Translation:She is looking for a charger for her phone.
Sitesurf's explanation is correct, but I thought I could add the reason that it has to be like that: Otherwise duo would have to have some sort of probability system, determining the chance of every word entered incorrectly being the result of an actual mistake or not. And regarding the cases where the typo results in say a singular becoming a plural, they'd have to track your key presses or something, making it nearly impossible. Still, it is very annoying :)
"un téléphone" is the generic for good old phones as well as modern cell/mobile phones.
Since a decade, we have used "un smartphone" to cover the whole generation of "(téléphones) portables, (téléphones) mobiles" that can do other things than just making calls.
Note that "un portable" can also refer to a laptop (in full: un ordinateur portable).
How does one distinguish between a situation where she would be looking for a charger for her own phone and if she was looking for a charger for his phone, referring to someone else. Being a native english speaker I find this difficult to understand. If I understood how it works better, or perhaps why it is not important in French, I think it might help me a lot. Thank you
Context. Without any previous context, any combination in French is just as likely.
If there was absolutely no context, and I walked into a room, and I saw Sitesurf looking around for something, I might ask you what she was doing. You could reply "Elle cherche un chargeur pour son téléphone", which would automatically lead me to believe that she's looking for a charger for her own phone (because I have absolutely no other info to go on). If you really meant that she was looking for a charger for Remy's phone, you would likely give me some context (Remy lost his charger around here somewhere and Sitesurf is trying to find it...), or specifically say "Elle cherche un chargeur pour le téléphone à Remy."
Thanks, I understand what you are saying however this is exactly what confuses me. In English I would not need to give any other information to know if she was looking for someone else's phone other than changing the single word which would be from her to his. It changes the sentence entirely without additional context. In french the "son" always remains the same. If she was looking for her phone it would be "her" phone in english son in french, if she was looking for another girls phone it would be "her" in english and son in french (context would be necessary here), but if she was looking for a boy's phone it would be "his" in english however it would still be son in french. In these cases the his does not need context it gives provides the context.
If I am reading an article in french say like "Il touche son bras." would the writer mean that he touched his own arm, or another guys arm, or another girls arm. If there is no additional context does it always mean his own arm.
He touches his own arm = il touche son bras He touches his arm = il touche son bras He touches her arm = il touche son bras
This is confusing for the english brain. If there is an always rule in regards to context it would help when I read stories and articles.
Thanks in advance, I'm a little thick in the head. I just cannot get my brain to switch over to french
If there is no other context, you can never know what the sentence means for sure until you're given more info. I imagine situations like that are few and far between. I never encountered an issue due to a lack of context such as the one you describe in the 20-ish years I lived in Quebec.
A sentence like that, without context, is like Schrödinger's cat. Equate "opening the box" with "acquiring more context". Until you have more context, any legitimate translation you offer up is both correct, and incorrect, until someone tells you the context.
In English, if the very first sentence of a story was that "He rubbed her leg", I would know it was a male person rubbing a females leg. I agree with you that there is more context needed because at this point I do not know if this is too little kids, a father rubbing his daughters leg because she hurt it, or a therapist working on a patient however I do know that it is a male person rubbing a female's persons leg right at that point. I thought that there must be a way to know in French but I believe that you have answered my question that there is no way right at that point for one to know in French. Merci Beaucoup Hohenems.
The disambiguation of English possessive pronouns "his/her" is helpful in contexts where the entities differ by gender, like the situations used by Len_H above. But what if the context is one where both entities are female? " She is looking for her phone" would be ambiguous between "her own" and "someone else's." So, English can have the same ambiguity as French does.
While I'm not absolutely sure on this one, I would say that the two translations sound just a bit different from one another. "She looks for her phone charger" implies to me that she already has ownership of this phone charger and she has just misplaced it. "She is looking for a charger for her phone" more implies that she has gone to a store to find a charger for her phone. That's just my take on it.
It is confusing enough in English with "she/her", if you consider that "her" can potentially be another woman.
In French, since the possessive pronouns are the same irrespective of the owner's gender, confusion can be avoided as follows:
- she is looking for a changer for his telephone = elle cherche un chargeur pour son téléphone à lui
- he is looking for a changer for her telephone = il cherche un chargeur pour son téléphone à elle
That was my initial thought, too, but I reasoned that I've never seen a landline that requires a charger, so the phone in question must be mobile. I guess it would be more precise to say "phone" but it would sound more natural to me to say "mobile." Guess it's just one of those grey areas of translation.
You are making it more difficult than it is. For the purpose of these exercises in Duolingo, the reply should be in the context of the sentence. Elle is the person mentioned in the sentence; therefore, the answer should be "her." Now if there had been a preceding sentence that mentioned that her father or brother had lost his telephone charger, then "son" would mean "his." Don't make anything harder than it needs to be.
To look for and find are two completely different actions. They are not at all synonymous. Using the one for the other will always be wrong. If you lost your telephone charger and were looking for it and someone asked you, "What are you doing," would you answer, "I am finding my telephone charger"?