I think it should also be mentioned that "malgré" on its own means "in spite of/despite". It becomes "unwillingly" only with the addition of a stressed pronoun-- in spite of herself. Without the use of "elle" here, the sentence would not make sense. Even in English, the expression is always "despite something".
For example: "In spite of the rain, we dance outside." Hence: "Malgré la pluie, nous dansons dehors."
Despite means in spite of. Despite of herself would mean in spite of of herself.
Actually, there is an idiomatic use of in despite of but it is used so rarely that you will never see or hear or it. (in ordinary conversation and writing) Duo quite correctly rejects that formation since it doesn't fit in any of the sentences that we deal with.
"Despite" and "in spite of" mean exactly the same thing (regardless, even though) and so they're synonyms of one another.
So you can use either one word (despite) OR a 3-word phrase (in spite of).
Here are a few examples:
Despite her headache, she went to work. Despite the rain, the concert still went ahead.
In spite of her headache, she....etc.) In spite of the rain, the..... etc).
Note too that you can swap the sentences around where the comma is.
Eg. She went to work, despite her headache.
In spite of herself or despite herself = she WANTS to do IT or DOES IT, even if (though) IT is not good for her
Doing something against her will = she DOESN'T WANT to do it, but DOES IT anyway for some reason, i.e., (she HAS to do it because she's forced to or she feels compelled to do it)
These are very different meanings.
I respectfully disagree with your translations lpacker, as my previous post states.
Additionally, unintentionally and inadvertently mean that she made a mistake, as in, she didn't know what she was doing. In spite of herself means she knows what she's doing is not a good idea, but she's going to do it anyway.
Yeap. If the French structure is almost the same as the English structure, Duo would rather have us learners structure the sentence as it is...unless the french structure is way off from the English translation or vice-versa. In spite of us complaining about it, Duo likes it his way. :)
It would make sense if, say, the boy has a girlfriend, and despite her (the girlfriend), she (the subject of our sentence) likes the boy. However, "despite herself" is probably the more intuitive translation here. "Despite it" would more likely be expressed as "malgré cela" or "malgré ça" (really "Despite that/this," but that's how you're be more likely to say it in English anyway).
Love is pretty intense for an unwilling feeling. You might love someone against your better judgement but unwilling doesn't really seem to go with love. Will itself seems to be a pretty deep seated, complete state.
A teacher might unwillingly like a student. But loving someone against your will would seem to require a lot of context to understand. When a person is puzzled by their love for someone, what they are wondering about is why they are willing to do so given other considerations.
Just my opinion of course, but that does seem to be what Duo thinks.
In the example I gave above, "despite herself" carries the same meaning as "unwillingly". She loved him despite herself, despite the fact that she did not want to. She loved him unwillingly, as she couldn't control it.
I agree, it sounds a wee bit off, but there really isn't anything wrong with the use of "unwillingly" here.
Yes, you did. But that didn't translate this sentence. This sentence in French has two 'elle' words. One of which can be translated as 'herself' and one as 'she'. It doesn't need speculation about dramatic she's at the end of sentences.
Edited because run out of replies. You couldn't say 'she, herself liked' or 'she, her liked' because that would be ungrammatical. Elle in French varies depending on where it is in the sentence on how you translate it into English.
It takes a while for that little quirk to sink in. If you want to use 'like' for people then you put 'bien' after the aime. (Though if you do actually mean they like them romantically then you can leave the bien out). When 'like' is used to mean 'be romantically interested in' in English its usually done with intonation which is harder to express in written form.
Why isn't this "elle-même"? In my experience, someone wouldn't just say "elle" unless it was a third party (or something/noun of a female gender, e.g. la vie). If they just use "elle", I assume it to be a third person, so "her" should be accepted. And 'herself' could maybe be acceptable, but it would not be normal.
Sorry if this was already answered in the other 125+ comments.
"In spite of her better judgement , she likes that boy" was marked wrong and I was given this " Against her better judgement , she likes that boy" as the correct answer. I think the Duo computer needs amending as my answer is perfectly correct and acceptable english , it means exactly the same as the one given by Duo. 29/11/17
Why is it that "malgré elle" means "despite herself" in this translation? Shouldn't they have used "malgré elle-même" instead. "Malgré elle" seems more open-ended in this sentence, like there is another girl that could cause conflict to her loving this boy. I'm using Duolingo to go over my French, (mostly for vocabulary retention, because I've finished all of the elementary French courses at my university) and I've always been taught that it is correct to use the elle-même form for saying herself. Is this an equally accepted way of saying elle-même?