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"Je suis petit car je suis un enfant."

Translation:I am small because I am a child.

January 10, 2013

126 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gliteringdoenut

Can you not say Je suis petite? I thought the rule was the adjective applies to the subject and as I am a girl, petite should be allowed? I know it is the convention to have the masculine form but still


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bill-Roca

You can hear the difference using this synthesizer set to French ... http://www.acapela-group.com/text-to-speech-interactive-demo.html ... enter this text and listen to the slight difference between spoken 'petit' and 'petite'

"Je suis petit. Je suis petite. Je suis petit. Je suis petite."

It's exactly as territrades describes but it helps me to hear both words spoken like this.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexCGuest

Did you also use une enfante at the end of the sentence?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MmeMAS

un enfant is used to describe a female child, also. Une enfante is incorrect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Incygneia

Actually, "UNE enfant" is used to describe a female child. There is no feminine form, but you can still use "une" to distinguish the child as female.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Coru

so... Car, depuis, parce que, du fait, all ways to say because?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexCGuest

It's like as, for, because, and since in English. Not quite synonymous all the time, but can often be interchangeable.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tenfef

Why is "I am short" not legit? I thought grand and petit, were small and big as well as tall and short.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wdawson65

im not totally sure, but as far as i am concerned, grand and petit only mean big and small, not tall and short. i am pretty sure there are other words for short and tall, but if not, the word they were looking for was obviously small.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Incygneia

No, "I am short" should be a reasonable answer. When petit and grand are used to modify people, they often mean short or tall. You should ask that it be added as a viable answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hartlepublian

I agree, at least within the context of Duolingo, I have previously been penalised for translating "petit" as "small" instead of "short"; likewise with "grand" as "big" instead of "tall".

It makes sense, certainly in English there is a difference between saying someone is short and someone is small. It's left me confused as to what the correct context is for using either.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rachopertrat

There is a word for short, as well, which is 'court' or 'courte'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/orzechod

I thought 'court(e)' was a length of time and not a physical measurement, but I could be mis-remembering.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rachopertrat

Well I've always used it as a physical measurement, and I would be surprised if it isn't used as that, but I don't know for sure.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/domidomi

As a native French speaker, I can assure you that "court" is both used as a physical measurement and a length of time, but it is not used for people. You cannot say of someone that he is "court" or "long", but you can say it of a skirt (une jupe courte) or of a period of time for instance.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/K333222

Bonjour, domidomi !

I have one unrelated question here, and I would appreciate if you could give your opinion on it. There was a discussion on another thread whether "court" should go before or after the noun here. One grammar link lists this adjective (same as "long", its opposite) alongside with "petit", "nouveau", and several other similar, widely used adjectives (about 20 of them in total, as I have seen so far) which should usually go before the noun (that was the claim of this link) - these are so-called BANGS exceptions. To have its literal, usual meaning (short), according to this link, adjective "court" should go before the noun (unlike the vast majority of adjectives in French). If this is correct, placing it after the noun would change its meaning - it would, then, have somewhat changed, more figurative meaning...

Well, considering your superior knowledge as a native French speaker, could you please say something about it: does it matter at all whether it is placed before or after the noun, and would you ever place it before the noun, or only after the noun (as you had above)? Can it have any other meaning then "short" at all? Thanks in advance!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Good question Kristian. It seems that the concept of "Size" in the "BANGS" guide is somewhat an anomaly where Small=Petit/e comes before the noun it modifies but Short=Court/e comes after, however this contradicts your results from your research. I second your wish for clarification.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaggiePye

Yes, but it is not generally used to describe people. The length of a piece of string, or of a skirt, yes, but not people.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/T4U

I put in kid instead of child and it said it was wrong why?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

In English, "kid" is an informal word. It is comparable to the French "gamin(e)" or "gosse".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kikki90

Would it be correct if I wrote "Je suis petit, parce que je suis un enfant"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MmeMAS

IMO that would be correct; however, I don't remember the structure of the exercise. If you feel strongly that your answer is correct, you should report it at the time.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kikki90

can a native speaker answer to this question? I am a bit confused about parce que/ car, etc.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RondeKooter

I thinks so but i am not sure. Please help!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Incygneia

According to the website (which has been posted twice now), car indicates a justification while parce que indicates a reason. For example, "je t'aime parce que tu es gentil" (I like you because you are kind) versus "il fait froid, car c'est janvrier" (It's cold because it's January). Does that distinction help?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/H_eyelid

This may have been asked elsewhere - what is the difference between car and parce que? When might one use one but not the other?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/amblings

Why isn't "infant" a valid translation for "enfant"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Seintos

The French word for "infant" is "nourrisson" or "bébé"; "enfant" has the more general meaning of "child."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_Amanda.

Can i say: "je suis petit parce que je suis un enfant." ? What's the difference between this two sentences?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Hi Amanda. You've raised a pertinent query here and as always the answer to a simple question is really involved and lengthy. Too much for this space. Firstly yes you can use both forms and no, in this sentence there is little if any difference. However Parce que and Car have differing functions and there are times when one will not do. I went to "www.about.com/fr grammar parce que vs car" followed the link and a very interesting complete lesson came up. It also goes some way to settle the confusion around the the lesson which used depuis que "since" and the confusing English double usage of "since" both for temporal and causal purposes. Well worth the time for anybody doing this lesson of Duo's here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GiovanniMartin16

This is a song. Je suis petit car je suis en enfant du monde. Je remue le ciel, le jour, la nuit.......


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vladmir866735

"I am small as I am a kid" is what it said was the correct response #confusing


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Well now Vladmir, this is a language learning course, remember. "Car"=because, not "as" and a "Kid" is a young goat.. Still confused?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/appelez-moi_aria

What's the difference between car and parce que? Merci !


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ReynaAranello

I was a bit confused about it myself until I saw this page. It's very helpful. Check it out! http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/conclusions.htm Good luck with your french! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/imalwaysok

I thought parce que was because that's how I learned it in french class.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaggiePye

There is more than one French word that can be translated as "because."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/A_W28

Why is there a choice in the language section for English (USA) and not English (UK)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

Some hints are labeled so as to differentiate terms that are more common in AmE from those that are more common in BrE. E.g., "un camion" = a truck (AmE), a lorry (UK). Not every English noun is going to carry such a label so consider it a nice surprise if it is so indicated. When there are US and UK versions shown, it generally means that either will be accepted as part of an otherwise correct answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mehki227

If I'm female and i say I'm petite, why can't i say une enfant?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/King2E4

The reason is simple. There's no such thing as "une enfante", just "un enfant". "un enfant" means "a child", right? Well, a child can either be a boy or a girl, so there's no need for two forms.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

With respect King2E4, you are mistaken here. There certainly is the feminine form of Un Enfant which is indeed Une Enfant (no E ending Enfant) if the child is a girl. If the gender is not known, or the noun is a generalisation then the gender defaults to masculine.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/badlang

Doesn't like the English word 'infant'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

The English word "infant" = "le nourrisson" (it may also be translated as "newborn"). Of course there is also "le bébé" (baby). But "l'enfant" means "child" (not "infant").


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbubakarMe4

While pronouncing, why is the 's' of suis not conjoined with the 'un' like the 'n' of 'un' is with the 'e' of enfant? What's the rule?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Hi Abubakar. To shift the tongue's position and the mouth shape to go from "ee" of "Suis" and "uh" of "Un" the consonant "Y" is faintly sounded. So the mouth/tongue is actually going from a faint consonant to a vowel sound rather than from a vowel sound to a vowel sound so, no elision. With "In" and "Enfant" however, these are two definite vowel sounds and without the elision would be very difficult to pronounce, hence the "N" of "Un" is sounded to both facilitate ease of pronunciation and separate "Un" from "Enfant."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GeoGene

Can you use "parce-que" instead of car?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Yes, Geo, but there may be academic constraints and I'm not knowledgeable enough in French Grammar to advise. What I do know is "Car" cannot begin a sentence. If you read this thread your query has been addressed.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fondr3

difference between car and parce que


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Big subject but as a start; Car can not start a sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhantomPhlyer

Then my old High School French dialogue was wrong, as it was "Car je voudrais regardez le journal." (Because I would like to look at the newspaper." You may want to recheck that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

Nothing against your former teacher but "car" should not be used to begin a sentence. Open this link in a browser to learn more about how "car" and "parce que" are used. https://www.thoughtco.com/because-in-french-1368823


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaggiePye

Yes, your old high school French dialogue was, indeed, wrong. At least if it claimed that starting a sentence with "car" was grammatically correct. (We all know that languages as they are spoken by natives do not always follow the rules of grammar strictly. But textbooks, particularly at the high school level, tend to try to teach strictly correct language use, and starting a sentence with "car" is not grammatically correct.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

PhantomPhlyer

If the example you posted is correct then your old High School French dialogue (not sure what that is) was also correct.

Your example is not a sentence and thus can begin with anything that seems reasonable. However, according to many knowledgeable people here and the links provided...car cannot start an actual sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ViolettE2704

What about Parce que


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

"Parce que" is also accepted here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gyurin-

I was marked wrong because I didn't contract to "i'm"...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

No, that is not the reason. You had a real mistake which we could help you with if you remember what you wrote.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

Gyurin-

The Duo computer reports the first mistake it finds in a sentence. It has no idea what you were thinking. If you have two valid words but one of them conflicts with the other in some way it has no means to know what you intended.

If you use a feminine adjective with a noun spelled in the masculine form the computer has no way of knowing the actual gender of what you are discussing. Both the feminine adjective and the masculine ending noun are correct, just not together. It can't decide ...you must have meant masculine and made a mistake with the adjective.........

Typically it will report the first word that seems out of order. It is a computer. It moves in a linear fashion. Or it could be something as simple as a missing apostrophe or one that is incorrectly typed. You believe it was there but the computer doesn't see it.

There is little point in doing what many people do here and that is typing their oven version of something that is obviously correct. You have to post the whole sentence since your use of I'm was incorrect when applied to the rest of the sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emmaaa.lii

I thought because was parce que


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

It is Liyan. My friend Claude Henri in Marseilles says that Parce Que is slightly more formal than Car. May I add that only Parce Que may be used to begin a sentence, not Car. The expert grammarians on this site may well have more to add.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CallieBasil

is car used more then parce que in France?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Depends on where one is located, Callie, France is a very large country and in addition, in which French-speaking country one is. The main thing to remember is that Car can not be used to begin a sentence. There are finer academic references to the use of each and I'm not confident enough to broach them.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Linet259158

Hii...am new here....struggling alot with pronounciation....any suggestions on how to improve?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

Practice. Lots and lots of practice.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Excellent n6zs. I know that you don't need them but I'll post a lingot thingamajig to highlight your post; it is important in my view. Votre ami JJ.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

Tu es très gentil, mon ami.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HynekBagar

why I cannot use I am small because I am a kid ??? kid is the synonym for a child.. wtf?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaggiePye

That has been answered at least a dozen times in this forum. Read the other responses.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carlosbstatu

why cant I say: Je suis petit puisque je suis un enfant.??


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

@Carlosbstatu. You could but in this sentence Since=A time lapse and not a reason. Since is a very ambiguous word in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhantomPhlyer

I used 'infant' and I was told that was incorrect, even though the word does translate to that as well. What gives?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaggiePye

"Enfant" does not translate to "infant." That's what gives.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhantomPhlyer

You are incorrect. It can mean child, baby, kid, youngster, and infant. There are other words that can translate as infant (such as bebe), but enfant is the go-to word that can be translated to a number of words. There are, according to Google translate, twelve words that enfant can translate as.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaggiePye

You just cited Google Translate? Okay, done with you!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

PhantomPhlyer

An infant is a particular type of child. An infant is always a child but a child is not always an infant. Your translation of child to infant without any supporting context is introducing qualities to the child that are not present in the sentence.

It is not correct to say that child and infant have the same meaning and can be freely interchanged, both in English and French.

You misunderstand how to use Google Translate. You have it backwards. It isn't saying all those other words can replace enfant. It is saying enfant can replace all those other words because it has a different, more general, more inclusive meaning than those other words. Enfant is the go to word that all those other words can be translated to not from.

And that is only if you are not trying to provide a precise definition but deliberately avoiding doing so by replacing a more narrowly defined word with a more general word. Nothing wrong with that of course. Unless someone is asking you to be reasonably precise as Duo does.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/A_W28

Not all children are small


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

At some point, all children are small and apparently the one speaking this sentence is actually small.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Charlotte616214

My microphone on my computer doesn't work so whenever I try and do this question, I get it wrong even though I can pronounce it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

Sorry about your trouble but it is of no use to post this information here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/northernguy

n6zs

Other than to tell him that if he doesn't have a high end system complete with expensive microphone, lots of available ram, a very high speed connection and software at the other end that doesn't dumb down the accuracy requirements when lossy input arrives, he is wasting his time if he thinks Duo will help him with improving his spoken efforts.

From other comments I have read, Duo doesn't have very high requirements when grading spoken input. Not surprising when you consider all the variables between the Duo server and the student speaking into the microphone. Leaving aside all the issues surrounding just exactly how any given word should be pronounced and what is a wrong pronunciation compared to one that is slightly different and perhaps even common.

Of course, it always good to practice speaking the target language no matter what your reason for doing so is. So for those so inclined, continue using Duo's option to have it grade your spoken input.

Take heart from being judged correct. Don't pay too much attention when it says you are wrong. I mean it is just a computer. What does it know about human conversation anyway?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/avenger2005

❤❤❤❤ my ass


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AcornBerries

You don't have to be small to be a child. You also don't have to be a child to be small. You can be both, though.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaggiePye

This does not say either of your first two statements. It says that the speaker is small because he is a child.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ImNazHam03

Not true there is a 12 year old girl in my class and she is 5"11


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Well now, ImNazHam. A 12 year-old, especially a female of that age, is not a child (L'Enfant) but a boy (Un garcon) or a girl (Une fille). Also you have put (") which is inches in English. The mark for feet (a foot) is ( ' ). With respect, JJ.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

Don't assume that the statement given in an exercise represents a universal truth. It is just an exercise demonstrating the use of the word "car".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/amygilliatt

I wrote "I am small CAUSE I am a child". Why is this not correct? It's just a more colloquial way of saying because, and seems to fit better with sounding vaguely similar to "car".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JRPlanet

"Cause" (the way you're using it here) is not an actual word. It's "because," so if anything, you'd need an apostrophe before it to denote a contraction. It would need to be " 'cause " and I doubt you would find that in any dictionary except perhaps a slang dictionary. IMHO " 'cause " would be too slangy to qualify as correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaggiePye

You will find it in dictionaries, but it's marked as slang/informal, and I agree that it's not a good translation. (If anything, car is slightly more formal than parce que, not less.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/katarina.m4

Why can't i use 'cause instead of because? Isn't in french similar with car and parce que?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Hi Katarina. 'Cause won't work just as "coz" won't. "Aintit" and "Innit" won't work for "Isn't it" even though "Isn't it" works for "Is it not" and there's the crux. So long as a phrase or word (as here) is considered preferentially "correct" and an abbreviation or slang is not, Duo will mark it down, as incorrect English rather than incorrect translation. Duo does have some "Couth". Another reason is that Duo will want to teach us the word "Cause" as in "Cause and Effect" and 'cause is just going to confuse things, especially for those whose English is a second language. Have a thought for them, eh?.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaggiePye

No. "'Cause" is an informal abbreviation of "because." Parce que and car are both independent French words/phrases that, in English, translate to "because" (although there are some subtle differences in meaning between them).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chwastek

I'm pretty sure that "I'm small 'cause I'm a kid" is the spot on translation... but it was marked as wrong one :F cane we apply " 'cause" version?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

I think not. It isn't good English and also the program may not recognise it as a contraction but a reason giving rise to an action as in "The heavy rain was the Cause of the flood".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Batmansteel

I think that baby should be accepted too. Not just child.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaggiePye

Except "baby" is not an accurate translation of enfant. Enfant means "child."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

Hi Bat. Child=L'Enfant. Baby=Le Bebe (with accents)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bill689876

Cause and because its the same thing i think you sould take it as right answer


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaggiePye

Duolingo tends to only accept answers in standard English. (That does not mean that answers in other dialects of English are "wrong"--but they're not acceptable as answers here. )


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

Many people use informal speech patterns in everyday conversation: gonna, wanna, cause (for "because"), shoulda, coulda, etc. This extends to the use of what looks like contractions which are really the transliteration of slurred speech. When writing, you must use correct English (and correct French).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pettatina

I think Je suis petite also should be accepted.... isn't that a bit too androcentered there?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JRPlanet

I think the audio is the key here. I almost said "petite" because I am a woman, but listened again and didn't hear the 't' in petite, so realized it should be "petit."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

If you get the audio exercise, it must be "petit" (sounds like petee). In the feminine gender "petite", you will clearly hear the final "T" also.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jon0ary

Why is "petite" wrong. For a fem speaker it should be with e


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2075

If you got the audio exercise, then it is only "petit" (sounds like petee). If the feminine gender "petite" was used, you would heard the final "T" clearly pronounced.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yohanalzuh1

When will i ever use this duo?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

When you understand that to learn a language you need to learn its grammar and that is all this task attempts


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaggiePye

You may never use this precise sentence, but the point is not to give you a set of sentences to memorize.

You can't picture any circumstances where you might want to say, "I am [SOMETHING], because [SOMETHING]?" "I am short because I am a child." "I am tired because I am ill." "I am hungry because I haven't eaten since yesterday." They're all going to use the same basic sentence structure.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_chelynn._

Nobody would say a sentence like this


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaggiePye

Perhaps not, but the point of Duolingo is not to give you a list of sentences to memorize and then use. Maybe nobody would say, "I am short because I am a child" (although I have heard a child say exactly that... in French), but this gives you the structure to say, "I am X because Y," which might be useful. "I am tired because I am ill." "I am hungry because I haven't eaten since yesterday." "I am hurrying because I am late." And so on.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dbrowning

shouldn't it be "Je suis petit car c'est un enfant" since enfant has the article 'un' preceding it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Incygneia

That sentence would be translated "I am small because it is a child" whereas you want "I am small because I am a child" - you can still have un in front of enfant, just like I can say, "Je suis une femme".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wendynoll

What happened to parce que?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jackjon

There's loads to this. Go to About.com french parce que vs car where much is explained.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BetsyHanes

The speaker is female; why isn't she saying "Je suis petite car se juis une enfant"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MmeMAS

The gender of the speaker is irrelevant. What matters is the pronunciation


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/H_eyelid

The sex of the word "enfant" does not change based on whether the child is a male or female child.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaggiePye

The gender (which is the word we use for grammar) of the word "enfant" does, in fact, change: Un enfant is a male child, or the generic word for a child whose gender is not specified. Une enfant is a female child.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaggiePye

Because the speaker is just reading a sentence. If I read a book out loud, and the first-person narrator is male, I'm not going to change the gender of things because I'm a woman.

Pay attention to the grammatical/pronunciation markers in the sentence, not the Duobot's apparent gender.

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