I struggle with this. I thought it was contextually "like" or "love." Then I thought it was only "like" when accompanied with "bien" or "beaucoup." But the way you describe it, Sitesurf, is that if the object of the sentence is inanimate objects, it is to be read, "like?" Okay. What then would I say if I wanted to say, "I love these moments with you?"
I love these moments with you = j'adore ces moments avec toi.
Adorer can always be translated as love (or adore). But with people, it is taken to be slightly less than sincerely meant- it is still positive, but doesn't have the same connotations as the English word "love". Aimer means "like" (less strong than adorer) with inanimate objects, but is stronger than adorer when applied to people (and so is a better fit in translations of English phrases like "I love you").
It's a complicated subject full of social norms and unspoken connotations. Here's a fun magazine article on the subject: http://www.francetoday.com/articles/2012/02/14/the-language-of-love.html
That makes sense, but I always thought that 'adorer' tended to mean REALLY LOVE. As in "j'adore les chats! (I really love cats!)" meanwhile "j'aime les chats isn't as strong but could also be interpreted as strong than like.
My reasoning is that "j'aime bien" is a weaker preference ("j'aime bien le foot" - I like football). Of course, I could be (very) wrong.
You may draw a parallel between "adorer" and "to adore": both have been used for worship in a religious context.
However, with time and usage, "adorer" has also taken the meaning of an excessive "like", just the same way as "to love" can be used with things that you don't worship but like a lot.
If you say "I love chocolate" = "j'adore le chocolat", you know this is not about true love or worship. It is just a way of showing your strong liking in an excessive way.
Gramatically of course you are 100% correct. But IMO the sentence has an air of personal intimacy in which "aime" might be better translated as "love". And it sounds more natural in English. But I am not bilingual in English and French, which you need to be to judge this sort of thing.
I know and understand the overuse of "love" in English.
This comment of yours applies exactly to "adorer" in French:
Strangers walk up and say they love my jacket = disent qu'ils adorent ma veste
Our emphatic verb is indeed "adorer", which used to be applied to gods, icons or the like, with a very deep sense of veneration and respect that obviously cannot apply to a jacket.
Therefore if those strangers disent qu'ils aiment ma veste, that will be a lukewarm feeling in comparison.
I think the confusion comes more from English than French here. In colloquial American-English, "love" is so overused to the point where it is nearly virtually interchangeable with "like" in many situations, especially when objects are concerned. Strangers walk up and say they love my jacket. It's very commonly used.
I know the distinction is more strict in French but people are being told they are wrong when they are translating French "aimer" sentences to English "love." But "I love my dress" conveys virtually the same meaning in American-English (that's all I can speak for) and is used in same situations where "j'aime ma robe" is used by in French. By common usage, those sentences are essentially equivalent. So I think both "I love my dress" and "I like my dress" should be accepted because they are nearly identical and often used interchangeably in American-English.
Sitesurf, I can't reply to your latest response.
Thank you for your thoughtful discussion. Yes, in most cases, I agree that "aimer + object" will be "like." But for Duolingo to hold that "I love these moments" is wrong, shouldn't the standard should be that "aimer+ nonperson" can never be translated as "love?" And I don't think that is the case. For example, there's a French YouTube series, "j'aime les froimages de brie." The whole series is about brie cheese. I'm pretty confident the more natural English translation would be "I love brie cheese," not "I like brie cheese." In fact, the latter would be quite strange.
It is quite odd because Duolingo otherwise is pretty flexible. "Aimer" just stands out as an exception to that.
"se laver" is a reflexive (pronominal) verb and the reflexive pronoun is an indirect object.
Similarly to all indirect object pronouns, its placement works as follows:
- simple tenses (one word) = je me lave (present)
- with another pronoun as direct object = je me les lave (les = my hands)
- compound tenses = je me suis lavé (passé composé)
- with semi auxiliaries = je vais me laver (near future); je viens de me laver (near past)
I'm sorry. I don't believe the strict rules cited here about the translation of "aimer". I am neither English or French, but I speak both languages quite fluently. "J'aime ces moments avec toi" and "I love these moments with you" give me the same feeling. If I wanted to say something in French that is supposed to mean "I like ..." I would say "J'aime bien ..."
Because what aime is linked to is 'these moments' not 'you' so since, as sitesurf has said multiple times in this comment thread, aimer+inanimate object = like the moments are considered inanimate objects and you like them. If you wanted to say I love these moments with you you would use "J'adore ces moments avec toi" but I love you would be "Je t'aime" or "Je t'adore" and I like you would be "Je t'aime bien"
I was on my mobile app at the time and I could submit a question but didn't have access to the forum. I asked the question so I could flag the discussion and check out the forum when I got access to my computer. I was also new to Duolingo and I suppose I have learned how to better use the program. I asked the question 9 months ago so if you weren't trying to be rude it is rather unnecessary for you to even respond.
I'm feeling ignored. I only made 2 comments on this thread, and it seems everybody else is posting one-a-day or more.
Do DL comments last for ever? It would seem to me a good idea for them to self-destruct after six months or so, especially on busy threads like this one.
Apologies to be off-topic!