1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Pendant que tu lis ton livre…

"Pendant que tu lis ton livre, j'écris une lettre."

Translation:While you read your book, I write a letter.

January 16, 2013

68 Comments


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

This seems like another instance where Duolingo should highlight the "que" along with the "Pendant", since by itself the "que" has no meaning in the translated sentence.


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

It would help.


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

I agree with helenvee, it would help. However, I have noticed that whenever the site highlights a word, they give at least three meanings. In context, QUE has no meaning, so technically, the highlight would be pointless except to point out that in the sentence, the word QUE is actually optional.


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

Actually, I've noticed that the QUE is used in a sense similar to the english word "that", even when it follows a preposition. Like "est-ce que..." has the same meaning as "is it that...". I think it's used in a similar sense here, except that its meaning is lost in translation when converted to english for some words like "pendant".


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

i wish we could have a native speaker read these sentences when we have to type what we hear...


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

Yes, it would be nice to have someone who knows to pronounce the final consonants whenever they're followed by a word starting with a vowel, as in, "...j'écris une...". As I understand it, the 's' there should be pronounced, at the start of "une" (the following word). Is this correct?


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

Well Kristian, I went there and the French gave me no "Ecris" and it was beyond me anyway so I hit "Translate" and in English it made no sense at all. I did go to gootrans and "she" did make the liaison. However at about.com a "simple" guide was given which supports your post: No liaison before "U" when it sounds like "oo" videlicet: UNE. As I move through this course I learn that sometimes the French themselves don't abide by the guides and for the life of me it does seem like anarchy has broken loose here.


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

Haha, yeah this definitely does look a bit confusing - especially when you consider another link on about.com, which says that this liaison would be pronounced in "more formal French" (so, this basically means it's not a mistake at all - at least I have interpreted it this way), whereas my first link posted above clearly states that this is a forbidden liaison...

Have a look at this second about.com article (especially at the last example in it) : http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-liaisons-o.htm

Hopefully these comments will attract here some more knowledgeable people around, who can maybe say something about it - these two links clearly contradict each other, so (at least) one of them must be wrong...


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

I vill say ziss only vunce: The French may claim BOTH are correct and default to "context"; their favoured weapon. (I'm doing a course called "How to make french friends" and I'm not certain that I fully understand it yet.) Thanks for your links mate, they do make one believe that Grammar is Logic which has lost the will to live. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Schatzie14

Yeeeeeees, the pronounvistions ARE NOT french sounding to my German/American english ears!


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

Can duolingo please provide conjugations EVERY time, not just when it feels like it.


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

Put in a report that the hints are missing. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone in the comments can help.


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

At "www.about.com/fr/verb conjugator" will give you conjugations of all present tense verbs. I have it as a back-up tab while I'm attempting the lessons.


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

Ugh, the longer these sentences get, the more chances I make a dumb mistake on 'une'!......


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

I'd say it's pretty important to get a sense of the genders for all the nouns. I've personally been embarrassed on many occasions where I've accidentally gotten the genders wrong in something I said or wrote.


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

I often make similar mistakes which have nothing to do with knowing or not knowing the gender. My fingers get cold and don't always type well. Sometimes I type the wrong letter, too. :c It's very sad. But I understand. So I agree- the longer the sentence, the more likely I am to make a mistake.


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

I find that the longer the sentence, the more times I have to go back and listen again, to make sure I didn't mis-remember a word, such as thinking you're also writing a letter rather than reading your book, here. YMMV though (your mileage may vary).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sweet9J

Why does 'pendant' have to have 'que' after it? (Or does it?)


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

I believe with the 'que' it means while, and without it, 'during.'


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

"Pendant" by itself is a preposition that means "during" or "for the entire duration of". "Pendant que" is supposed to be a conjunction that means "while". At least, that's the formal difference. I personally have no idea what the difference in those two usages is supposed to be.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Smokestack1

I'm having a really hard time distinguishing between "dès que" and "pendant que." Ive been going over this lesson for hours. It seems to me like there isnt much of a difference between "while" and "as soon as," especially when "as soon as can also mean "when" but not "while." In English, in many cases they're interchangeable. "When I'm at the store, I buy eggs" vs "while I'm at the store, I buy eggs" mean exactly the same thing. Can someone help me clarify? Are they just two different words with the same meaning?


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

I think that "dès que" refers to a specific instant in time, rather than an extended period of time, though that's only a general guideline, and I could be wrong.

That is, you'd use "dès que" in "when you write your letter, i'll read it", meaning (probably) once it's done being written, referring to the instant when you finish writing, or perhaps collapsing the period of time during which you're writing into a single instant. However, if I wanted to watch over your shoulder as you write, I might say, "while you're writing your letter, i'll read it", using "pendant que" to indicate duration rather than momentary action. In French, these two sentences would read as follows:

  • Dès que tu écris ton lettre, je voudrais le lire. (As soon as you write your letter, i would like to read it.)

  • Pendant que tu écris ton lettre, je voudrais le lire. (While you're writing your letter, I would like to read it.)

Possibly these sentences would be better being wholly in the present tense, possibly referring to ongoing habitual actions, such as, "whenever you write a letter, I read it", and "while you write a letter, I read (or, am reading) it".

Does that help at all?


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

Very nice explanation, thanks. However, I think that there could be one mistake made here. I would say that "Dès que" (as soon as) is referring to the beginning of the first action, rather then to the end of the same.

Using your example, I believe that "Dès que tu écris ton lettre, je voudrais le lire" would actually mean "As soons as you begin to write your letter,..." (rather then "as soon as you have finished writing your letter, ...")


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

Is it okay to say "While you read your book, I will write a letter"? As if you're proposing a situation? Or would this require something different in the French?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/troy2013

I believe "While you read your book, I will write a letter" would be "Pendant que tu lirai, j'écrirai," since everything will take place in the future.


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

Correction : pendant que tu lirAS, j'écrirAI.

Future is je --ai, tu ---as, il/elle/on ---a nous ---ons vous ---ez, ils/elles ---ent

Aller-- future J'irAI ......... Nous irONS Tu irAS .... Vous irEZ Il irA ........... Ils irENT


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

It would be either : Pendant que tu liras, j'écrirai une lettre -or- Pendant que tu lis, je vais écrire une lettre.


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

I'm pretty sure it would be different, but I don't remember the construction ... guess that will come down the road!


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

I am still placing accents over words that don't need them (I put an accent over TU, probably because I also speak Spanish). Anyone have good ideas or ways to remember not to put on extra accents?


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

There is just one french word with an accent over u: "où" which means "where" (not to be confused with the word "ou" which means "or")

Otherwise accents are used over a, e, i and o, and changes meaning and or pronounciation. ("À" means "to" while a means "has (third person singular of avoir that is of the verbe have)" but are pronounced the same way).

E can have the forms e, ê, è and é, and a can have the forms a, à and â, while o can have the forms o and ô and i can have the forms i and î. The ^ often represents a missing preceding s.


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

Also, the "hat" (circumflex in English, or circonflex in French) is typically used over a vowel that used to be (and in English, still is) followed by an "s" sound, as in, "hôtel" (the hotel/hostel), from hostel, or "l'hôpital" (the hospital), from hospital.

Aside: Compare "L'Hopital's rule, in English, which takes the French one step further and removes even the "hat" from the 'o', in naming a rule in Calculus (which is itself an abbreviation for "the calculus of derivatives (differential calculus), or the calculus of integrals (integral calculus), or possibly even the calculus of (differentials/derivatives and integrals of vectors) vectors (vector calculus), since "calculus" itself means "method of calculation" in English, or, in Latin, "small rock" or "pebble").


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

Yes, my mistake. The ^ often represents a missing following s, not a missing preceding s.

Another mistake of mine: u can have the forms u, ù (only in the word où) or û.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wilbur111

Accents tell you how the letter is pronounced. If you're confused, say the word (correctly) out loud and you should be able to match it to that.


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

No liaison betw' j'écris + une?


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

Only in very formal situations (that's what "very high registers" means): http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-liaisons-o.htm


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

Thanks for that link; I had no idea!


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

According to the following link, this is a forbidden liaison: http://www.lepointdufle.net/ressources_fle/liaisons_obligatoires_liaisons_interdites.htm#.U4ZGWSjb4Zb

Well, (at least) one of these two links must be wrong :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Remy000

Does 'alors que' and 'pendant que' mean the same thing? Or, are they used differently?


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

They mean different things. "Pendant que" means "while" with the implication of the second statement occurring for the entire duration of the first statement. I'm not that certain about "alors que", but from what I've seen, when it's used to mean "while" it normally indicates that the second statement occurred at some some specific moment of time while the first statement was going on. But more often, I've seen "alors que" being used in a sense of "whereas" or "even though", and that seems to be the normal use for it.


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

Perhaps "pendant que" would be better translated as "as long as", as in,

  1. "as long as you write letters, I (will continue to) read them", or, "as long as you have been writing letters, I have been reading them", for a(n ongoing) past-tense version. This uses the duration of your letter-writing as the time during which I read your letters.

  2. Using the duration of (the composition of) a single letter, we could say, "as long as you are writing this letter, I will (continue to) be reading it (over your shoulder, or in its repeatedly-updated drafts)".

Sorry, my French isn't good enough to be certain of exact translations, but here are my guesses:

  1. *Pendant que tu écris (or, "écrivais", for future tense) des lettres, je les lis (or, "lisais", for (simple) future tense).

  2. Pendant que tu écris (or, "écrivais", for (simple) future tense) cette lettre, je la lis (or, "lisais", for (simple) future tense).

Does this make sense? Does it help? Am I correct in my translations?


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

"as long as" is better translated to "tant que". In my understanding (although I'm not a native English speaker), "as long as" implies some causal relationship between these two actions, which doesn't seem to be a part of the meaning of "pendant que". I believe that "pendant que" implies only temporal match between these two actions, only their simultaneity...


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

Why is "when you read your book" wrong while "while you read your book" is accepted(◎-◎)


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

Because they don't mean the same thing. "When you read your book" means upon doing the action of reading a book. "While you read your book" means during the action of reading a book. They're similar, but not quite the same thing.


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

I think I'm beginning to understand it,thanks a lot!


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

In reality, is this the same as saying, "okay, while you read your book I'll write a letter", as english speakers would say it? Because I can't think of a situation in which I would say this english translation without being extremely sarcastic and (unhelpfully) pointing out the obvious!


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

Yes, I think so, though my French is notably limited. As a separate question, do we know whether Duo accepts that (probably correct) translation?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Davewilson123

while that not accepted. why not?


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

Because "while that" is incorrect in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Davewilson123

while that I was reading your comment I wondered where I had been born


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

No, not in English susanmette. (Unless maybe you are being sarcastic here and if so, I like it). If not though, the sentences would read: "Whilst I read your comment I still wondered where I had been born" .. Or "While I was reading your comment I wondered where I was born" .


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Davewilson123

Shakespeare Henry V Exeter " While that the armed hand doth fight abroad"


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

Yes susanmette, I am acquainted. But dropping the "that" I suggest that both Shaky and Johnson would default to "whilst".


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

A.D. MDXCIX (Henry V) v. CE 2014 (Duolingo)


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

I think you mean, "in contemporary English", either modern or post-modern, depending on your viewpoint.


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

I assume you mean, "while that" was not accepted by Duo (the Duolingo bot/owl/database); for what reason (do we, your fellow learners, think that was)?

Sorry for the (repeated, extended) parenthetical statements; I couldn't think of a better way to phrase what I meant. :-/


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

With how often people are writing letters, you'd think this was a Jane Austen novel.


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

I got this right according to doulingo and it marked it as wrong. Go figure. Still needs some fine tuning


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

Well... If you'd care to let us know the precise lesson and task you were doing. Your exact resolution. Maybe some of us can explain. Otherwise, maybe "Post A Problem" button is best.


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

Perhaps you chose the wrong alternative translation for this specific case. The suggestions are not all correct for all cases but possible in specific cases. But as Jackjon sais, we cannot help you to understand why your choice is not correct unless you let us know what you wrote.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J.Burns

I trsnslated correctly and was in error!!!


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

Hi J.Burns. If you'd post your exact solution to the task there are very knowledgeable folk here who will either confirm that you were correct and advise that you put it to "Post a Problem" or if indeed you had made a mistake, inform you of it and help with a correction, and that is what these "Discussion" threads are for.


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

wht it can't be "when you read"?


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

Because When and While (Whilst) in English as in French imply differing scenarios involving somewhat specific and unspecific time.


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

Merci Kristian CRO for the link to "Liason..."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hang352

So what is the difference between alors que and pendant que , everyone please?

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.