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  5. "We hear words."

"We hear words."

Translation:On entend des mots.

February 14, 2013



Technically, I believe entendre is to hear and ecouter is to listen. Not quite the same thing :)

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Thanks, this was fixed!


"entendre" could also be listen

"il ne veut rien entendre he won't listen"



No, not really - in the context of what you've submitted, what the sentence is really saying is that, for one reason of other, the person does not want to hear anything, so in that case, the translation could theoretically be: "He won't listen" but it's not literal. (unless it was offered to us as idiom - then we could translate it as almost anything, I guess).


I agree, listening is active. Hearing is passive. Big, big difference.


Je suis d'accord avec vous!


My guess is that while the terms are not strictly interchangeable, they are routinely used that way.

EG: I listened to that program on the radio. I heard that program on the radio.


Yes, that is a fair point.


But even in this context, "listen" and "hear" don't mean the same thing.


No, as explained above, the two terms are different and should be used that way.

"I listened for the bird, but did not hear it." More precisely, "listen" implies intention, but you may hear things you don't want to. So: "I tried not to listen, but all I could hear was his damned voice." (J'ai essayé de ne pas écouter, mais tout ce que je pourrais entendre était sa voix damnée.")

In your example, they are close (i.e., you listened and thus the hearing part is implied, or you heard it and thus you listened, willingly or not).

Duolingo is off the mark here. Check any English-French dictionary and it will make the distinction.


I understand the difference. My point is that they are used in English, by virtually everyone, as being interchangeable.

The next time you yourself say ...I head him say that on the news last night ... you will be exasperated if someone stops you and says ...all well and good, but did you listen to him say it?....

Larousse translates English hear with entendre and écouter as definitions. In reverse, they list écouter as meaning listen to. From which, I take it that Larousse's view is that while the English is fuzzy, the French is not.

According to Google Translate two thirds as many documents that they have translated use écouter to mean hear rather than listen to.


I must disagree. You may have heard him on the news (retrospectively realized that you had heard his voice or noticed that he was speaking), but did you listen (consciously take note of what he was saying)?


What you say is true but I ask you if the last time some one said that he heard something on the radio, did you ask him....but did you listen to it?

Some one asks me what I did this afternoon. I say that I listened to music. But what did I really do? I read the newspaper, made and drank some coffee, did a little work on French with my tablet, did my workout routine, went to the bathroom. Who is to say at what points was I listening to the music and what points was I simply hearing the music. No on can say. Certainly not me.

How many pounds of my available attention is required to qualify as as listening rather than hearing. If my attention wanders during the parts of the music that I don't like much but then comes rushing back when my favorite parts are played, haven't I been attending to the music at some level all along.

In English, hear and listen to can but don't always mean the same thing. According to the dictionaries that is not true of French.


I think what is important is how to make the divide in a learning context. All your points re listening/hearing are true for a daily routine.

To use another example, if a person says to me, "Do we need less cups?" I know what they mean and the term in conversation is the same as "fewer." I'd be pedantic if I were to take them up on their use of "less." But if I were to learn these words in any language, I need to know how they are separate.

If I were learning English, then I trust a program like Duolingo would say, "no you are wrong. In this sentence, "fewer" is right.

Same with "listen" and "hear." I know they are generally used interchangeably and that's okay. But in this learning context I want to get it right and I want Duolingo to be more accurate in this particular case.


I agree that "listen" and "hear" are two different concepts, and are NOT synonymous. The former requires intent by the perpetrator, whereas the latter does not.


Why does "on" translate to "we" in this? I thought "we" was "nous" ?


Yes, "nous" is "we", but in French one often uses "on" (= "one, you") to express "we".


Phenomenologically wrong to accept both entendre & écouter: hear is entendre & listen is écouter (generally speaking). "On écoute les mots" translates to "We listen to the words" and nothing else. In Spanish it's the difference between escuchar & oír.


Yes. The difference is well illustrated by the following sentence: "We listened to the radio and we heard some horrible news." The first part of the sentence implies active intent, and the second part implies passive reception.


entendre = hear (passive; I can hear something I wasn't listening for) écoute = listen (active; I am actively trying to hear)

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