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what is the difference between chat and chatte?

i am learning animals, and this means cat

June 13, 2012



Limoges and Vony are correct. I would recommend a non-native female speaker not to use the word in most cases.


The difference is one is female and the other is male. In general, when talking about cats, like when talking about a mix group of girls and boys people you just use il, you will just use chat.

This is the same with chien, if it is female, you will use chienne. And just like the posting above (and in english) when using the female version. It has its other connotations. So chienne can also be used to say ❤❤❤❤❤...just like a female dog is a ❤❤❤❤❤ in english.


There is absolutely no way of knowing in Duolingo whether they are talking about a male or female animal which sets up failure every time. I am not a mind reader. That leads the lesson to be a guessing game


For what it's worth, I'm having a blast with this app anyway lol.


"un chat" is a cat. "une chatte" is a female cat and also a colloquialism for "❤❤❤❤❤". In a french speaking country, one avoids using the word "chatte" if one does not want to make a joke.


I am not sure I am 100% correct, but when I was in France I was told that "chatte" means "❤❤❤❤❤" and is a colloquialism for vagina... And, just checking, Google Translate says that too.


You are definitely correct. In practice the slang has taken over the meaning of the female from so the masculine is always used when talking about the animal.

"Chatte" should probably be removed from the Duolingo lessons because it is setting people up for bad situations.


Vony is correct. Technically chatte is a female cat and chat is a male cat. Chat is used generally as usually you aren't sure of the gender. Chatte has turned into a dirty word in some cases, but used with the right context would not be seen as such.


Does this mean there is a female word for all animals?


Not for every animal, but yes, for many. And there are special words for young animals as well. Especially for farm animals or game animals. You don't have to worry much about the gender of a penguin.

le cerf = the stag; la biche = the doe; le faune = the faun la truie = the sow; le cochon/le porc = the pig; le porcelet = the piglet la vache = the cow; le taurreau = the bull; le veau = the calf

Just like in English, not every speaker knows or uses all the gender-specific terms. I once saw a French game show where they stumped the guests on some of the obscure ones.


So anyone have any idea why we're learning the word "chatte" if it's bordering on controversy? Personally, I think I'm just getting upset that I'm getting this whole "cat" thing wrong because these lessons were making me think I'd just lost my mind and forgotten that quickly that there absolutely was a French word for "cat" spelled c-h-a-t-t-e.


chat means the animal but in speaking french try to avoid "chatte" because it can mean "❤❤❤❤❤"

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