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  5. "Les petits canards mangent d…

"Les petits canards mangent du pain."

Translation:The small ducks eat bread.

March 7, 2013



How can you tell the difference between the plural and singular versions of this sentence? "Le petit canard mange du pain" sounds exactly the same.


Aaah I think I know which is it, the difference is: The articles 'le' and 'les' have different pronunciation, the fist sounds like 'luh', the second like 'le', that is the unique difference between both phrases.


If u hear closely, le sounds like la (ryming the) and les sounds more like lay(rhyming bay)


Why doesn't petit canard mean duckling, which is a little duck. Petit fille means little girl?


"petits canards" may mean either that they are small in size (species) or that they are very young.

"petite fille" means "little girl", yes. If you say "c'est une petite fille", it refers to her young age; if you say "c'est une fille petite", it means that she is short (age indifferent).


Well.... ok but doesn't the adjective Jeune have a role to play in describing a young duck? Also doesn't an adjective's meaning change when placed before or after a noun? My brain begins to hurt.


Depending on the species, ducks can be smaller or bigger.

Therefore, you cannot assume that "petit canard" means "jeune canard" because "un petit canard" can be an adult duck.

In a number of cases, yes, some adjectives can have a different meaning when placed in front of the noun.

http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/adjectives_4.htm http://www.french-linguistics.co.uk/grammar/adjectives_position.shtml


Thank you so much. The "French-Linguistics" site is beautifully simple.


There are these words; "Caneton" and "Canette" for male duckling and female duckling respectively.Have I misunderstood something... am I "Jumping the Gun"? on something which comes later in the course? Forgive me for being so Forensic.


There is another one:

"une cane" is an adult, female duck


Wouldn't that logic go against how adjectives that relate to size have to come before the article?


Not before the article, before the noun


In addition, beware of the words "have to" and "Rule". There are exceptions, especially with the "B A N G S" guide regarding "S" for Size.


Don't feed a duck any bread. Bad for it!


Du pain est tres mauvais pour des canards


I live on a boat and I'm surrounded by ducks all year. They breed like rabbits and, so long as they survive, there's no way of telling whether a duckling will grow into a duck or a drake until they are onwards of 2 months old. So... What is the French for duckling to separate it from young duck or small duck and what is the gender? (Cant believe that learning French so that I could understand Cajun music would lead me into a debate around ducks... Ho Hum.) Anyway, any-one know?


male duckling is un caneton

female duckling is une canette (roasted, with apples, hmmm)


Oh! I see it all now. There I was, all innocent like thinking that it was nature and the pike that was taking them.... :)


Man it is hard to hear some of the words. I thought "pain" was "pomme" and that's the only reason I got it wrong. How often does that happen? Way too often.


I had the same problem, but going back to it and listening again I hear the "Pah" rather than the "Poh" it's just a very subtle thing that is going to take time to hear correctly ALL of the time. I'm realizing I shouldn't always listen just the once and write but listen multiple times to make sure my: "Le,La,Les", "De,Du,Des", and things like "Pain" and "Pomme" are not misheard.


"Pomme" also has an "m" sound at the end if it. Granted it can be difficulty to hear at times.


I love sentences like this. I feel like I am really learning to speak and understand French. I remember on day one everything was hard to hear. It is getting better with practice!!! :-)


only bread and apple


What is the difference between "little ducks" and "small ducks"? Why small is correct and little is not?


Thanks. I answer "duckling" for petit canard and it wasn't an allowable translation.


Petit canard is little/small duck. une cane is also a female duck according to our SiteSurf, who knows her stuff... Then again there is caneton and cannette for male and female duckling respectively but chill.... the nouns, adjectives, verbs change and go off all around the houses depending on singular, gender of the subject/noun, plural, past tense, future, definite, imperfect continuous and which friggin day of the week it is!!!! If you get upset at losing hearts then just apply logic to each word, videlicet: "petit" little/small "canard" duck (dont even think about Dake, just dont go there, not yet!) and answer Little Duck. If however you are adventurous and dont care about greed and possessing loadsa hearts... then by all means try an alternative definition... you will learn slower, have fewer hearts for all that they are (??) worth and arrive at the next lesson with so much more depth of understanding.... worth a thousand hearts.


I see that sometimes in french the adjective goes after the noun, and other times it goes before... for example the hot chocolate : le chocolate chaud, but for the little duck it is: le petit canard. Does anybody know the rule? Thanks


The rule is that the adjective is after the noun (85% of cases)

Please take a look at exceptions: click here


im seriously depressed, check out my dad chriskann


It is really hard tell when it's plural or singular. If any info please share. Regards.


The article is the clue. Check previous explanations on previous threads.


I typed "the small ducks eat the bread" and it was incorrect. Please help!


"the bread" = le pain.

"(some) bread" = du pain


Why is the adjective before the noun in "petits canards"? I thought the adj always went after the noun, like it should be "canards petits"? Does the meaning change depending on the location of the adj, or is it only placed after certain words as it is in a phrase like "chat noir"?


Some adjectives precede the noun they modify and most come after. There is a guide. "BANGS" Beauty/Ugly. Age. Number. Goodness?Badness. Size come before the noun they describe. As always there are exceptions.


surely petit canards are ducklings


ducklings = les canetons


why is it "mangent du pain" and not only "mangent pain"?


Because, Laura, French must have articles, some of which may be dropped in English. We're lazy here. King Alfred taught what a time waster articles can be. :)


sometimes the pronunciation is a bit "garbled" and sounds the same -i.e., the singular and plural of this sentence is barely notied


Often Marthagste, the only way to tell singular from plural is from the article. Here it is clear that the sentence is in plural from the article "Les" (s/l Lay) . If it was singular it would be Le Canard "Le" s/l Luh.


thank you - I know this - believe perhaps the audio in my system does not work well and is not clear enough becoming difficult to tell the difference in certain words


Hiya again Marthagste. There are so many students here who experience great difficulties with the audio on the French course, so whilst it is no consolation, you are certainly not alone and my thought is that there is nothing amiss with your machine's audio system but rather with Duo's, bonne chance. votre ami JJ.


I distinctly heard the voice say Le petit canard. In general the voice recordings are muddled and hard to decipher. I wish they were more clear. I have made unnecessary mistakes due to the unclarity of the voice. I see that someone else has said the same thing. If you listen to the recording she says "Le petit canard" not "Les petits canards".


What you don't seem to be hearing, with respect Mary, is the Article. Canard and Canards sound identical but the articles; Le and Les sound totally different. Le s/l Luh and Les s/l Lay. Listen again.


OMG French and its frustrating, silent endings! Yes there's a difference in the article being pleural, but it's pretty subtle and that is all you have to go on.


I am not sure it is so subtle you can't hear it:

The difference in sound between "le" [luh] and "les" [lay] is about the same as between "the" and "they".


Aha! This the the charm of "la langue française." So much, it is left unspoken.. unless you are writing it down, of course.

[deactivated user]

    Is du in the sentence literally translates to some or does it have something to do with de le??


    Whenever "de" is followed by "le", you have to use the contraction "du".

    When it comes to partitive articles, they are required to translate the meaning of "an unknown amount of an uncountable thing". In English, a bare noun gets this meaning from the overall meaning of the sentence, or you can use "some", but in French, you must use the partitive articles:

    • du: if the mass noun is masculine singular and starts with a consonant sound: du pain, du vin...
    • de la: if the mass noun is feminine singular and starts with a consonant sound: de la bière, de la chance
    • de l': if the mass noun starts with a vowel sound: de l'huile (fem), de l'eau (fem), de l'argent (masc).

    In other constructions, especially in the possessive case, you will use "du" before the owner, with the same agreement rule as above:

    • le chien du garçon (de+le) = lit. the dog of the boy = the boy's dog.


    I love bread so much, screamed the duck


    Bread isn't actually good for ducks, however since it's common tradition in the UK, we still do it anyway.


    Is the present progressive verb form different than the simple present? For example, I translated this as "The small ducks are eating bread" and it marked it correct, but I'm curious as to whether there is a different verb form to differentiate between the two slightly different meanings.


    In French, where progressive verbal forms do not exist, you need the context to tell if "mangent" in simple present means "are eating" (currently) or "eat" (usually).


    This is so helpful! I didn't know that progressives don't exist in French. Thank you so much!

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