As a native french speaker, "Elle parle toute seule" means "she speaks, but no one is listening". This sentence is the equivalent of "Elle parle dans le vide", meaning "she speaks to the void", and so I propose for translation "she speaks alone".
From the other comments, "elle se parle" isn't used, even if grammarticaly correct. One sentence will be "Elle se parle à elle-même", and the meaning is "she speaks to herself", i.e. inside her head.
But does that mean that she is just speaking alone or also that she speaks to herself?
I hope you can understand why it's difficult for learners to grasp such phrases when we also have native French speakers suggesting that this is not how to say 'she talks to herself'. Is it possible for DL to hide contentious exercises until a definitive source can be rederenced?
The problem is DL does not hire someone who is academically and professionally competent to translate the course in particular language. They rely on volunteers to develop the course, so you will find a lot of cases where native speakers disagree on some simple stuff.
Duolingo uses a community of moderators from all over the world to provide guidance. They are a talented group of very academically and professionally competent people who work hard and endlessly without compensation. This is not a problem, but what makes this program so useful. Language is full of variations across regions and generations and the combined efforts of the moderators is what makes Duolingo such a powerful program.
Of course we shouldn't assume native-speaking commenters are always correct, or that their comments always tell the full story about their language or the other, or that we ourselves have reached perfect understanding.
In English, "I'm talking to myself" can very well mean that while I'm trying to get my point across to others, no one is listening. Presumably (and based on the evidence) it's the same in French.
I hope I'm not talking to myself with this comment, and that I'm not talking into the void.
This makes perfect sense to me, and I've seen people say "I'm talking to myself here" to draw attention to someone else's rude inattention. though the feeling would probably be phrased in English as "I might as well be talking to myself" or "It's like I'm talking to a wall" more often than "I'm talking into the void."
More direct translations of this phrase were rejected, so I assume that it's idiomatic.
I translated the sentence as "She speaks all alone". Isn't that correct?
Why "toute"? Adverbs aren't masculine or feminine. Wouldn't "tout" be the correct word here?
The adverb is however describing the adjective alone which is referring back to the subject which is feminine. The adjective agrees with the subject and the adverb agrees with the adjective.
"Tout" requires gender and number agreement with its subject. That's why you see "tout", "toute", "tous", and "toutes".
Of course, Lycanthrope. But I see "tout" as an adverb in this case describing the feminine adjective "seule" . Adverbs do NOT have gender.
According to http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/tout.htm, "tout" as an adverb DOES -- sometimes -- have agreement. If the subject is feminine and the adjective following tout-the-adverb starts with a consonant, then tout-the-adverb should agree with the subject in both gender and number - i.e., "Elle parle toute seule" and "Elles parlent toutes seules" are correct. If I'm understanding it correctly, then for masculine subjects and for feminine subjects when tout-the-adverb is followed by a vowel, tout-the-adverb is invariably "tout." So, "Il parle tout seul" and "Ils parlent tout seuls" are also correct.
Thank you, Cornflake62, I learnt something useful so I've given you a lingot. I expect you meant "seulS" in your last sentence.
OK, this time the literal English translation (she speaks all alone) does make sense, and duolingo is not accepting it. It's very frustrating trying to guess which time it will insist on a nonsensical English translation and reject a normal-English equivalent, and which time it will reject a fairly sensible literal translation in favor of colloquial English. But it's only a database after all.
"She is talking all alone" is accepted. Generally the verb 'Speak" does expect that you have someone that you are speaking to, if only to yourself. Of course there is some overlap of the two verbs. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/speak
That sounds reasonable, but the expression is an idiom that means "she talks to herself".
I typed "She speaks alone" but got it wrong. So I am encouraged that a native speaker has affirmed this as a reasonable translation. I get that it is idiomatic, and yet it is perplexing that there is no reflexive verb here or construction making explicit that she is the recipient of her own speech. Good to learn this.
I have a question about what I could clue me in (in "write what you hear") that this is singular rather than plural. In the current political climate there is a lot of conversation about how women (elles) talk (for instance in an office meeting) and nobody hears what they say unless a man repeats it. I can easily imagine "elles parlent toutes seules." But would that ever be phrased like this in French? If not, how would you express it, and if it was phrase like this, how different would it sound from "elle parle toute seule?"
In this section, there are a lot of confusing sentences, need improvements
I put "she speaks alone" which was marked wrong. I have seen the answers below confirming that it means "she talks to herself" but if this is the case how do you say "she speaks alone" i.e. goes and speaks to someone by herself rather than with others or stands up alone in front of an audience.
I think if "Elle parle toute seule=she talks to herself" is phrasal or practiced version then it's ok but if we follow literally then "she speaks all alone" is closer and for "she speaks to herself" " Elle se parle a elle-meme" is more close. (Just perception)!
I'd like to know about this too. Is it idiomatic to translate "she speaks to herself", as, "elle parle toute seule"? I would think that a more direct translation would be "elle se parle toute seule", with the "toute seule" being optional and only included to stress that she is really talking to herself.
I agree... Elle se parle means «She talks to herself.» I would say Elle parle toute seule means «She talks by herself.»
According to wordreference.com, "parler tout seul" means to talk to oneself--so while I think "Elle se parle" is another correct French translation, the English translation for the Duo sentence here could only be "She talks to herself" or "She is talking to herself" (or "speak" instead of "talk")
As a native speaker, "elle se parle" is not common use, and for me isn't a correct translation.
Oh okay thank you. Just wondering though, how would we say «She talks by herself» ? For example in the context where she is the only presenter vs other presenters who were in pairs or groups.
That is exactly the context I was imagining and how I would express that. Thank you for including it in this conversation, as I think it very relevant. If this is NOT the way you'd say that, can someone please illuminate us as to how you would say that.