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  5. "Ta nièce est bête."

"Ta nièce est bête."

Translation:Your niece is stupid.

February 6, 2013

62 Comments


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

So, when I say 'Ta nièce est bête' I could say 'your niece is silly' (which isn't an insult if you're having a good time and are joking around), or it could mean 'your niece is stupid' (which is almost always an insult).


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

Saying someone is silly focuses more on what they are doing or saying rather than their character, even if such behavior is obviously a part of their general nature.

In a previous post on this thread I responded to some comments about the inflammatory nature of using bête, by pointing out that Duo accepts a less charged translation which is silly.

Someone downvoted my suggestion, so I looked it up to see if it's a bad use of French. Dictionaries put silly as the second translation of bête. Google Translate indicates it is the second most common translation of bête on the web.

However, bête used as a noun is very judgmental, meaning idiot, beast, animal etc.


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

Thanks for explaining the differences! Just googled the word, this also puts 'bête' in perspective: http://www.wordreference.com/fren/b%C3%AAte For example: ---- Olivier est un bête en mathematiques = Olivier is a whizz kid when it comes to maths ---- belle bête = a real beauty ---- etcetera!


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

Thanks. I hadn't seen that usage before. I guess it's a real context word. Like....he is a real animal when it comes to getting the job done... where calling him an animal is good thing in that context.

However, I think I would want to be really sure I had established the context before calling someone une bête


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeFant0meCach3

Wait...so it could mean stupid or smart basically based on context?!?!! Je suis très bête en français !


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

Well, sure. In American English, one can be bad such a villain or a naughty child. One can also be "bad" in the sense of being "cool" or really good at something. This is a slang usage & is more acceptable in some subgroups than others. It is usually communicated through vocal inflection, facial expression & body language. There is a lot of "meaning flipping" in American slang. It's best to avoid it until you have listened to how it's used & you learn where not to use it. You don't want to be bad at being "bad".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lane973

Agree. Teenagers near me use "sick" as a positive. If they say "that concert was sick", they mean it was a great concert and they had a lot of fun going to it. I'm sure hearing that would completely confuse someone learning English as second language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeFant0meCach3

Ou est-ce que 《 Je suis très bête à français ? 》Lol


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Blair-D

In very colloquial language, being beast can mean that you're very good at something. In Australia, the phrase "You're a beast at footy" is actually a very nice compliment, to be responded with "Yeh cheers mate".


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

You would say, "Je suis nul en français" to mean I am horrible in French (nul = nulle, if it's a girl saying it).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jorge.a.me1

We have both usages in Spanish as well:

"El es una bestia!" Means he's stupid

"El es una bestia para las matematicas" Could mean either he's very good or very bad at Math, depending heavily on context.

We also have a similar usage in English: "He is [a] beast when it comes to coding" Means he's a very skilled coder.

All of this comes with the caveat that both in Spanish and in English, the use of beast/bestia is very informal, whereas, from what I can tell here in Duo, the usage in French is common.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J.C.Fink

Jean Cocteau's famous movie (in French) about Beauty and the Beast is titled La Belle et le Bête."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jacob133544

I fink thats funny


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

It's always a matter of context. "Silly" or "stupid" can both be used either to be insulting, to joke with people or simply as an expression ("Don't be silly/stupid.").

Just the same in French, the meaning of "bête" depends on how it's used. But even at its most insulting level, it's quite safe to use, and is not considered a real insult, but it's still a judgment on someone else's mental capacities though. In that regard, I would put it closer to "silly" than "stupid" (even more so given the fact that we have our own word "stupide" in French). "dumb" is also a pretty close translation.

Keep in mind that here we're talking about the adjective "bête". There's also a noun "bête", which is a completely different word and has other meanings.


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

I think "foolish" is also an acceptable translation of "bête"


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

I always input silly which is accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vladislav123

note: do not say "daft"


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

Hi, Vladislav

Don't say daft? Really? Why not?

in Manchester daft is like 'silly', a little bit crazy or a little bit slow - it can even be used affectionately. (Oh, you: you're half daft.)

What does it mean where you come from?

:)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vladislav123

my point is: i tried it, and it's incorrect


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

Ooooh! Sorry! (Sound of Linda face-palming herself.)

Sorry, Vladislav, I completely misunderstood.

No, I am not surprised DL does not recognise 'daft'. It's very colloquial. Very common where I grew up, but unusual most other places.

:)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alleigh25

As an American, it comes across as very British but perfectly understandable.


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

Oxford English Dictionary. Middle English daffte, Old English gedæfte = mild, meek. In modern English mainly, but not exclusively, northern UK and Scotland = silly, foolish ("Don't be daft, you silly beggar!"; or (less usually) mentally slow, deficient, mad. ("He's as daft as a brush, he's soft in the head"). Colloquially, enamoured of, smitten by, in love with someone ("She's daft about him"). I think Duo is missing out on a jewel of a word here. It covers everything from London slang ("You bl&ding daft barsteward!) to politicians having a go at "yet another one of Trump's daft ideas!"
* criticising


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrianBoru4

I agree Duo should adopt it (not least because I got marked wrong for using it). It has a much gentler nuance than 'stupid' -- often coming with a suggestion of affection, or at least 'more in sorrow than in anger'. And it's certainly not an exclusively northern word. I grew up in London and heard it all the time.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J.C.Fink

You might better say, "I tried it and it is not accepted." Just because DL does not accept something does not necessarily mean it is incorrect. It may be so, or it may be a correct form DL hasn't gotten around to accepting yet. DL is a work in progress.


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

Way to go Duolingo, teaching how to insult family members in different languages since 2011...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeffrey855877

Why stop here?
Ton neveu est laid
Ta femme est grosse
Ton mari est un cochon

We could do some "yo mama..." jokes in French, too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mathwizard1232

That would be a brilliant additional unlockable section: like for 200 lingots unlock Insults.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/precioso1

Why would we want to memorize this ? Just think about it. I'm American so if I go to France and say that then I will be putting the idea in the minds of the French that we are a rude and mean country, including the people in it . So that's just my opinion I don't know how you feel , but that's how I feel. God bless.


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

Even if we have no intention of being a rude American in France, we would still want to know if a rude remark is directed at us. We would really look bête, if we just smiled back at being insulted.

The question is, whether this statement is necessarily meant to be insulting in French. As other posts on this thread have suggested, in some contexts, the adjective bête can congenially mean silly. After reading the many example uses of bête on http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/b%C3%AAte/8877, however, I think that by itself, "Ta nièce est bête" is decidedly insulting.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marie852846

OP is just making a philosophical observation about the of nature of humanity. Not whether it is a necessity to learn or not.


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

It sounds like something one might hear in a French movie or television program.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew748026

Duolingo just got brutal.


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

If you think that's brutal, you should check out some of the Spanish and German lessons :)

Spanish: Debemos eliminar el testigo-- We need to eliminate the witness German: Ich habe deine Tochter-- I have your daughter


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

Well, that's not very nice!


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

duolingo tells it like it is


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

Nice discussion opener :)


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

Désolé, je ne suis pas désolé


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Natalia66611

What is the accent on the e for?


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

If it helps to know, the presence of a circonflex over a vowel often (not always) indicates where an S used to follow. "bête"..."beste" (as in 'beast'). There's one in "hôtel" (hostel), "hôpital" (hospital). Personally, I can't hear a difference when pronounced but it does help me remember when one belongs in a word or not when writing it out.


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

It changes the pronunciation of the letter. You can have more informations here: http://french.about.com/od/pronunciation/a/accents.htm

Check out the links for each variation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ana314528

What about, Ton neveu est bête.....?


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

"neveu" = "nephew"


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

dumb and silly is more correct than stupid ... if you actually use stupid (same spelling in French) then that's quite another thing :)


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

You should keep a non abusive and respectful tone in your lessons.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roy143879

I am new to Duolingo but I can see that some people get too politically involved in the context of words. Keep in mind that learning a language is different to real life speaking it. We learn what the eords mean and the learn how to put them in to context. Please do not get involved in political correctness at this level!


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

I see this sentence, "Your niece is stupid", come up so often in these lessons. It is starting to bug me.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/akis656937

Bête is used only to describe feminim nouns?


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

No. Any adjective can describe any noun. But some adjectives have to be conjugated according to the gender and/or the number of the noun.

"bête" only changes with number, not with gender, so it's "bête" for feminine singular and "bête" for masculine singular. "bêtes" is for plural.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lindamarsh7

why is the mic not picking up my correct answers sometimes


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

Comme c'est gentil...


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

Ok. Am I the only which hears very different the slow pronunciation? I normal speed I hear "Ta niece que bete". In slow speed I hear "Ta niece est bete."


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

Why is this wrong? "Your niece is unintelligent"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Greenwizard126

excuse me....but silly and stupid are not synonyms.


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

I would have liked "Ta nièce est bête comme ses pieds" even better. If Duolingo's going to make a sentence like that, go all the way. It basically means "Your niece is dumb as a rock" and a good expression to know.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Signe584783

Why is it the niece that's stupid?


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

Sounds like a great phrase to make friends in France


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

I have a pronunciation question. The audio sounds like "ten yes eh bet". That is, the "n" from niece has shifted BACKWARDS to join "ta". I thought that letters (specifically, consonants) only shifted forwards. Is this correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bilingual.max

I know it can also mean "silly," but this is the best example I've gotten in every lesson I've ever done.

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