"Good morning, how are you?"

Translation:Salut, comment ça va ?

January 26, 2013

254 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/rljones

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.

July 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lingolemur96

Thank you for explaining, this comment actually helped. But is there more explanation as to why "bon matin" is just a mistake? & Whenever you want to say good morning as a greeting is "Bonjour" the only acceptable way?

August 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/rljones

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.

August 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sophia740022

in the parts of france that i have been, they say bonjour as a greeting. they also say bonjour as good morning

May 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/mitaine56

lingo- as a native who's a lover of my language and its grammar, it hurts me when people use anglicisms such as week-end for fin de semaine and bon matin, for bonjour. The salutations correct for me, in the morning, are salut, bonjour, alló.

September 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SLederer1

Or are Anglicisms a way to protect the French language from incorporating more English words into it? I think it's a plus not a minus. When Quebecois use "Anglicisms" they are really protecting their language. Imagine if instead they just used the English words?

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

Using an English word instead of a French one is also called an anglicism.

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/mitaine56

rljones- I'm from Quebec and I know only a guy who says , bon matin and it's a big mistake here, as in France. Not many people say that.

August 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

Comment vas-tu ? Is a perfectly valid way to informally inquire about someone's wellbeing (asking "how are you?").

July 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Mehrafarin-k

I live in Montreal and every morning when we meet a friend or colleage, we say bon matin. In Quebec bon matin is correct and commen.

September 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/haileyhailhail

I've been trying to make this point as well. I'm also from Montreal and alot of people say bon matin. that's just the way the language has progressed, and people are getting upset for some reason?

October 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
  • 1652

That may be very true but Duolingo's French course uses French as spoken in France, not in Quebec. That is why "bon matin" is not accepted for "good morning" in any of the French languages courses on Duolingo.

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/pellucidon

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 ...

August 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/rljones

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.

November 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/EliasChidd

Bon matin is an anglisme. It is common in Quebec French, but seen as unusual and incorrect in France, in my experience (I've used it in both places and monitored the results).

August 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/EliasAssur

I have the same first name as you.

October 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SheDances13

So, "ça va" means "how are you?" and "I'm fine"? Would you reply to "ça va?" with "ça va"?

April 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/rljones

Mais oui !

July 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/aboyer02

I typed in "Bonjour, ça va?" which as accepted as correct. Then It have me an alternate solution, "Bonjour, ça va ?" Does there need to be a space between the end of the sentence and a question mark? Same question for an exclamation point.

December 9, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Paul.Morris

Yes. French punctuation requires a space between the word and the exclamation or question mark.

December 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/aboyer02

Merci.

December 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/mitaine56

paul- the real rule is a space after the dot and the comma. For ! ? ; : for those, it takes a space before and after, those signs have two "things", easy to remember, so, 2 spaces.

August 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

So is it the same for parentheses, brackets, and these thingies: "«»"?

November 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

To answer my question for the benefit of others:

(parenthèses) --> spaces outside, no space inside

[crochets] --> spaces outside, no space inside

« guillemets » --> spaces inside and outside

July 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Khaled.tolba

What is the difference between Bonjour comment ca va and Bonjour ca va?

April 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mitaine56

khaled- you can say both, it means the same.

August 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/peterletten

When do you say bon matin vs bonne matinee?

August 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/rljones

"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."

September 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

Please don't say bon matin is correctly used as a greeting in Quebec. It is used, but every Quebec reference classifies it as wrong, just as much as France ones.

July 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/hansonphre

So I know that bonjour would work but I wanted to see what it would think of "bon matin". It corrected me saying that that was wrong and that "bonne matinée" was correct. Aren't both forms correct?

June 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/rljones

"Bonne matinée" is Duo's mistake. It is used to say "Have a good morning" as you leave.

September 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/bertandphil

I don't know how to get the mark under the letter c.

August 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/IvanaNagy

Why does "ça va " mean 1) I am fine. and 2) how are you ? They are completly different , how can it be the same ?

September 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/lilahinthewoods

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?

September 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/FramingNoise

Why not bonne journée? I hear this often here in Quebec where I live.

May 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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And you will hear it in every shop in Paris....when you leave. It means "have a nice day".

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

"Bonne journée" is a farewell, not generally a greeting.

May 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Charlotte94771

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 :)

February 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/VK1984

I agree with the others -- it literally says "morning," whereas "jour" means "day." Bon matin should be acceptable.

By this logic, "Good afternoon" could also be "Bonjour" and "Good evening" could also be "Bonjour." It's misleading.

June 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

"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.

June 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/leahalexandra1

Bon Matin should be accepted as well! I think if anything that would be a more accurate response. agreed?

July 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

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.

July 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MaeAngel

I don't understand how 'bonjour' means good morning aswell as meaning hello?

September 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/2020zacharya

I put in gentil matinée but it didn't work even though it is one of the options.

October 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MikeMurphy15

So on min "Salut, comment allez-vous" shows up. Wouldnt this also be correct just maybe less formal?

July 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/FrancisBuahin

In France, there is a language. To greet someone in the morning, they say 'bonjour'. What can i say?

August 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Divya.Gupta

why is comment vous êtes incorrect? its not mentioned whether it has to be formal or informal....

August 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/GuillRich

"Comment vous êtes ?" is incorrect, it should be "Comment allez-vous?".

In french, we dont ask how a person is (verb: to be/être) but how a person goes (verb: to go/aller). Plus, in that type of questions, the verb and the pronoum must be inverted.

January 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/falsepickles

is it more common to say "Comment allez-vous" or "ca va?"

September 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

"Ça va" is common and informal, while "comment allez-vous" is used in more formal settings, or when trying to be respectful.

November 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/McKinleyck

I thought that Bonjour meant hello, not good morning. At least that is what all of my past French teachers told me!!!

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

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.

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/spokanebree

If i met someone new, a potential friend, but someone i still don't know very well, would i say "Ca va?" or would that be disrespectful? Would I need to say "Comment allez-vous?"

December 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

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.

December 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/arcanedrow

Im confused on "ça va" how can it mean both "how are you?" and "i am well/fine/good" you can't reply to a question with the same question, can you?

January 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GuillRich
  • « 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.

January 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/arushajain

It tells me another translation of the same is "Bonjour, Comment ça va?" What does 'comment' mean here?

January 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

"Comment" means "how." It isn't necessary in this context because one can simply say/ask "ça va" in French, which literally means "it goes" or "it is going". It's much like we might say "night", "morning", or "afternoon" in English, omitting the "good."

January 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/baends

It says "Bonjour, ça va?" is correct, but it also says that "Bonjour, comment ça va?" is more correct. Why is that?

February 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

"Ça va" is a more casual replacement of "comment ça va," that's all. There's nothing wrong with it per se, but it's to be avoided in formal settings.

February 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LizzyHanamiya

doesn't "ça va" mean "i am fine" ?? So how can we use it to ask "how are you"?? Can anyone please help me??

April 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

It literally means "it's going," "it" serving as a stand in for "your life," or something of the sort. So when you go up to someone and ask "Ça va ?", you're asking "it's going?" and the common reply is a confirmatory "(Oui,) ça va."

April 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LizzyHanamiya

So, when you ask "Ça va ?", you basically mean "How is your life going?" ??

April 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

It's a casual way of asking that, yes.

April 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LizzyHanamiya

oh! thanks a lot for your help~ ^^

April 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/shycupcake22

Isn't salut comment ca va bien an answer too?

April 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

No. That means "hi, how's it going well." To break it down for you:

salut = hi/hello/bye (casual greeting/farewell)

comment = how

ça = that/this/it

va = goes/is going (third person singular present indicative conjugation of "aller")

bien = well/good

April 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/hallelujah3

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"?

May 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

All that is correct. A common greeting is "Bonjour, ça va (bien) ?" to which the normal response is "Oui, ça va (bien), toi/vous ?"

May 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/hallelujah3

Merci beaucoup! Another clarification: you've just mentioned "Oui, ça va (bien), toi/vous ?" I understand that toi/vous = you; any particular difference between the two? Is toi similar to tu/te?)

May 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

"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).

May 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SagarikaNa

Is Ca va for "how are you" or for "I am fine" or for both?

April 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

Both, depending on how it's said (i.e. whether you ask it or say it). The expected response to "Ça va ?" is confirmation, rather than "ça va bien" (unless it's preceded by "oui") as one would expect as an answer to "Comment ça va ?"

April 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/guzforster

Can someone help me understand why we should use "comment" and not "comme"? I thought comment and other words ending with "ent" were for plural.

June 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

Only when it's a verb, which it isn't here. "Comment" is invariable, as is "comme", which means "like" or "as".

June 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/AkshayGaho

Why can't it be: Bonjour, comment sont vous?

July 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

When asking how someone is doing, you always use ''aller'' in French, not ''être'' or any other verb.

July 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Imogen2917

can bonne journee instead of bonjour if you're speaking in the AM as in " have a good morning/good day"?

September 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

"Bonne journée" is typically a farewell; "bonjour" is a greeting. So yes, it is used to mean "have a good day" and would be expected in the morning to the afternoon, but it isn't interchangeable with "bonjour."

September 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Crumzmic

The previous question asked to pick the right words for Salut - 'Good' 'Night' 'Morning' and the correct answer was good morning but when I said "Salut, comment ça va?" in this question it was wrong ??? Any else have the same problem?

September 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
  • 1652

"Salut" is an informal term. It is more like "hi" or "bye". For "good morning", use "bonjour" which can also be used as "hello", or "good afternoon" depending on the time of day.

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/littleowlalexa

I said 'comment ca va", and it said it was ALMOST correct. Is 'comment' not necessary?

October 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

It probably said that because you missed the cedilla in "ça va."

October 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Nat442

So how do you type the cedilla? I do DUO on my android.

October 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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If you hold your finger on the "c" for a moment (instead of tapping it), the alternate characters will appear and you can select the ç.

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Warao1

Is salut - hello and bye? Duo uses it as both

October 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/JoshDavis13

What's the difference between bonjour, comment ca va and bonjour ca va; aren't they the same?

October 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/PolinaMich

instead of "bonjour, ca va" I wrote "bon matin, ca va" that answer should be accepted but it was marked wrong. "bon matin" matches better to good morning than "bonjour" does.

October 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
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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.

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SLederer1

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. :)

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
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That is an interesting proposal. The issue of what Duolingo "should" do is not up for debate, however. Québécois variants will not be accepted when they differ from French as spoken in France. This is the convention used on Duolingo.

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SLederer1

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?

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/rljones

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.

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SLederer1

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.

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

It's also considered wrong in Quebec, but more people use it (under the heavy influence of the many English speakers with whom they interact daily).

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/verse16

Does 'ca va "bien"' also mean how are you because I thought it only meant 'I am good'? - as if replying to 'ca va'

October 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/RachelShum2

How do I put in the accents? I downloaded the French QWERTY keyboard, figuring that would help, but it hasn't.

November 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MarkOlsonB

"Bon matin" is widely used in Québec and Acadie, why don't you accept that?

November 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

widely used

Not widely accepted, though.

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Snorkledog

I am also not thrilled with bon jour verses bon matin... Why even learn bon matin if it isn't used for good morning? Also comment ca va? I never used comment before ca va before...

November 11, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

Where did you learn bon matin? It's wrong in French, it's an anglicism.

December 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/deutscharry

'comment ça va' and 'ça va?', what's the difference ?

November 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

Ça va ? (pronounced as an interrogation) is just a shortened version of Comment ça va ?, they're equivalent.

December 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

I disagree, as "Oui, toi/vous ?" is an expected response to Ça va ? but not to Comment ça va ? which would elicit a response more like "Ça va bien, merci, et toi/vous ?"

December 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

It would be short for either comment ça va ? or Est-ce que ça va ? then, depending on context. In this context, I'd say it's closer to the former than the latter.

December 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Alondra717965

I don't understan why it tells me that how are you is "comment ca va" and in other parts thats what i put and it tells me its wrong. That it's supposed to be "ca va" -_- thats frustrating

November 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Shas4815

Alondra, this is the same thing I don't get.

February 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/mitaine56

alondra- It's because comment ça va is a question and ça va is an answer.

December 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/mitaine56

Unless you pot a question mark : ça va? So ça va is informal, more used with people that you know well and comment ça va is better.

December 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Charlotte94771

Omg, that happened to me! Which one is the correct one?!?!?

February 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/thanhhang965033

Why i use "salut, comment ça va" is wrong, "bonjour, comment ça va" is just true, anyone can explain men????

November 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

"Bonjour" is more formal and means "good day" (though it can be used during the whole day). "Salut" is just like "hi," not "good morning."

November 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ankit437584

How i can use" ca va" in english keypade

November 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SeaTheOcean

I thought 'ça va' meant 'I am doing well'

December 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

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.

December 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Leillia

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.

December 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
  • 1652

"Bon matin" is an anglicism, a literal translation of the English "good morning". It is not accepted on Duolingo because it is not the standard translation of "good morning" in French as spoken in France, the form used in all the French language courses on Duolingo.

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

Don't languages change and grow?

Indeed they do. But as of now, it isn't seen as correct, not even in Quebec. When it will be presented as correct in reference books, then Duolingo will accept it.

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BearCreak

Could this be a France French vs Quebec French thing? I am certain I hear "bon matin" used in the metro and on the bus (ie. public places) in Montreal.

January 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

No, although more people say it (incorrectly) in Quebec than in France, it is still wrong everywhere.

January 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

It is widely and commonly used in Quebec, but is not officially considered "correct."

January 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ANUSH21

i went to france and they said bon matan every morning with my family soon ya

January 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

Yes, people say it. It doesn't make it right. And Duolingo will not teach bad French, no matter how many people (native or not) say it.

January 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Hulices_

Um whats the difference between the c and ç in, ça va.

January 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/CrimsonCorona10

Ç indicates it will have the English 's' sound

January 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

Normally, the 'c' letter has a hard sound (like the letter 'k') in front of 'a', 'o' and 'u', and a soft one (like the letter 's') in front of 'e' and 'i'. But if you want the soft 's' sound in front of a 'a', a 'o' or a 'u', you have to put a cedilla below it (ç).

January 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ash94772

Bonjour,comment ca va is correct but I have never heard Salut,comment ca va. Why don't we use that? Isn't that also correct?

January 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
Mod
  • 1652

"Salut" is more like "Hi". It is an informal form of "hello". It can also be used on parting to mean "bye" or "so long".

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/elibelasha

Why cant i say comment ca vas

January 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

Because in the third person singular (whitch is the agreement ça uses), it is va (no 's').

January 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Elisec24

This might be a really stupid question, but how do you pronounce bonjour?

January 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

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!

January 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

Hear it out here.

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SLederer1

I am from Canada and in Quebec they say "Bon matin!" for good morning. Is it an Anglicism or actually from old French?

January 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

A recent addition, a calque from the English. The OQLF itself, the Quebec authority on the French language use, discourages its use.

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/engmenna

why can't I say " vas-tu bien ? " ?

January 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Anderson306910

Shouldn't it be 'Bonjour, comment ça va'?

February 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/rljones

Notice the punctuation: "Bonjour, comment ça va ?" It needs the question mark, with a preceding space.

February 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AhmedHussi313631

Ca va and comment ca va are the same and both of them in the choosing list!!

February 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/shrutirahulnair

I find bonjour word funny and easy

February 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/shrutirahulnair

Dont you think bonjour sounds like Bengali type

February 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/HunterET1

you should not have to put the hifin thingy it did not show up

February 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/sacha41117

No one is right! I cant play the game now anymore

February 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Nathalie708598

Ok

February 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MeEnsenas

Shouldn't "Comment vas tu" be an acceptable answer?

February 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/TianaSayle

All answers are showing as being wrong

February 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/pheeb66

Its that one

February 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/KarlWellar

Right comment but said its wrong

March 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/ChocolateFondue

Does putting 'comment' in the sentence 'Comment ça va?' or not change how formal the sentence is?? What difference does adding 'comment' make?

March 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

Yes, omitting it makes the sentence a bit less formal.

March 9, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

And also changes it to a yes or no question.

March 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/KristoviaV

As far as i've studied french.. i just want to be clear though.. Is "ça va?" informal and "Comment-allez vous?" The formal one?

March 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

That is correct. And "Comment ça va ?" is somewhere in between.

March 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/HeyLegg1

Why is " Bon Matin, comment ca va? " accepted?

March 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/leahbushra

would the phrase be the same if that accent mark under the c was not there

April 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

No, the cedilla is mandatory. Ca is not a French word. It's just as bad as any spelling mistake.

April 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/kfofang

won't you need to say comment ça va?

April 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/scoupdogg

bonjour, ça va is shown as correct, whats the meaning of "comment" in comment ça va?

April 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Partys1

Bonjour means more like good day instead of good morning. Bon matin is more like good morning.

May 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Scion4

What does "comment" mean?

May 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

It means "how".

May 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AbhishekMa815100

"Bonjour, ça va ?" and "bonjour comme ça va?" both mean the same "good morning how are you? ". So both are correct, aren't they?

May 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

comment ça va, not comme ça va, but otherwise yes.

June 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/languagefreak

What is the difference between saying "comment ça va" , "ça va bien" and "ça va" ?

June 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/marwan112

What's the difference between "comment ça va?","ça va d'accord?"et "ça va bien?"

June 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/GayeDoughe

I do not have a French keyboard and cannot enter the correct French character, but the program will not let me move further in the lesson.

June 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

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.

June 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Oingo12

Bonjour is good day, but it's appropriate to say on the morning. But bon matin is the literal translation. "Anglicized" or not, whatever, that doesn't matter.

July 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

French uses the French grammar. In French, Bonjour has evolved beyond "good day" and now means "general, polite greeting". Don't try to speak French with English grammar, please.

July 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

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.

July 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

It was more in relation to what she said in other comments in this discussion. You're right that she didn't imply here that it should be accepted, but she did elsewhere.

July 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Zoe546762

Im clicking the right anser yet it is telling me that I am wrong. What the hell?

July 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

You mean in a "select all the right answers" type of question with 3 choices? Are you sure you selected all the right answers, and not only one possible answer?

July 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/sumedhborkar

Can someone tell me when 'Bonjour, comment ça va?' and when 'Bonjour, ça va?' are used?

July 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

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.

July 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Darth_Marshall

Is "ça va" formal or informal?

July 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

Informal.

July 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/drebattles

Wouldn't "Salut, comment vas-tu" be a correct option? Or is 'Salut" only used to say "hello" or "goodbye" instead of "good morning"? Thanks in advance!

July 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

Salut is more like hi/bye.

July 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/drebattles

Merci beaucoup :)

July 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/olympianqueen

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.

July 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Sol691026

You know, they should really make us type more difficult things other than the simple, bonjour and comment ça va, because thats too easy and while we may be improving our speech in french, we neglect to strengthen our writting and grammar in french

July 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew48

Don't worry, there's harder stuff later on! If you want really complicated sentences, though, I suggest you do some reading in French, once you get good enough. Duolingo is good to start you off, but it won't make you fluent.

July 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/LeaGolani1

It doesn't work

August 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MaestroSalvatore

"Bad grammar" & "good grammar"... funny. That grammar usage is incorrect. Never supposed to put those 2 together.

August 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/shoesandboots

bonjour comment ca va good morning how are you,, is this right, as i get ,,x

August 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/LaffotyWho

this cant be right, bonjour is good day, is it not? as well as hello. Is there not a word that means morning

August 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

This question gets asked every five days on average. Please read the rest of the thread.

August 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Rainbowcake1

is this happing to you but i'm not getting it right even if I put the right answer.

August 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Doug22220

Is "Salut, ca va?" not an acceptable translation?

August 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MCFlack

None of them work

August 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/The-Powerful

the direct translation is bon matin, not bonjour, this means good day, like you say in Britain with a cuppa tea (btw don't take offence because I am british too)

September 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

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.

September 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/LisaMarconi123

What is the difference between Ca va and Comment ca va?

September 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/lauren505549

anyone else having issues with this question

September 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/xX_Irfan_Xx

I'm very confused, bonjour was hello not good morning right or am I wrong

September 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Toonr1997

says im wtong no matter what option i choose

October 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/talha101

why does bonisoir, comment ca va not work.

October 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/BastouXII

First, it's bonsoir (but I'm guessing it's just a typo).
Second, because bonsoir is usually said in the evening (starting more or less after diner). When is the last time you said "good morning" to someone after diner?

October 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/EthanWade2

hi

October 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/mimi913915

So annoying

October 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/HayleyVolk

bon matin That Is what it should be!

October 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/RyanPeivan

i think that duolingo is great but jeesh, sometimes it really annoys me with whats correct or not

October 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AmarPariha

Please friends, will you help me learning french?

October 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/jakebaty1

give money bit*hes

October 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/EldiaDecim

This is so easy

October 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Avakate11

i put ca va wrong.

October 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/sarthak942363

Xxx

November 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MeaganC.Benson

Doesn't ca va mean "I am doing well" or did I get that wrong?

I'm confused! Please help!

November 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MeaganC.Benson

Man I'm so confused

November 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/IamTogina

Im good!!

November 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/IamTogina

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

November 28, 2016
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