"How to know?"

Translation:Comment savoir ?

March 5, 2013

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I just read that with the french infinitive you need the á...so puzzled, why not here too?


The infinitive form is roughly expressed in English by adding "to" before the present tense verb - so « savoir » on its own would be translated as "to know". This is where the "to" comes from in phrases like "I like to learn". « à » often has no direct English translation.


So 'good to know' is 'bon à savoir', but 'how to know' is just 'comment savoir'...weird


Are the creators of duolingo french or engllish? What do you think?


I asked myself this very same question. I am a native English speaker and have been living in France for more than 16 years. I wanted to brush up on my French grammar. I have found many errors and incorrect phrases, making me wonder how accurate the other versions are ( I am also learning Portuguese). I get the impression that the translations are mainly word for word translations rather than the actually meanings. So in my opinion, it seems as though the creators of the English/French version are mainly French! Anybody else what to expand on this?


I'm fluent in Spanish, and, getting a bit competitive streak with a friend learning norweigan, decided i needed to up my points by taking the placement test for Spanish. I found it extremely narrow in the Spanish vocab it accepted and it includes a word none in the comments knew.. bluyín (which, yes, phonetically in retrospect... kinda). And that was with me correcting for my Argentinian dialect! Interesting to hear that the french is a bit off too. I bought first year french books that I refer to when confused or need clarification, found nothing on the ceci/cela/celui lesson, online i found that one of them - cela? Is really only used in formal writing?

But the bottom line is - these lessons are great for "I'm going to France ad even if i sound a bit weird, my attempts will be appreciated."


I think that this is one of those phrases that is hard to translate. I personally don't know what the best equivalent phrase would be, but the best person to ask would be a native french speaker who is gluent in english. Unfortunately, duolingo isn't going to get any of those. I imagine that the best translation would be something like 'how could one know' or 'how would one know'


Many of Duo's examples are taken from elsewhere. Some of them are famous quotes. Some are lesser known quotes from famous people. Some are examples of poetic licence. Some are expressions used in specific circumstances such as speech making, pamphleteering, commercial media commentary, historical references or industry specific phrases that have attained more widespread usage.

Some work well in one language but are awkward or strange in the other. Native English speakers all know that .....Heads up...... means the last thing you should is stick your head further up. But what about phrases that are not so well known. Maybe one that anyone who reads print media on a regular basis recognizes, but those who do not will claim that it isn't used because they personally have never seen or heard the phrase on social media. The person who reads and listens to poetry a lot will certainly recognize some expressions and structures that those who avoid poetry as a waste of their time will have never been exposed to.

The point is that since Duo examples are generally taken from elsewhere, it is probably a good idea to be slow in claiming that such an example would never be used anywhere in any language. Especially since the purpose of the example is not its meaning but to learn how to knowledgeably string some words together.

How to know? Seen it. Used it. (in English). Duo says that this easily recognized (by me) English phrase is best translated as Comment Savoir in French. I have no idea what French speakers think about the phrase.


I do believe this is a bit of poetic license on Duo's part. I would think a better translation would be "How does one know?" Still sounds a bit archaic, but sounds almost like a sentence. Makes sense because French does not use "do" as a modifying verb.

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