"Je motive mon garçon."

Translation:I motivate my boy.

January 9, 2013

This discussion is locked.


Why is not "encourage" possible?


In real life, you may consider it as a synonym. But Duo prefers that we use words that are similar or close from one language to the other, every time it is possible.

However, "encourager" can be just about shouting "go go go!".

Motivating someone is giving him/her powerful levers and reasons to give his/her best.


Sitesurf, there is an important matter of nuance here. In English we almost never talk of one person directly motivating another. It comes across as too aggressive and too paternalistic. Instead we talk of encouraging others because the implication in using that word is one more of 'carrot' than 'stick'.

We still use motivate in a sense of self-motivation and of outside factors motivating us, e.g. 'the cold weather will motivate me to get the insulation on the house completed'. But again, one person motivating another would be seen as possibly unwanted interference.

The native English speaker, on reading the French sentence and understanding it but also appreciating the difference in nuance I have outlined above, will very naturally choose to use the word encourage here instead of the more literal translation. And should be allowed to do so.


The fact that motivating people could be aggressive or paternalistic is complete surprise to me.

I have heard that verb used very often when it comes to staff or troops management and even in education and I have found lots of examples, like:

motivate teams

motivate troops

motivate pupils


I think the poster means that motivating someone one on one outside of a business environment seems like an unusual thing to say.


It's very common for one person to motivate another. My grandfather highly motivated me to become good at math. I don't know where you got the idea that one person "motivating" another isn't correct terminology. After all, the very definition of "motivate" is:

  1. provide (someone) with a motive for doing something.

  2. stimulate (someone's) interest in or enthusiasm for doing something.

On the other hand, "encourage" is defined as this:

  1. give support, confidence, or hope to (someone).

  2. give support and advice to (someone) so that they will do or continue to do something.

You said that "motivate" comes across as paternalistic, but I think "encourage" does more so.


I agree completely. Parents often "motivate" their children to finish their supper by witholding dessert until after. However, I can see why some could be confused, since the use of the English vocabulary can vary immensly from one place to another.


I can sympathise with your point and would like to add. It seems to me the nuance of the word "motivate" depends on your personal experience, and perhaps ego as well. To be motivated suggests you need motivating, implying laziness... i think thats the nuance there... i also disagree with your carrot and stick analogy with regards to motivate and encourage. My thoughts :)


I completely agree with you in regards to the aggressive nuance of 'motivate', but I don't think it's a matter of translation. I think the verb 'motivate' - in English and Italian for sure, I don't know about other languages - has gained this nuance in the last 10, maybe 15 years because of its heavy use in business and sports environments, i.e. in highly competitive environments. There is something hypocritical and fake that is perceived in business 'motivational speeches' for example, because quite often they're not used in their original meaning, but only as a way to hype up people while asking them to perform very difficult or impossible tasks. In Italian even more so as it is now perceived as vain business jargon directly translated from the American business use. You use 'encourage' if it comes from the heart, 'motivate' if it is about something more practical that has to be achieved or if you want to have something done by your inferiors in an organisation. These are the nuances that are perceived at this moment in time, I think. Of course if I read it in a piece of literature the context might allow me to understand it in the original meaning!


Regardless of nuances, Sitesurf is correct. You can motivate your boy by punishing him, which is by no means encouragment.


true i will give you a lingot


Motivate means to give someone a reason to do something (a motive), while encourage means to give them support (or courage) in it. They're very similar but you could say that showing support, cheering, being there for someone, etc, is encouraging, while giving them a reason (punishment for failure, reward for victory, "Do this and I'll be happy", etc) is motivating. In real life they are close enough to be interchangeable in most cases.


I wrote: 'I am encouraging my boy' and got it correct......


how do you motivate him i wonder...


I was thinking the same hahahah


Can "mon garçon" also mean "My boyfriend"?


No, "mon garçon" is "my boy" or "my son". Boyfriend is "petit ami"


Although it has been said that only people who just got off the boaf say "petit". It would just be "mon ami", unless your boyfriend really is very short, in which case you might insult him.


Doesn't "petit ami" translate to "little friend"? Lol.


In english boy/girl may refer to boyfriend/girlfriend though


Can't it be just "I encourage my boy"? Is there no other translation of 'motiver' other than 'motivate'? It's a little strict, i guess.


Please re. my answer to Aaronhegarc above.


Why can't we say I encourage my son as well as I motivate my son. Are these words not synomyms in english?


You are not supposed to look for English synonyms before you have learned the closer French translation.


Motivate and encourage is the same thing.Right?!


Mah boy, this piece is what all true warriors strive for!


Isn't it "peace"?


heartily agree with preferring encourage to motivate. I would rarely say motivate in english in this context.


What's wrong with "I motivate my waiter"?


A lot. It doesn't really fit the context of motivation (yes, Duo does often deal with nonsense sentences but not when there is a possibility that isn't nonsense) and it's a rude meaning that it's probably best to forget you ever knew.


Thanks for your reply, but I'm afraid I still don't get it. Why can't a waiter be motivated? (Supposing the speaker was the owner of a cafe - he might well want to motivate his waiters, mightn't he?) And why is the meaning rude? (do you mean vulgar or discourteous)? I understand that nuance of language can be/will be lost on people who are just learning to speak it, so if you tell me it's rude I'll take your word for it. But then why isn't it rude when applied to 'my boy'?


I'll grant you that you can make a case for the cafe owner scenario, but the more important point is that garçon used to refer to a (male, usually young and low rank) waiter is something that is dying out as a rude and discourteous thing to say. You're literally calling them "boy" and all that implies about their status. As far as I know, Duolingo never accepts waiter as a proper translation for garçon, probably to discourage it. For your own purposes, use serveur instead when you need to talk about a waiter. Use "Monsieur/Madame/etc." when addressing them.


Thanks. Interesting. I didn't know that garçon was becoming/has become outmoded.


Has been for a while, with the possible exception of film characters. It's sort of like snapping your fingers or whistling to get their attention - they might respond, but you're insulting them by doing so.


Good to know, but shouldn't Duolingo not include it as a possibility when you scroll over it?


You'll still find it in dictionaries (which is what the hover text is essentially). I can see the value in knowing that it can mean that (in certain situations) while also not encouraging it as a translation, especially when the context is a stretch.


I have never heard an English speaker say I MOTIVATE my boy,son or waiter.


"j'motive" cant be used in place of "je motive"?


No. Contractions occur when two vowel sounds meet.


I agree why not encourage


Do the French ever use this (mon garçon) to refer to their sons? Or is this more like something a coach would say about a member of a junior sports team?


can "mon garcon" be translated into "my son" just as "ma femme" into "my wife"?


I thought garçon is only used for a boy (in general) and fils for son (as offspring). My dictionary says "garçon = male child, bachelor, waiter" and "fils = someones son". Mon garçon looks really weird, and I don't quite understand what it or the translation is supposed to mean, my boy just sounds equally weird to me.


I have never, ever, spoken about/to my son as "mon garçon". But some other French people do use this, maybe to mirror "ma fille" (= my daughter)?


Thanks :) It's been almost two decades since I learned French in school and I'm always wondering if the language has changed or if I remember incorrectly or if there's a problem with Duo...


That's what these forums are for... ;-)


my boy, this peace is what all true warriors strive for.


Thank god, not stimulate xD


The verb "to motivate", (at least in American English), has come to imply coercion, mental or physical. Soldiers in basic training (mentioned in the thread), are a good example of people being "motivated". It implies the imposition of another person's will, so it can sound presumptuous or pompous in a more academic context, or with reference to children. It is certainly condescending, even among adults. (Think Shia LaBeouf's "motivational" YouTube rant). But this implication of coercion is apparently not present in the French verb, "motiver" which means something closer to "encourage". Thanks, guys.

As for the second half of the sentence, why apply the pronoun "my" to "boy"? In English, I've never referred to a (human) male as "my boy", so I'm curious as to what the actual thought behind the sentence was, in French. Under what circumstances would a boy be considered "mon garcon"? If he were a student of mine? A relative?


What about "i drive my son"?

[deactivated user]

    Perfect if the aforementioned son is a brand of small vehicles.


    That's my boy!


    Auto correct is not good


    JUST DO IT! screams shia


    Since fille can mean daughter aswell as girl dose garcon also mean son?


    "fille" is the common word for "girl" and "daughter" but there is a word for "son": "fils".

    "mon garçon" may or may not mean "my son", but as a rule on Duolingo, "my boy" will best translate to "mon garçon".


    merci beaucoup :)


    I'm as to why mon garçon doesn't translate to son like ma femme translates to wife.


    My dictionary gives 'justify' as the first of two meanings for 'motiver'. It would not be uncommon for a parent to attempt to justify say a juvenile's aberrant behaviour. Sadly, Duo didn't like my offering. EDIT My source is Collins-Le Robert - paid for. BTW I have never ever used the Duo hints.


    This is what my dictionary says:


    motiver [mɔtive]
    verbe transitif
    [inciter à agir] to spur on (separable), to motivate

    [causer] to be the reason for
    qu'est-ce qui a motivé votre retard ? what's the reason for your being late ?

    [justifier] to justify, to explain
    motiver un refus to give grounds for a refusal

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