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  5. "Il sert de frontière."

"Il sert de frontière."

Translation:It serves as a border.

January 27, 2013

45 Comments


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

"Il sert de frontière" probably relates to a masculine, geographical element like "un fleuve" (river) or "un glacier", "un canal" (channel), "un pont" (bridge) which is used as (serves as, constitutes, stands for, marks... ?) the border (boundary), between two countries/regions.

Quote: "The witness and his family nevertheless managed to cross the bridge that served as the border and went to Bujumbura"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lukman.A

[QUESTION]

In this sentence case, why isn't "...as a frontier" translated to be "...comme une frontière"?


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

"servir de" + noun or "utiliser comme" + noun drop the article.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yandarn2

This makes absolutely no sense in English! "It is used as a frontier" huh?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nat10sk2

I agree, "border" would be a better translation in this case.


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

Makes perfect sense to me, although maybe not the most natural way of expressing the idea.


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

Could one not say, "It acts as a border"? (not accepted by Duo.)


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

Sounds right to me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2030

Of course. It is accepted.


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

why is there no article (une) in front of frontière?


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

Not needed. "Servir de" translates to "to serve as" or "to be used for".


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

i see that it is not needed obviously, but i wanted to know why. or at least what cases one should not use articles after the preposition. for example, when you use a negative sentence such as "il n'y a pas de pain". you shouldn't use "du" in this case, and i understand why. i'd like some sort of explanation like this, if there's any.


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

Sorry! I'll keep looking for a better explanation, but start here at "VI. Means/Manner": http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/preposition_de.htm


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

you don't have to be sorry, i appreciate your help!!


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

Message from Sitesurf:
Cases where the article is dropped after "de" 1. With specific verbs constructed with de, and followed by an unmodified noun, the article is dropped: - avoir besoin de / avoir envie de / changer de (train, chemise, etc.) / manquer de / s'occuper de / se passer de / servir de (to put to use as) / vivre de / se tromper de... 2. Content or description (complément de nom): un mur de pierre, une tasse de thé, une chanson d'amour, salle de classe, jus d'orange... 3. With adverbial expressions about quantity: peu de, moins de, plus de (more), beaucoup de, autant de... 4. All negative expressions: plus de (no more), pas de, jamais de...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/joyce7774

thank you - now I get it!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/la.coccinelle

How would you translate 'It serves as the frontier'? I was marked wrong for this.


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

I'm pretty sure it's the same. If you enter "il sert de" in linguee, it's translated to "it serves as the" in about half of the cases. To me, "It serves as the frontier" seems actually a more likely sentence, i.e., when talking about the border between two countries.


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

"He serves at the border" is incorrect, and I understand why after reading these comments.
However, Duo offered * He serves as one border.* as a correct translation, which is odd. Is that translation correct?


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

Sounds ludicrous to me, the English, at least.


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

I agree that "He serves as a border" or "He serves as a frontier" are ridiculous. The only translation/s that make sense to me are "It serves / is used as a border/frontier"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2030

No, neither of the expressions using "he" is correct, nor the use of "one". Someone had the idea that it would simplify things if "a" was universally interpreted as "one". In fact, much of the time it is very awkward (despite being grammatically correct) to use "one". To make it worse, the computer now thinks that one can insert "1" for "one" anytime and we occasionally see this in answers being displayed. It's utterly ridiculous but we're stuck with it until the problem is fixed.


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

In the audio, the "t" in "frontier" sounds strange to me, in that you almost can't hear it.

Is this an error in the recording, or is it just the way it is pronounced?


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

You're right, that T sounds weird. However, there is no difference between a French and an English T sound.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/19Shelley51

Sounds like "fronpierre" to these aging ears...there's a 'p' sound & don't understand why.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Flossy22

These comments are most illuminating, thanks.."It acts as a border" makes the most sense to me. No 'person' is a frontier or border, me thinks.


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

It serves as a frontier . Makes more sense in English


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2030

Frontier, border, boundary. All are accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VincentDiC2

Should accept "it acts as a boundary"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marie282520

i heard various things over and over: Il sert de St. Pierre. Il sert de pierre....and none of that was close. I hope this is not a problem with my hearing. I hope to take a tablet to all conversations so folks can write me what they are saying. I fear I will never get it. I thought someone was going to eat St. Peter.


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

It's not only you, the woman's voice is very bad here.


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

All I can hear is de son père


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

Frontier is not the same thing as a border in English. It's more than a border. It's the edge of something that is extremely different - not yet explored. The Old West was called The Frontier. Outer space is the new frontier.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jill114763

I think the issue lies in DL use of "frontier" as the English translation for "frontière". Although it may also mean the same per Webster, the commonly used word is "border". Had they used it, the F to E translation would make sense to the majority of E speakers.


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

But "border" is accepted, provided the rest of the sentence is correct as well.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 2030

I get your point that "border" is the word used by English speakers and you will see that reflected in the "best answer". Sometimes non-native English speakers assume that it must be translated as "frontier" (which is also correct) because it just looks that way. While it may be understood, it is not natural (idiomatic) English.


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

Why is it not "Il sert comme une frontière."?


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

"Servir de" is a set construction.

Alternatively, with "comme", you would have to change the verb:

  • il/elle est utilisé(e) comme (une) frontière.
  • il/elle est considéré(e) comme une frontière

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WinterCast1

As Samuel l Jackson said "english m***, do you speak it" didn't get that sentence


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/deborah853655

Sorry - I read all these comments but am still not getting why il sert is it serves. I was marked wrong for he serves at the border. Must be some rule I missed?


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

"Il sert de" means "it is used as" or "it serves as". So the pronoun "he" and the preposition "at" are wrong.
In this story, "il/it" is a thing, like a wall or river, which separates two countries.

If the sentence were "he serves at the border" (his job is located at the frontier) the French sentence would be "il sert à la frontière".


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

"It serves as a boundary line" should be accepted as well.

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