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The timed exercise sticks and does not register that I am clicking away at it. It's just will not advance. However when not on timed, it advances very easily. Today is not the first time this problem arose doing times practice. I wonder if others are having trouble with that. I spent 5 seconds at least trying to enter my answer and then more seconds to advance the program to the next question.
It might be what you call it, it might be what I call it (I'm Australian) but it's definitely not what everyone calls it! Duolingo is written by Americans, predominately for Americans. "Loo" is also very colloquial, so I'm not sure it's a good translation for « les toilettes », even though we can call the toilet "the loo".
From the Macquarie dictionary:
- loo /lu/, n. Colloq. a toilet
- toilet /ˈtɔɪlət/, n. 1. a disposal apparatus of any type used for urination and defacation, esp. a water-closet. 2. a room or booth fitted with a water-closet or urinal, often with means for washing face and hands. 3. the act or process of dressing, including bathing, arranging the hair, etc. 4. -> toilet set. 5. the dress or costume of a person; any particular costume: toilet of white silk. 6. Surg. the cleansing of the part or wound after an operation, esp. in the peritoneal cavity. Also, toilette /twa'lɛt/ for defs 3 and 5. [F toilette, diminutive of toile cloth. See toil]
- bathroom /'baθrum/, n. 1. a room fitted with a bath or a shower (or both), and sometimes with a toilet and washbasin. 2. a. a room fitted with a toilet. b. a toilet.
You missed out 'going to the bog'.
I can remember back at school (back while the Earth was still cooling) Bogside in Ireland was in the news every night - and some 12-year-old wag put forward a suggestion for the next school debate, viz: 'Bogside homes are rather LAV-ish'.
For some rather colourful euphamisms, and definitely TMI, take a peek here http://www.yelp.co.uk/topic/london-different-ways-of-saying-im-going-to-the-loo-can-we-hit-50
Back to on/at and sur/au - The visuals that come up depending on the individual's native language are quite interesting.
If I were to say She is on the toilet - I just think of her as being in the bathroom, sure, I know she's not having a shower, but there is no image of her sitting anywhere in particular - it is just an expression to convey something. A native french speaker hearing Sur la toilette would possibly, without thinking, briefly have an image of someone standing on the toilet. They are accustomed to hearing aux toilettes
She is on the toilet is like She is on the phone, which I learned the hard way many years ago is not Elle est sur le telephone To all the french people around me, the mental picture was Carol, my host Mum, actually sitting or standing on her phone. There are many lovely images so created when direct translations are used - I love it.
Not where I come from and I suspect you are in a minority there. She is in the toilet [lavatory/loo] or she has gone to the toilet but 'she is on the toilet' is something most of us only use in relation to small children or someone who is very frail needing help. It wouldn't be good manners.
I don't have any problem with the idea of "les toilettes" referring to a public restroom, but, just to be quite clear, do I correctly understand that one would still use that term even when referring to a bathroom in a private home, where, presumably, there would only be one toilet?
I don't think "loo" is widely used in North America; mainly UK and Australia.
Interestingly I would say "IN the loo", but I would say "ON the toilet" never "IN the toilet" as DL suggests. To me this would mean they are IN the toilet (actually in the bowl itself). Loo can refer to the room so sounds OK with IN.
Maybe its a regional thing. Guess I'll be swimming in the bowl next time this question comes around - one has to go to great lengths to avoid losing a heart!
I find that "a" (with an accent) is best translated as "at" as a first step. That gives you the meaning, then if the sentence doesn't read as good English change it to in/to as needed. Elle va a Paris - She is going at (to) Paris. Elle est a Paris - she is at (in) Paris.
Just is I'm afraid - good article on French toilet vocab here: http://french.about.com/od/French-Etiquette/fl/Les-Toilettes-The-Restroom-Really-Useful-French-Vocabulary.htm
Calling the toilet the "bathroom" is a pet peeve of mine. I find the idea of going to the toilet in the bathroom disgusting (where would you go? In the bath, shower or basin?), just as taking a bath, having a shower or washing your hands in the toilet would be! Apparently, Americans are too squeamish to say "toilet"! So when the only way to make a correct sentence was "She is on the toilet" (which is how I would naturally say it) I just had to chuckle at the thought of some poor American being forced to say it that way!
I spent a few months living with a not-so-great variation of this when I was in my early 20s. It was in an old house that had been converted into several apartments, and while I had my own (tiny) kitchen, I shared the rest of the facilities with the other tenant on my floor. We had a decent-sized bathroom with a big clawfoot bathtub and pedestal sink - very nice. And then we had a toilet room. Just a toilet in a closet, really - no sink or anything else. So after you were done, you had to leave that room and go into the bathroom next door to wash your hands. Or, if the other tenant was having a bath, you'd have to go back to your apartment to do so. Extremely unsanitary! I took to carrying a package of baby wipes around with me, and made sure to always give the doorknob a good wipedown too, since I had no way of knowing if the other tenant and her guests were using wipes as well or just touching things with unwashed hands until they made it to a sink. I found the whole thing pretty horrifying. You idea sounds much nicer!
My parents' house, which is the one I grew up in, has four toilets. In the original part of the house there is a toilet (containing only a toilet) and a separate bathroom, containing a bath, a basin and a shower. There is also a toilet, a basin and a shower in the tiny ensuite off the original master bedroom.
My parents had an extension built onto the house. In the extension is a toilet with its own basin. The new master bedroom is in the extension and has a large ensuite with a toilet, a basin and a shower (and walking room!).
So, my parents have four toilets, two in toilets and two in bathrooms. Where the toilets are in the bathrooms, the bathrooms contain showers but not baths! The only bathroom in the house that contains a bath does not contain a toilet!
All of this is perfectly understandable to an Australian without any further explanation.
This is pretty normal in summer cottages in Finland. It's a nice idea until it rains / is freakishly cold (as summers can be in Finland) / it's dark outside (as it gets at night even in parts of Finland, towards the end of the summer). There's a reason people don't have outhouses in places they live all year round -- imagine going across the garden when it's -30 degrees Celsius.
I don't mind, indeed I welcome, the practice of our North American cousins saying 'bathroom' 'restroom' etc., but it's killing our British identity when sell-outs here label British edifices with Americanisms: 'train station' (instead of 'railway station'), 'restroom' (instead of 'lavatory' or 'toilets'). A number of British actors are asked to play British characters yet pronounce duplicate 'doo-plicate' rather than 'dju-plicate' and duped as 'dooped' rather than 'djuped' – do you want the authentic accent or not!? And don't get me started on 'route' pronounced as 'rout'. What the blazes?
The grammar explanation says specific locations use dans, unspecific use à. As specific they give 'le restaurant' and 'ma chambre'.
Why would 1) the tinier, more specific 'les toilettes' make use of à (aux), 2) DuoLingo pretend this isn't directly contradicting their explanation page and 3) not even saying anything about it?
Bonus question 4) why is no-one else complaining?
You can say "aux toilettes" (overall place, one or several booths) and "dans les toilettes" (in a booth).
"dans" suggests that you are "in/inside" a closed place, from a museum to a car.
"à" is used for both static positions and movements: je vais au restaurant, je suis au restaurant.
Bonus answer: learners ask questions, help others with their own knowledge and give comments on the language or cultural background.
the first time in Paris, after high school, I asked un policier where I could fine a bathroom. He looked long and hard at me, then in a moment of inspiration said " Ah, le pissoir" while putting his white gloved hand down to fly of his dark blue uniform be sure he was communicating! I'm sure everyone within a mile could see what I was asking about!
When I was young, the accepted term was lavatory; itself a euphemism for water closet, derived from the French term for "washhouse" from lavage - wash. The Americans brought in their delicate term, toilet, which had hitherto referred to personal grooming, as the fashionable next euphemism. This has now become embedded in the language as the term for the porcelain item itself and the space in which it is housed. And now that it is so universally recognised, our squeamish US cousins can't bring themselves to use it any longer, so are now imposing "bathroom" What will they come up with next - the Aquatic Facility?
It is just not that difficult. In the US-a large English speaking country whose version of the language is used as standard by Duolingo, the term Bathroom is common, widely accepted usage for both a room with a bath/shower/toilet or any part of combination of them. While "toilet" is used, it is most often in reference to the actual porcelain appliance rather than the room containing it. Even in public places where a variety of signs may be used, when verbally referred to, the overwhelming number of Americans use "bathroom". This is no different than the countless examples in French, German, etc. etc. where the American learner is simply told-that is the way it is, learn it, get used to it.
"dans" has a more physical sense of "inside", a (au, aux) primarily means at, but sometimes the English is better as "in" or "to".
Je suis a la banque - I am at the bank (which could include standing outside at the ATM, or just the parking lot).
Je suis dans la banque - I am in the bank (specifically inside the building)
« Elle est aux toilettes » could be either "She is in the toilet" (in the room) or "She is on the toilet" (sitting on the device). Prepositions are tricky to translate because they are often idiomatic in each language and don't translate exactly. A gloss of the French sentence would be "She is at the toilets".
- « à » - at, in. « Je suis à Paris » - "I am at/in Paris"
- « dans » - in, into, inside. « Je suis dans le train » - "I am in/inside (on) the train"
- « en » - in, to, by. « Je suis en France » - "I am in France"; « Je vais en France » - "I am going to France"
Note how the idiomatic form "on the train" doesn't match the French form « dans le train » - "inside the train", which actually makes more sense.
« à » combines with « le », « la » and « les » to form the following:
- « à » + « le » = « au »
- « à » + « la » = « à la »
- « à » + « les » = « aux »
« dans » requires an article if you would normally use one and no article is used with « en ». So you can't say *« dans train » or *« en la France ».
No, I wish I did! I've got a multilingual keyboard on my phone, but unfortunately, the only thing it seems to be missing in French are the guillemets!
On my computer I have to type [Alt]+(,,,) for «, [Alt]+(,,,) for » and [Alt]+(,,,) for a non-breaking space to prevent orphaned guillemets.
What I usually do is type « », then copy it before typing French into it. Then every time I need another French word or phrase, I paste the guillemet sequence and go back and edit it.
I have installed a French keyboard driver on my computer but I don't know where the guillemets are because, of course, the key markings no longer completely match! Perhaps you would be especially nice to me and tell me how to type them? ;-)
I realize my comment was stupid because Duo is pre-formatted and I cannot get proper guillemets with my French keyboard either.
So I also use your copy-paste-go back-edit sequence on Duolingo, but only in Immersion because it is so tedious!
Only when I type on the French version of Microsoft Office can I get the French guillemets (+ automatic spacing) with the usual key 3.
maybe regional or based on context. In an office I think of the "the toilet' as the room which includes hand basins, urinals & cubicles. So "she is in the toilet" sounds like somebody who could be just washing their hands.
If my son said "Dad, the hamster fell in the toilet" that would be different.
Yes, we Americans have some odd hangups about toilets. ? Puritanism, ? Victorian atavisms? My first trip to France at age 18 was marked by plumbing shock and amazement. Pissoirs were still on the streets of Paris-your head and feet sticking out, folks walking by, no sink. Restaurant toilets with no doors to the toilet areas to men and woman with common sink areas, elderly women handing you towels for tips in the toilet area, a totally confusing array of flushing devices scattered all around the toilet (treasure hunt every time you went) area, toilets in tiny closets without ventilation off your hotel room, showers whose drain was out the wall and then just freely draining into the grass outside, I can go on. I am a gastroenterologist and can tell you Americans have a broad spectrum of descriptions for bodily functions, most either euphamistic or gross! By the way, my dogs are asked if they want to "do their very important dog business"!
Sitesurf, having read all the discussion about "toilettes/ loo/ bathroom" etc., I have a question DL translates "toilettes" as "bathroom". Would it not be appropriate to use "la salle de bains" as bathroom? Admittedly, most bathrooms have a toilet but some don't. At most public places, airports, malls etc one finds only a toilet sans a bathing facility. so translating les toilettes as bathroom somehow doesn't seem correct. Any thoughts?
As you may know, the system here is binary. The source sentences are written in French, then translated to English and among the English variants, one is elected as the preferred translation which will be used to create reverse exercises from English to French.
In this specific case, the original sentence is "Elle est aux toilettes". There are 30 English translations and the preferred one is "She is in the bathroom" because it is the most common way of saying it in the US. This version with "bathroom" will be used for back translation into French and, mechanically, the preferred French back translation will be the original French sentence with "toilettes", but there will be 22 French variants including those with "salle de bains".
The real issue is that only when you can enter your own translation, can you compose a variant, in either way of translation.
I'd say the main issue is that Americans find the word Toilet vulgar, and use Bathroom even in settings like a restaurant where the room having a bath is wildly unlikely. So translating "toilettes" to "bathroom" works for Americans, but translating backwards from "Bathroom" is ambiguous. In an office or restaurant you probably mean "Toilettes", in a house "salle de bain".
The British are less squeamish about using Toilet, and find it weird to say Bathroom for a room what only has toilets.
The French is clear and simple here, it's the English that's messed up.
Again, "salle de bains" looks better with an -s. Also, I don't know if you are aware of it but every time you post a comment, an email is sent to all users who posted on this page in the past 6 years, many of which have hopefully solved the issue in the meantime. So, you may want to keep your comments for the most recent questions.
When I took French in school (late '80s, early '90s) we were taught that "le w.c." was the correct way to ask for the bathroom and that since "la toilette" was for washing asking for "les loilettes" would most often direct you to a room with a sink and perhaps tub or shower, but no toilet.
Interesting that both the language and the plumbing in France has changed in 30 years.
Before this i got "elle est au bureau" wrong. Duo wanted "elle est aux bureau" for "she is at the office" The comments mentioned about being "at" not "in" and it was plural, but office is singular.. now here "she is IN the toilet" and its "aux" not "au".. so confused right now.. help!!
- You have misremembered.
"Elle est aux bureau"is not remotely possible. https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/31285296
- "Aux" is plural, and so is "toilettes", so nothing wrong there. As for whether it's "at" or "in" in English, I'm afraid that prepositions are cranky, irrational things in every language, and translating them can sometimes seem quite random. Furthermore, you may have noticed that there is some acrimonious debate here regarding the correct English preposition. Sometimes you just have to take it as read that "aux toilettes" is what the French say, and insert the English preposition that works for you.
Interesting that you say, "Many North Americans". I grew up in California, but moved to Canada nearly 50 years ago. Around here, we mostly say washroom, but when I go down to visit family and ask, in a mall or something, where the washroom is, I get a blank look until I remember to amend it to restroom.
Sitesurf answered this question several years ago:
"You can say "aux toilettes" (overall place, one or several booths) and "dans les toilettes" (in a booth).
"dans" suggests that you are "in/inside" a closed place, from a museum to a car.
"à" is used for both static positions and movements: je vais au restaurant, je suis au restaurant."
(PS, you triple-posted this question. And I've also been having some trouble with the app since the last big Android update - the one that changed the interface to look more like the browser version.)
It's an American program.
If you point out words that should be accepted, they will include them, but it pretty much has to happen lesson by lesson, and it can take time.
Consider the number of languages Duo offers, and the number of lessons in each language. They get a lot of reports from users, and each one has to be read and assessed and, I expect, researched, before a change can be made. As you might imagine, not every suggestion is actually correct.
This is one of those expressions where its really annoying to be told you are wrong when it asks you to translate from French to English. I get it, we're learning French so we should use the proper ways of saying it in French. But truly, Duo need not correct how a billion English speakers say something as simple as this in a thousand different ways. We all learned how to go potty before we were three, the bathroom in grade school, and the washroom or restroom when we were adults. And some of us 'go', some of us 'went', some of us 'are in', and I'm sure I missed a few. /endrant :)
If you missed a few, why complain that the robot doesn't have every possible variation in its database? As this discussion amply demonstrates, there is a vast multiplicity of ways of describing this simple event, and, apparently, each is determinedly clung to by some as the only right way. I doubt Duo will ever be able to keep up.
Try not to take it personally if your preferred translation has not yet joined the long list.
It is "aux". Perhaps you meant to ask the opposite question?
It is "aux", not "au", because "toilettes" is plural (and, yes, that's just the way they say it, no matter how many actual toilets are in the facility).
"à + le" = "au" (NB "toilettes" is also feminine, so it would be "la", not "le" in any case)
"à = les" = "aux"
Please: 1) read the discussion before posting; 2) get used to American English in main translations; 3) be aware that if you type your own answer, British English variants are accepted; 4) this is the list of all the available translations for "toilettes" that are accepted in this course: [bathroom/bathrooms/restroom/restrooms/toilet/toilets/lavatory/lavatories/lavs/loos/loo/washroom/washrooms/W.C/WC]
I answered, She is in the toilet (choosing from the only Duolingo multiple choice English words offered to me). However, saying this in English sound like she fell in. Better English coices might be, She is in the toilet room, or She is in the restroom or bathroom. In English, one goes to use the toilet in a restroom or a bathroom.
I am old enough to recall when upscale department stores had large rooms set aside for ladies to "rest" in. The room you walked into first had two or three couches and/or armchairs, tables and mirrors. Soft music played. The aim was for "elegant". Through another door would be the toilet stalls and basins. And this, I believe, is the origin of the term "restroom".