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  5. "C'est un bel oiseau."

"C'est un bel oiseau."

Translation:That is a beautiful bird.

February 12, 2013

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I guess it's 'bel' and not 'beau' because oiseau begins with a vowel.


given that lovely, beautiful and pretty all have semantic overlap in English when referencing aesthetic judgements i fail to see why "pretty" is not an acceptable rendering here. I know that French joli is usually translated as pretty, but there is certainly not an exact 1 to 1 semantic mapping between the two terms and we are talking about translation from French to English here, not the other way round.


Shouldn't "it's a pretty bird" be correct as well?


Non. It's a pretty bird=C'est un joli oiseau. Bel, Belle Beaux=Beautiful and Handsome while Joli/Jolie=Pretty, referring to people and animals. (There's more to it all of course, this was just basic.)


But pretty and handsome are practically the same thing (both somewhat weaker than beautiful)...


Why is it 'bel' and not 'belle'? Is it a gender thing?


Yes. Femenin - Belle (plural belles), masculine - beau, but before vowels and h it is bel. Masculine plural is beaux.


what's the difference between that and "C'est un joli oiseau"?


Bel/Belle=Beautiful. Joli/Jolie=Pretty. (Usually)


Why is oiseau 'bird' and not 'goose'? In our dictionary both translations are correct and in class we always learned the 'goose' translation. Is it in France not used as 'goose'?


@FreaDeClerck. Oiseau=bird. A goose is a bird but specifically Goose=Oie, pronounced oowah. (Btw, I didn't downvote you, I never ever do. I do use lingots though to highlight helpful hints or useful/interesting questions. Have a lingot.)


Wow thanks! And really, I didn't know this! Then can you maybe also tell me the plural of 'oie' please?


Les Oies. Still pronounced "oowah", silent "s".


"Pretty bird, Pretty bird, Polly want a cracker?" Name the movie.


I tried "It is a pretty bird" and it wouldn't accept it. Is the movie Dumb and Dumber?


Most adjectives occur after the noun. Why is bel before oiseau?


Hi Andrew. There's a guide to the adjectives which precede the noun they modify. It's called "BANGS" where B=Beauty/Ugliness, A=Age, N=Number,S=Size. There are exceptions but this guide will work most times. BTW, Bel is used here replacing Beau because Oiseau begins with a vowel. Same applies to vowel sounds like "Homme".


Why in this case I can't say "there is a beautiful bird" but the correct one is "it is a beautiful bird"?


"There is......" = Il y a. Ce=This, that, it. C'est=Ce+est = This/that/it is.


I thought I'd be able to type "He's a beautiful bird" because of "un" :(


He's or He is-Il est. Ce (C'est)=This/ that is not he is.


Um, except not here.

When to use "c'est" and when to use "il est" is kind of confusing for Anglophones. But FlyingDucks is quite right, "He's a beautiful bird" is right, although not so much because of "un" but because "oiseau" is a noun. "Il est beau", but "C'est un bel oiseau".

This is a pretty good explanation: http://www.frenchtoday.com/blog/cest-versus-il-elle-est


Thank you Diana. I learn on the threads thanks to the likes of you. JJ.


Where are belle, bel and beau used?


You're at a much higher level than i am, but as i understand it, belle is used for feminine nouns and beau is usually used for masculine nouns, but cannot be used before a noun that begins with a vowel. When a noun is masculine and begins with a vowel and the adjective is meant to describe beauty (i.e. a "BANGS adjective that must precede the noun) then "bel" is substituted. "Oiseau" is one such noun. I suppose if it were a "big" bird, one could use un beau gros oiseau. But i am a complete novice, so take that with a bit of salt.


Don't take too much credence on the levels, I could do level one basics a thousand times, know no French and have a 25 level. Russ. You seem to know your onions, mate. So I must admit that you have opened up some grammar for me which I will now research and I thank you for that, this is what these threads are for even if Duo are now restricting them. I did know about Bel(le) and Beau by the way but your post is useful. Votre ami JJ.


bel = pretty and it was marked wrong. Duo said I should have put "lovely", I thought bel/belle could also mean pretty. It's splitting hairs


Sandra, Joli(e) = pretty/nice. Bel(le)/ Beaux= beautiful/Handsome.

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