For this exercise, you could have made the difference between plural and singular because of "Les" which is not pronounced the same way as "le" (singular). If it's "Les" it's then "garçons" and then "mangent".
Conjugation of "manger" available here: http://la-conjugaison.nouvelobs.com/du/verbe/manger.php
It's not really the technology which is to blame here.
It's simply because there are many words in French which sound the same. It's often the case with the plural and singular forms of a word, for example : "garçon/garçons" and "mange/mangent".
But there are also a lot of other homophones not related to each other, such as :
faire / fer
pain / pin
voie / voix / voit
For all of them, context is needed to make the difference by ear, so Duolingo has to accept both answers for sentences in which it's not possible to make a difference. It's also up to the French users to report such sentences.
But once again, for this exercise, it's possible to make the difference by ear.
I really couldn't hear the difference between garçons/garçon, nor mangent/mange, with the text-to-speech. I realise it's a limitation of the technology but it's quite frustrating.
I don't think there is a difference between "garçon" and "garçons". The only way for me to know if it's singular or plural is by the way the article "le" and "les" sound. if you pay close atention you will hear the difference. Anyone is welcome to correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks.
by the way, This is an awesome website for pronunciation
Go on that website and type "le" and "les" you will hear the difference! :)
Listening to it slower, you can clearly hear "Les". Using that, you know that it will be plural. So it must be garçons. The plural of "eating" is "mangent". You can use the les to know the rest of the sentence.
The reason that you heard no difference is because there is no difference in sound between garcon and garcons (excuse the lack of accents) and no difference between mange/mangent. In fact there is no difference between mange/manges/mangent.
However, there is a difference between Le and Les. Listen carefully. Les should rhyme with the english word pay, while le sounds like the second syllable of the word colour (at least it does in Australia).
The difference indeed is on the different pronunciation of LE and LES since you are not supposed to hear the final S of plurals
I agree with Chuboy it is really difficult to tell apart your Le and your Les on this site, the same with Ils vs Il because the conjugated forms for both sound similar when played back
For "Ils" and "Il" there is no difference of pronunciation, that's why.
As for "le" and "les" I guess it's just a matter of practice.
In my introductory French course at university, the difference between "le" and "les" was easier to distinguish because, according to the materials and learning program we used, they were said differently.
"Le" was said more like "loo," with the "oo" said as in "book" but quickly. "Les" was said more like "lay" unless followed by a vowel, in which case there was a liaison of the "s" and the vowel that followed.
I can't attest to the accuracy of this, and even if this stands at some times it probably varies greatly by speaker.
caseface- I think the pronounciation at your university is incorrect. As a native, le never sounds like LOO.
@Mitaine56, caseface was not saying le sounds like loo; she was saying the vowel sound is similar to the "oo" specifically in the word "book, which is short and different from the "oo" in pool...and is almost like [uh]. So she was trying to say le sounds like luh.
mere_des-chats, you might be right, but as a native, I don't see any similarity between le and the sound of OO in book, maybe it's regional.
It is not an exact science but if you were to teach someone how to say "le" without using phonetic spelling but just explaining like caseface tried to, how would you do it?
My way would be to say it is a cross between the vowel sound in UK "per" and the vowel sound in "book". Another way would be to say that the vowel sound is like the beginning of the word "about"...the schwa sound.
When kids mean to express a sense of amusement at someone saying the obvious, they make a sound that can be written as "duh" or "doh". To me that sound is close to "de", only de is so short it may even sound as if one is just making the sound a D makes in a word. And le is similar.
In conclusion, I feel caseface's example is not so off, because when I asked someone else to repeat "le" as they heard it on Forvo, they said LOW the LOH. When I told them to think of book and produce the same vowel sound but short, they came up with a sound like [l'uh].... which was much better.
So I don't know if it is regional or not, but it seems caseface's suggestion is not that far off. It helps finetune the ear IMO hear the word better and to not repeat it as LAH or LOH or LEH --which are all variations I have used for "le" before I finally got its difference from leur, l'eau, les, etc.
I agree at least on one point. You're absolutely right about your exemple with "About". That's the only exemple I would think of for the sound of LE. Thanks for your comments, if it can help someone, the job is done.
arminavill- someone who thinks he's Einstein put you a down vote on this, but you're absolutely right. The Z in riz is silent.
Le is pronounced like "lu" Les is pronounced like "lay" Just pointers for people struggling with pronunciation.
muneera- du, always in front of a masculine noun, du pain, du vin. de often in front of la, de la neige (snow) de la farine (flour). de to say that an object is made of : une table de bois Wood)., ou en bois. une robe de velours. (velvet dress)
It is not incorrect. If you get marked wrong for that again, report it.
What the ❤❤❤❤!! So it says we are eating rice then it wants the answer nous mange du riz, which is really we are eating some rice. But when it says du in french all of a sudden it wants du to mean some instead of the again why is this happening? Im thinking about quitting this stupid app
"Du" has never meant "the" in any of my studies. It has meant "of the", "from the", and "some":
Je bois du vin = I drink (some) wine
Il revient du marché = He returns from the market
L'enfant du professeur arrive = The teacher's child arrives/The child of the teacher arrives
I just re-read your post and I am not sure I understand what your problem is.
The definitions are supposed to be used to help us learn the vocabulary. They are not supposed to spoon-feed us answers every time because if they did we would not bother getting to know the words. By not listing that du mean some, you are forced to use your memory to try to remember what you have learned so far. That you know du means some is good and shows you didn't need it to be listed.
What do you mean? Can you reword your question to clarify what you are asking?
oops! I meant, why cant it have an S on it so you know it is boyS not just boy. better?
The word garçons does have an S at the end, and so there is no question about it being plural. That S at the end makes it clear that it translates to boyS. Furthermore, the article before it les is plural of le so that too is a clue that the word is plural. Or what are you referring to?
If you mean why isn't the S pronounced, well, that is just how the language works. But you would still know it's plural because of the article les /LAY/ which is pronounced differently from le /LUH/.
Before starting the lessons in a section of the French tree, you may find it helpful to log onto Duolingo on a PC so you can scroll down past the lessons and read the Tips and Notes which introduce the section. If you had done that, you would have learned about du before starting the exercises. Here is the page you missed (scroll down to the notes): https://www.duolingo.com/skill/fr/Food
When it says du riz it sounds like du ree and sometimes i get a little confused
'eating' isn't an option. I agree it is correct but not included in the options presented!
How can I differentiate between mangent and mange?
If you mean pronunciation, they sound the same. Mangent is used with plural third person, mange is used with singular first and third person.
So if the subject is plural les garçons as you can tell from the pronunciation /lay gaRso(ng')/, then you know you should use mangent; if singular le garçon /luh gaRso(ng')/, then you use mange.