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  5. "Je suis italienne."

"Je suis italienne."

Translation:I am Italian.

February 1, 2013

76 Comments


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

Any idea why italien isn't accepted?? only italienne. thanks


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

The masculine form, italien, is pronounced [italjɛ̃] where the tilde (~) is supposed to be above the ɛ. It denotes a nasal sound different from the one in the feminine forme, italienne, which is pronounced [italjɛn]. Please note that the n is pronounced in the feminine form but not in the masculine form.


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

Nice explanation... here's a lingot for appreciation!


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

I thought rule was that "en" is pronounced [ã] and "in" is pronounced [ɛ̃]. Is this word an exception, or do I misunderstand the general rules of nasal vowels?


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

It is explained by AabLevellen, two comments above yours.

The feminine form uses -enne, with the double consonant. Vowels before a double consonant are not nasalized.


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

The pronounciation is different. At the end of "italienne" you should clearly hear ENN.


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

It is unfortunate that they never let you hear the two versions in one audio clip. Much harder to hear the difference without them ever being side-by-side.


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

Agreed. The male voice sometimes adds emphasis at the end of a word even if it is not there. The female voice not usually. Ultimately, we have to guess.


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

Merci :)) next time will be listening better :)


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

I couldn't tell for sure, but I figured since it's a female speaker... There have been other places where the sex of the voice is misleading, but in this case it matches.


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

The gender of the voice speaking the words is not relevant.

What counts is the construction of the phrase, the pronunciation or the context.

In this case, it's the pronunciation.

Let's face it. The Duo voice is a machine without gender.


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

@northernguy, that sort of what I was trying to say, but poorly. You are correct that we should just treat the Duo voice as sexless.


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

Actually, I really like the post from Ankhwearer that it would be good to hear the robot enunciate it's take on different forms of the same word at the same time.


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

I feel as though the male voice of the TTS over-pronounces the ends of words sometimes. When he is the one speaking, it often sounds (to my admittedly untrained ear) feminine when it should be masculine.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

He does say "Italienne" as well as "Italien", so please go by the sound of the word and not the sound of the voice. You will not hear the 'n' in the nasal sound of "Italien".


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

"Italienne", but spoken by a male voice! I wasn't sure whether to 'correct' it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

No, the male and female voices pronounce both sentences, as TTS is actually sexless. You are right. A masculine voice saying the feminine version can be confusing. Please go by the sound of the word and not the sound of the voice.


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

Should the 's' on the end of 'suis' be pronounced because it is next to the vowel 'i' in 'italienne'? Similar to the 'ê' in 'Vous êtes'?


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

Yes, absolutely!


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

Really?
Isn't "vous êtes" an obligatory/required liaison, and "suis italienne" an optional liaison?


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

Yes, "vous-Z-êtes" is required and "suis-Z-italienne" is optional but highly recommended.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nahuatl1939

absolument ! this is one of the things I am not in agreement with.. Problem is that many french-speakers DO NOT make the liaison. But it is basically wrong. BZW I am a native french-speaker. Have a lingot.


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

is italien a male, and italienne, female?


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

Yes, that's right.


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

I translated it as "I am an Italian woman" and was marked incorrect.


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

Yes, because the adjective was expected, not the noun.


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

So would the sentence read, "Je suis une femme italienne." for I am an Italian Woman?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sotnosen93

@kevingiles3PLUS An Italian used as a noun has upper-case I in French, so that would be "Je suis une Italienne".


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

Of course, thanks!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Si1vanu5

Duolingo's random? voices/genders are great, but this was said in a very masculine sounding voice. I am going to presume that he was explaining the pronunciation to someone else. :)


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

Why is there no liaison between the ending "s" in "suis" and the beginning "i" in "italienne"? I am confused about when there is a liaison or not in the pronunciation.


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

Please take a look at this: http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-liaisons-r.htm

and also to the related pages on optional and forbidden liaisons.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

About.com became Thoughtco.com, but Lawless went on her own and her work went with her and is not accessible through the other site anymore. https://www.lawlessfrench.com/?s=liaisons


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pilar.mvongo

Do you not capitalize the name of countries in French?


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

Yes, we do capitalize country names and inhabitants: "Je viens d'Italie, je suis une Italienne"

We don't capitalize nationality adjectives: "Je suis italienne"


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

How do you say "Indian"? We have learnt how to say "Italian", "French", "English", "Spanish", "African", "Chinese", "Japanese", "European" in this lesson, right? What about "Indian"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/remy55

"Je suis italienne." Said the male voice.


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

I think she is an Italian trans women who hasn't started on hormone therapy yet but is practising her French.


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

I agree that this is confusing. The speaker was clearly male, so I doubted myself when hearing "italienne". Now that I read this thread I learn that I should disregard the gender of the speaker, but maybe we should be warned about this somewhere? Or even better, couldn't duolingo use a voice that suits the expression?


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

As far as I know, voices are randomly saying all and every sentence in the course. I have just clicked on the loudspeaker at the top of this page and got the female voice.


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

From all of my experience, yes, the voice is chosen randomly. And in basic translation exercises, it can in fact switch voices on a second listen (happens to me fairly regularly, actually). I have however also noticed that, for listening exercises, the voice doesn't appear to change. It's randomly selected to start, but sticks with that voice on all repetitions until you submit an answer.


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

Having heard a male proclaim himself to be Italian, I used italien ... I went with gender rather than grammar ... I suspect that the italian male has "issues"


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

The voice you hear is a Text to Speech robot, so please disregard the "male" or "female" sound of either. What you have to focus on is the sound of what is said.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tjqt06

Why "I am an Italian" is wrong?


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

"an Italian" is a noun and "italienne" is an adjective.

  • I am an Italian = je suis un Italien/une Italienne
  • I am Italian = je suis italien/italienne

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

I kind of doubt your sentence (rather than the adjective version) would be commonly spoken in either language, but it should be possible:

Je suis italienne=I [a woman] am Italian [adjective]. Je suis une Italienne=I am an Italian-woman [noun].

Just as in English, if you want to turn the adjective into a noun, you need an article. Also note that the French noun is capitalized, the adjective form is not.

French has nouns to denote a man or woman of a particular nationality. English only has a couple of those, and Italian is not one of them, which is why we can only say "an Italian." (I made up a noun version just for the example.) ie Englishman/Englishwoman. Frenchman is (or used to be) a common word in English, Frenchwoman not so much. No idea why. Another one I can think of, which is no longer PC, is "Chinaman." Again, there is no form of Chinawoman.

English also has Jew/Jewess (the latter no longer used) and Negro/Negress (definitely not used!).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/swillsy43

Why don't they capitalise nationalities


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

They do when it's a noun (une Italienne). Here it's an adjective, so it's not capitalized. French is a different language from English, and has it's own set of rules about capitalization, punctuation, etc.


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

Surely 'I am Italian ' and ''I am an Italian' is a distinction without a difference.


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

The first is an adjective, the second a noun.

The difference is clearer in this example: I am English /I am an Englishman.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BobWells5

Why is the translation "I am an Italian woman" rejected? The translation "I am Italian" misses any reference to gender which may be an important aspect of the expression.


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

It's rejected because it is incorrect. "italienne" is an adjective, not a noun.

"I am an Italian woman" would be "Je suis une Italienne." Note the capitalization.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BobWells5

I thought the first purpose of translation was to convey the meaning, not to transliterate the grammar. Perhaps I am wrong but the the given translation does not convey that the subject is female.


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

If Duolingo taught the art of translation, you would be right. But it is teaching grammar and vocabulary via sentences that you have to translate back and forth to demonstrate you have understood not only the meaning of the sentence but its syntactical and grammatical structure, so as to better memorize the target language's way of expressing an idea when you need to.

Translating an adjective into a noun, when the adjective is available in the other language is not good enough.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BobWells5

Sitesurf, I truly value your comments (they are usually the first I read) but I do not understand why you apparently claim that the "italian" in "italian woman" is a noun.


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

I understand where you are coming from because you would like to render the feminine gender of the French adjective.

Of course "I am an Italian woman" has "Italian" as an adjective, but "an Italian woman" is a noun phrase, with an article.

The French sentence has "italienne" as a single adjective, not "une femme italienne". So, "I am Italian" is the most faithful translation because of our conventions (adjective to adjective whenever possible).

I agree that we lose the gender but we don't know that "je" is a woman (girl?).

Please compare with other adjectives that are used throughout the course:

  • Je suis heureuse/forte = I am happy/strong - not I am a happy/strong woman.

Back-translation:

  • I am happy = Je suis heureux OR Je suis heureuse.

The same is applied here, and the reverse exercise has:

  • I am Italian = Je suis italien OR Je suis italienne

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

That is conveyed through context - knowing whether the speaker is male or female.

It's more like "I [a speaker who happens to be female] am Italian." The gender is implied from context, but can't be translated into English because that would entail a different French version, one which spelled out the gender.

If you don't trust me on this, you can read several comments on this thread from Sitesurf (one of the moderators, who is a native French person) confirming it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BobWells5

The fact that the subject of this sentence is female is not contextual


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

If you have read Sitesurf's comments and still think you know better, there's nothing more I can add.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kevingiles3

I heard a man's voice. I admit that I heard "italienne", but I typed "italien" because a man was definitely speaking. Duolingo marked me wrong. I demand a gender test of the speaker.


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

Please read the comment just above yours.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trinigirl54

Why does it have to be the feminine form of the word. Why can't it be masculine. "Je suis italien" should be accepted and I should get credit for it.


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

If this is a listening exercise, the pronunciation is different.


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

You are inconsistent in your correction- sometimes you say Italian sometimes Italians, which is it?


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

Who are you talking to? We have no way of knowing.

This sentence is in the singular.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tim425

Fair enough that there's a subtle difference at the end of the word... but the obviously male voice is enough to point me toward -ien.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ALLintolearning3

Unfortunately, the male and female voices are synthesized and both say all the sentences. So you cannot judge which ending should be used by the sound of the voice, you must rely on the pronunciation of the word.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/suhair148036

how do you say i am Iraqi woman and also i am an Iraqi man?


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

Je suis une Irakienne / Je suis un Irakien.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BaWin2

I am an Italian. In English an is usually put before the vowel. That is the rule


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

True for "I am an Italian," where one is using the noun. But for "I am Italian," it is the adjective that is being used - and we don't put articles before adjectives.

I am German, I am Swedish, I am Chinese, etc.

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