"Good morning, how are you?"
Translation:Salut, comment ça va ?
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From all this discussion, there seem to be three significant issues.
First, we are asked to translate into French. English usage is not relevant. That we say "good morning" has nothing to do with French usage. We're trying to learn what that is, not what our literal translations may suggest.
Second, the normal French greeting is "Bonjour." "Bon matin" doesn't mean anything in France except a mistake. (In Quebec it may be used, but is recognized as an "Anglicism.") "De bon matin" means "early in the morning." It is not a greeting. "Bonne matinèe" means "good morning," but it is used as a farewell, like "bonne journée." It is not usually a greeting, although DL seems to want to accept it. Probably should not. If you say that, French people are likely to wonder why you are leaving so soon. :)
Third, the informal French phrase is "Ça va." Why complicate that with an unnecessary word? "Comment allez-vous" is formal. If you say "Comment va-tu" you are likely to be asking about a mode of transportation (e.g., by foot or bicycle), and it probably should be "comment y va-tu," how are you going there. "Aller" is a tricky verb that deserves special attention.
I hope this helps. If I'm wrong about anything, perhaps a native francophone will correct me.
Very informally you can say "Salut, ça va !" There may be other ways, but a native could give you more help. As to why--who knows why language works as it does? It just does, because that's the way people use it. The existence of the French Academy, the national "watchdog" of the language, has made it more stringent than most others, but the Academy's influence is now less than it has been in the past.
Yes DL accepted "Bonjour comment ça va."
But it's delightful to me to see the "attitude" in some of the replies. This gives us a flavour of the French culture.
I am doing the German lessons also and the answers by native speakers are very polite and patient, some may find it too polite.
When I was travelling from Germany to Italy many years ago the Germans I spoke to sometimes found the Italians over excitable while the Italians found the Germans not lively enough.
The Germans were very keen to understand and speak English maybe because with all the Americans there they listened to American pop songs. In East Germany many spoke Russian.
At that period when I was in France, when I tried to speak bad French (having done five years of French in high school) I was often ignored.
Ten years later when I was in France people seemed to want to speak English once I started trying to speak bad French. Not sure why this changed.
Ten years later than that there seemed to be more patience with my now feeble attempts at speaking French.
Even though some of the answers way above seem a bit feisty we should accept that people are keen to help and that ways of expressing things are different in the French culture compared to the anglo-based cultures. So don't call it rude or arrogant because it's expressed in an adamant way, just accept the spirit in which the help is given.
Also for the native speakers it seems (especially in the German lessons) DL isn't always 100% right so the learners can tend to take things with a grain of salt. But the DL way is an excellent way of learning - I am much impressed.
Back to the regular program ...
pellucidon, thank you for a bit of sanity amidst all the furor. If anyone reads all the comments down to here, perhaps I can add to your testimony.
I have been involved in conversations in which people primarily spoke English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, or other languages. None of us could pretend to be experts in all those tongues, but we tried to speak in whatever language seemed appropriate at the time, and I, for one, was never sure which language I was trying to use. Often we switched in midstream. OF COURSE we all made mistakes; sometimes we corrected each other and sometimes we didn't, but we managed to communicate our ideas, with each other's help. Often looking at an idea in more than one language helped to clarify what we thought.
That is what this discussion stream is all about. French, unlike other languages, long ago established an agency, L'Academie francaise, to try to maintain the "purity" of the language. In Canada, L'office de la langue francaise du Quebec fulfills the same function. Humans sometimes ignore the "authorities" and use their language in regional or very personal ways. But Duolingo, in the attempt to make computerized language learning possible, chose the French Academy (the dialect of Paris) as the defined standard. Native French speakers will sometimes insist that that dialect is the only correct one.
In Duolingo, it is. But we all know that people do not always agree. It is good to know, and to share, that there are a variants. But it is also good to know that there is a "standard" from which those variations depart, and to try to understand why it is so.
When Duo rejects "Bon matin" it is not because people do not say it; it is because it is not the accepted standard way of saying "Bonjour," and in France people will know the difference. It is something like saying "It sucks" when English speakers will know that you mean "It's bad," but it belongs to a different "level of discourse"; It is not a "civilized" or "professional" or "socially acceptable" expression. To understand that difference is important.
Duo makes mistakes (humans do the real work), but not so many as these discussions indicate. Please think a bit before reacting so strongly. You may even learn something.
"Bonne matinée" is a goodbye; it means "have a good morning." It's like "bonne journée," "have a good day." The feminine words are "nouns of duration," and are required for such expressions.
Unless you are in Quebec, you don't use "bon matin," unless you say something like "C'est un bon matin," which is not a greeting. The greeting is "bonjour."
It depends if there's a question mark at the end or not. "It's going? (It's going well?)" or "It's going. (It's going well.)"
In english we often rearrange or change the words between "How's it going?" and "Good, thanks." (or whichever variation of those phrases that we use). In french, like in english (but not commonly used in english in this case) a question mark can be used with a statement to transform it into a question instead. Pigs can fly. Pigs can fly?
Omg,I answered this question before as "Bonjour, comment ça va?" And it said it was wrong. It asked me later on and I put "Bonjour, ça va?" after learning from my previos mistake... And it corrected me as the first option I picked earlier which was apparently wrong... Must be glich.
May somebody tell me the answer? Thank you :)
"Good afternoon" could also be "Bonjour" and "Good evening" could also be "Bonjour."
Well, yes they do. The thing is, Bonjour isn't used like any greeting in English. It is the formal greeting that French speakers would use at anytime in the day. And in the evening, most French speakers will switch to bonsoir, but they would also use bonjour. It really isn't used literally to mean "have a good day" (that would be bonne journée by the way).
This is why it's really hard to pin point to only one English translation.
Oh! and Bon matin is not correct French. Yes, both bon and matin are French words, but to use it as a greeting is not French, it's only a literal of the English (or German) expression "Good morning" (or "Guten Morgen"). And before you tell me you know someone who's heard it in Quebec, well, that's because too many English natives have translated the idiom literally and it ended up catching on, but it is still considered an anglicism.
Did you read any other comment in this discussion? This subject has been brought about a hundred times, and answered.
You are right that "Good" can be translated to bon(ne) and that "morning" can be translated to matin. But the whole expression "Good morning" is used as a greeting in English in a certain period of the day which boundaries vary from region to region and from person to person, but is roughly between 6 AM and noon.
Bon matin, on the other hand, does not constitute a greeting in French. The combination of the words bon and matin could be used to say de bon matin, which means "early in the morning", but it has nothing to do with a greeting. French people will use Bonjour as a formal greeting in a similar way as the English speakers will use any of "Good morning", "Good afternoon", "hello", "Good day", etc. In the evening, around the end of diner, French people will switch to Bonsoir, but technically, some could still use Bonjour as it's become idiomatic and has lost its original literal meaning of "good day".
Now, before you add it (which plenty of other people in this discussion already have), yes, many French natives in Canada say bon matin and use it as a literal translation of the English "good morning". But it's nothing more than that : a literal translation of the English idiom, which makes it both an anglicism and a regionalism (as it's not used anywhere French is spoken but in Canada). And many people that know correct French in Canada, myself and a few other users that have commented in this discussion included, disapprove of this expression. The Canadian French authority on French language, the OQLF (the equivalent in Canada of the French Academy), also marks this expression as wrong for this exact reason.
Literally, it means "good day" but it translates into other English greetings, such as "hello" and "good afternoon," depending on the context. Generally, the French don't say "bon matin," they say "bonjour," so "bonjour" is the best translation of "good morning" despite not being entirely literal.
Probably you would want to ask "Comment allez-vous?" or "Comment ça va?" If they were significantly younger than you, you could use "Comment vas-tu?" as well, though "Comment ça va?" would be more normal. "Ça va?" is pretty informal. In a less formal setting, like a school classroom (if you were a kid meeting another kid), you wouldn't usually use the formal "Comment allez-vous" unless you wanted to be teased about it.
- « Can you ? »
- « Yes, you can. » :)
"Ça va ?" is a a familiar and shortened way to say "Comment ça va ?" or "Comment allez-vous ?". "Ça va." is a familiar and shortened way to say "Oui, ça va.","Ça va bien." or "Je vais bien." The punctuation or intonation changes everything.
Very litterally, it translates as "it goes" implying "how goes it"/"it goes well". (see: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=How+goes+it).
The confusion comes from the fact that, in this case, there is no inversion of the words in french to mark the interrogative, only ponctuation. I would recommend using the longer, more formal, forms of this expression.
Thanks @Andrew48, had this very same question in mind! So the quoted sentence isn't correct because it doesn't make sense? And just to clarify, as long as proper intonation is used (raised tone at end of sentence I imagine), are comment ça va? and ça va bien correct when asking "how are you"?
"Toi" is to "tu" as "me" is to "I." "Toi" is used when addressing the person, as in the sentence I gave you, or as the object of a sentence, while "tu" serves as the sentence's subject.
English used to make the same distinction for the second person, but we don't use them anymore (in case you're curious, it was "thou/thee" and "you/ye" which goes along with "I/me" and "him/he", etc., though I'm not certain that it worked exactly the same way as it does in French).
It is literal but it is not accepted. "Bon matin" is an anglicism (a literal translation from English) that is used in some French-speaking countries (notably Quebec) but it does not conform to the standard French as spoken in France which is what Duolingo teaches in all its French language courses. You will not see "bon matin" as "good morning" on Duolingo. You will find many other expressions where literal translations are actually incorrect.
Well my question was whether it was actually old French and not an Anglicism so thank you for answering that part of it. As to whether Duolingo should include things like this is up for debate; perhaps they should identify their course as "French as spoken in France". Are their dialects within France that perhaps have idiosyncratic usages or phrases? On the one hand I am inclined to think that since language is communication and if French people somewhere understand what you are saying in French, are you not speaking French? However, on the other hand, someone who learns like that might sound awkward when speaking to people unfamiliar with those idiosyncrasies so I can understand for clarity sake not including them. Perhaps they should mark it correct but with an asterisk saying "questionable permissibility in standard language" or "in France" etc. Maybe they need a new colour, like orange, to identify when you have an answer correct according to a dialect. :)
Is Duolingo interested in making it's app more accessible and inclusive? Does Duolingo want to present a whole picture of languages as spoken around the world? I thought Duolingo relied on the people who use it to accurately translate text. I saw a TED talk with the inventor and he said that he'd like to use mass collaboration to translate the internet; but if whole dialects are being excluded with, as you say, no debate about changing or adjusting than how will he successfully use Duolingo to translate parts of the internet or old texts written in those excluded dialects?
SLederer1, I see from your more recent comments that n6sz has persuaded you that there is a reason why Duolingo does not accept French dialectal variants, but you raise other interesting question that deserve attention.
Translation is always a challenge, because both source language and target language are, as you point out, always in flux. But that is a different thing than learning a language. At first, translation of words is necessary; they are the building blocks. But each language has a different way of combining words. Those patterns are the most important part of becoming competent in a language, and at this point literal translation becomes less than useful.
Even the thousands of people who use Duolingo to learn a language are only a small part of those who use the language every day. It is those people who Duolingo tries to represent, in the effort to give learners a world-wide foundation from which people can depart as their subsequent experience indicates. No "dialects are being excluded," and variants are not considered "wrong" even though they may not be accepted as "correct" answers to an exercise. But learners deserve to know that a regional variation is a minority usage. It is good that discussions like this one make that clear.
People will always use language as they choose to, sometimes with remarkable results, but it helps to know where you are before setting out for somewhere else.
rljones - I appreciate your comments. I agree 100% - give the beginner the right to learn the language in a "standard" or "basic" form and then they can discover the nuances as they go out in the real world. Here's the TED Talk that I was coming from about translation though: http://on.ted.com/uCO
My point was that since 6 million + people say "bon matin" in everyday speech it would be nice for Duolingo (who says either "wrong" or "correct" and flashes a red or green colour on my screen) if it would say something other than "wrong" like "sometimes", ha ha, I don't know exactly but you get what I mean. Similarly when I make a typo when answering it tells me "correct" but you have a typo. In other words, I understand the translation, I just made a mistake on my keyboard so I'm not "wrong" as far as the language goes. So to, with a translation like "bon matin" it could say "limited acceptance" or the like. I understand that this will get sticky when more complex sentences and phrases are introduced but that's another story.
This would improve the user experience on DuoLingo by allowing the learners to understand where they are going wrong - "ah, I'm saying bon matin but that's not acceptable in France because it's an Anglicism" so they'll learn to say bonjour but also know WHY bon matin shouldn't be used, in France.
Without question mark, yes, you're right. But you can turn it in a question (to mean "how is it going") by adding a question mark (and pronouncing it like a question, by raising your pitch near the end of the phrase). Since it is made with the indefinite pronoun as the subject (ça, short form of cela), it stays the same whether you're talking about yourself or your interlocutor.
It's a bit colloquial, but not wrong at all.
I've had a native French speaker say 'bon matin' to me. So you're saying that, even though it's a widely used phrase, especially in Canada, that I shouldn't use it because traditionally it's grammatically incorrect? Don't languages change and grow?
Anyway, this has all been very interesting to read about....I guess if I'm writing a formal exam in French or something then I will keep this formality in mind. Bonjour is the "proper" way to do it but 'bon matin' is also used by a lot of real people who speak French. This is good to know.
Don't worry, it isn't a stupid question. The first syllable is pronounced with a nasal vowel, meaning that the O sound (which is like the vowel in caught, as pronounced in the UK) is pronounced with the air going through your nose rather than your mouth. It might sound complicated, but it really isn't. Just pretend you have a really nasally voice, and you'll soon find that you can make any sound nasalized.
For the second syllable, you have the J which is pronounced like the si in vision, followed by the vowel in food, followed by the French R. The latter sound is produced in the back of your throat. In this case, because it's at the end of the word, it's pretty soft, but it's still a relatively harsh sound. If you pretend to roar like a lion or growl like a dog, you'll get a similar, but stronger sound. If that doesn't help, I suggest looking it up on Youtube. It's a hard sound to explain in writing to an English speaker.
Hope that helps!
Are you using the website on a computer, on a phone/tablet or one of the mobile apps?
On the website, you have buttons with all the special characters in French that do not exist in English. On the app, you'll have to install a French keyboard configuration if you can't do them by holding down the corresponding unaccented letters.
Much as bon matin has evolved to accomadate another meaning in colloquial speech. And it is in fact the literal translation. I'm not sure why you're trying to argue with Oingo. I agree that bon matin isn't "good" French, however, and should be avoided in France, in formal speech, in writing, and thus, on Duolingo.
Technically, Bonjour, comment ça va ? means "Hi (or whatever formal greeting you prefer to use), how are you?" (open question), whereas Bonjour, ça va ? would be "Hi (same as above), are you alright?" (Yes-No question). But, informally, Bonjour, ça va ? could be a shortening of the first option, with the comment implied.
As there has been controversy on this thread, I'd like to clear up a few things to prevent any more arguments.
First of all, Duolingo teaches Parisian French, not Canadian, so some phrases you use as a French-speaking Canadian may be counted incorrect here.
Also, the phrase "bon matin" can be commonly used in your area and still not be counted as correct on this program for many reasons. The most common argument is that it is an anglicism and therefore considered wrong by French linguists.
Either way, the program is not dedicated to French as spoken in Canada, but French as spoken in France itself. Whether a certain phrase is used or considered correct in Canada is altogether irrelevant when the program is not centered on the language French-speaking Canadians know and love.
This may come off as unnecessarily harsh, for which I apologize. I'm just a little sick of having to scroll through heated arguments on a site that is meant to be a friendly community for learners.
The direct translation is not a valid French expression.
Please read the rest of the comments, it has been discussed about a hundred times : almost each time someone posted without reading the comments saying the same thing again and again and again. And again and again and again. It's quite tiresome to answer to each of them, really.
I see what you're saying, but duolingo has taught us that bonjour = hello, not "good morning". How was somebody supposed to know it also means good morning. This program us flawed, regardless of what the "correct" translation is.THANK YOU :)) Also,, follow me on musical.ly @ Toginaboss.It will mean allot to mee