There is a sound difference between "chien" and "chienne", and there is also a sound difference between "lequel" and "laquelle".
Use the sound on this link to get used to this kind of difference :
If you play the recording slowly, and listen carefully, you can hear that in "lequel", the sound after the initial [l] is like that of the <ou> in English "famous", or like that of the <eu> in French "peu". That's how you can tell it's not "laquelle". At the end of "chien", there is no clearly articulated [n] sound. The end of the word sounds like how some speakers of African American Vernacular English say "man" as [maaa], with a nasal [a]. That's how you can tell it's not chienne.
Yes, "Quel est votre chien ?" also works, but has a slightly different meaning.
We use "lequel, laquelle, lesquels, lesquelles" when we're talking about a thing among a predetermined set of things/people/animals.
We use "quel, quelle, quels, quelles" when we're talking about one thing among a vast and unspecified amount of things/people/animals.
- "Quel est ton acteur préféré ?" = "Who's your favorite actor ?" (among all the actors)
- "Tu ne peux prendre qu'un seul bonbon, lequel choisis-tu ?" = "You can only take one candy, which one do you choose ?" (among the candies you have in front of you)
This is a great explanation, but I'm still a bit confused about how it applies in this case. What would be an example where one would say "Quel est ton chien ?" instead of "Lequel est votre chien ?"
What makes this more confusing for me is the fact that, in English, "Which is your dog?" and "Which one is your dog?" mean the same thing. (Well, there may be a very subtle difference between the two, but they're essentially interchangeable; I can't think of a situation where one would apply but not the other).
Whether we have or don't have dogs in front of us doesn't really matter, I was talking about the exercise itself ^^. If the sentence talks about dogs, so must the translation, and vice versa.
Actually I think that "Which one is your dog" is the appropriate translation for "Lequel est votre chien ?".
The correct translation for "Which dog is yours" would be : "Quel chien est le vôtre ?", even if the two sentences have the same meaning.
I am a portuguese speaker, and we have a very similar word to lequel and laquelle. Duolingo says the translation to english is "which one", but I think "is that" would be a better translation. Because which one implies you're asking about one dog among a group of dogs, but I have the sensation that you can you lequel and laquelle even when speaking about a dog alone. Is that correct?
Yes, usually, but not necessarily. It's not incorrect to use "chienne" if you don't know the gender, it's just that traditionally French uses masculine when unsure, but it's not incorrect to assume the gender that comes to your mind. No one can tell you that you speak improper French for this ^^.
Read the entire thread - it is quite useful. But, "lequel" = "which one" of several you are choosing from, "quel" = "which one" or "what" of an unspecified and possibly unspecifiable number. "Lequel est votre chien?" = Which one (of the dogs we are discussing, of the dogs we can see, of the dogs we know about) is your dog? "Quel est votre chien?" = Which one, which type, which breed (of all the various breeds and types there are) is your dog?