moderator's helping comment.)