I have never heard "oui" pronounced as he does on this sentence, with seemingly two syllables" He pronounces something like "O-y-eh" and not just (in English) "we."
I'm a native French speaker and there's nothing wrong in the way the male voice pronounces oui. It's a bit exaggeratedly articulated, more than most people speaking at full regular speed, but not wrong at all.
I stand corrected. That's why it's so great having native speakers around to tell us these things. Thanks for that. :)
Sure, that's why I chose my profile picture : it shows I'm from Quebec, Canada and I'm fluent in French, (Canadian) English and Italian.
Shouldn't you qualify your French as Quebecois :) if your going to qualify your English as Canadian? I've been to France and live in Montreal and they are distinctly different.
I know they are, and I know both well, while I can't say I'm as confident with British English.
Then I have a question for you. Do you or do you not us Bon matin in Québec? I have heard both ways.
I sometimes drop it when I'm too tired to think otherwise, knowing full well that it's a mistake. That's the bad influence of too many people using it for too long. Just like définitivement (which most definitely doesn't mean "definitely" in French) and weekend.
Ok, thanks. Good to know.
Thank you Sébastien it's helpful to get this kind of input to save more confusion :-)
Merci, I really thought that Duo made some mistake and accidentally used this audio
That was also the reason I could not get the first word in this sentence. Such an unusual pronunciation!
I was under the impression that the male voice is supposed to have the southern (Toulouse) accent. When I was down there, I was struck by how over-pronounced everything was.
I had learned that Il a su means he learned or found our whereas Il savait means he knew
I've started Latin recently, so tenses and grammar are something I've spent a lot of time on! To my mind, the perfect tense (passé composé) infers a completed (or perfected) action, while the imperfect is continuous. In English, there often isn't such a clear distinction between the forms of the past tense.
Il a su and il savait mean the same thing but one is savoir in the passé composé and the latter is in the imparfait!
They are the same verb conjugated in different tenses, you're right about that. But their meaning is very different. Ritzchica's comment is accurate in pointing the difference in meaning.
Source : I'm a French native speaker.
I shall keep an eye out for your contributions. Thank you for your helpful messages.
I can't exactly spot the difference between those two. So Il a su means he learned (but not anymore), while Il savait means he knew (and still knowing?), is this correct? It seems it has some similarities with simple past tense and past continuous.
But duolingo's translation for 'Oui, il a su' was 'Yes, he knew'. Was duolingo wrong on this occasion?
It could be debated. In a context where we compare the finding out to another event later than that, but still in the past, we could translate it to "he knew". The difference between the two is kind of subtle and it would really depend on context.
Could this be also written as "Yes, he did know" (I wrote that and it was marked incorrect). It would be perfectly acceptable in English as an answer to the question "Did he know?" (Yes, he did know.) But I want to make sure if this could also be an alternative to the French phrase "Oui, il a su" or if it would be written differently. Thanks.
No, you'd have to put it in the imperfect tense to mean "he did know" : oui, il savait.
one thing i would find helpful would be if the posted correct answer identified the infinite verb in parenthesis. ie: Oui, il a su. (savoir)
I feel like I could watch a crime show in French in order to review the phrases I've learned on Duolingo. haha.
Yeah, life is getting tough! The easy days are over, keep going, take a brake and go surfing, no, not the water, the conjugation books, uhhhhhhh
Il can only mean "he" in this sentence. For "it", the sentence in French would have been : "Oui, ça s'est su." or "Oui, ça a su". Although the later is grammatically correct, it doesn't make sense, because an object can't really know something.
Edit [2016-09-30] : The first sentence is in the passive voice, Oui, ça s'est su means "yes, it (that fact) has broken out", whereas the second one (Oui, ça a su, or ç'a su) is still in the active voice, here an object itself finds something out.
In French (as in English), we use the être ("to be") auxiliary verb to produce the passive voice (to invert the active and passive agent, the one that acts and the one that is acted upon, subject and object in the active voice, object and subject in the passive voice).
A dog can arguably find something out, or a monkey, or a raven, or an elephant (for example). In the absence of knowledge of its sex, I would submit that in English we would call the animal "it".
Duolingo has a number of similar examples and I'd say they can often, if not always, be translated with "it" if one imagines the right context. (Anthropomorphizing – or just speaking loosely about – a computer or a robot is one that I would offer. In another thread that was called "a stretch", though not actually "wrong", but as far as I can recall, no native French speaker weighed in.)
Not that I particularly care whether or not Duo accepts "it" for any given sentence, but invariably someone asks, and I would say there is usually some conceivable solution that calls for "it" as a translation of "il" or "elle" ("ce" and "ça" etc. notwithstanding), given that French doesn't have a neuter definite third-person singular subject pronoun that overlaps perfectly with "it". Or am I wrong in thinking that French would not typically use "ce" or "ça" when the subject is, for example, an animal (except for "ce" with "être" where appropriate)?
This may not be the gist of ianrobertshaw61's question, as it seems that he may have been assuming that the sentence meant "it was known" or "it is known". But with respect to what the sentence is actually saying, I myself don't think the possibility of "it" needs to be completely foreclosed; I would say it just needs needs to be flagged as unlikely or something to be careful of.
I bring this up partly because in going the other way, from "it" to "il" or "elle" or "ce" or "ça", which pronoun to use is not always intuitive for an English speaker learning French, and I think trying it both ways is a useful exercise.
Or perhaps I'm wrong indeed, and there's absolutely no context where "it" would be the right translation. I'm interested to know your thoughts.
EDIT: This post has been unhelpfully voted down, but not actually answered. Native French speakers?
I've just seen this comment 5 months late! Sorry!
I see where you're going with that thought process. I think you're right. But I would still not add it to the accepted translations and the reason is simple : Duolingo is a learning platform and doesn't offer the possibility (at least yet) to add any kind of information to an accepted answer, so the learner, especially the distracted one that doesn't read the comment section when they're confused (let alone when they think they're not!), may very well learn something bad, that is wrong in 99% of cases (yes, but in that one context it works!) and never know it is absolutely not a natural translation most of the time because there is no way for us to make it clear. So even if only to limit confusion, I would not add it because, as you said about another thread : it's a stretch.
I thought that it meant something generally known. Could one say on a su
Pronunciation of 'oui' is so different to the ways I've ever heard it said (on Duolingo, in France, (Paris, Loire Valley, Provence & Bordeaux) or by either of my French teachers, I am wondering if this is a regional dialect? If it is, that's ok, but let's have some introduction to it so that we have some hope of understanding it when we as learners of standard French come across it here.
Well, I'm a French native and I've listened to both the female and male voices for this sentence and it seems fine to me. They're a bit exaggerated, over-articulated, but not wrong or from a different dialect at all.
I used to think that perhaps it was "yeah" rather than the standard "yes"! I wonder how many other illusions I am under!
The equivalent of "yeah" in French would be ouais, or even ouaip', with a trailing 'p' sound at the end (still ouais in writing though, else it'd be very colloquial).
"Yes, he knew" and "Yes, he found out" have different meanings. Does savoir also mean "to find out" ? I don't see that in my dictionary.
Savoir in itself doesn't mean "to find out". But it does mean "to know (a fact)", so when we use it in some verb tense that suggests a punctual point in time (like the compound past of the example), it hints at when it became known to the subject, so in this way, it takes the sense of "to find out".
Why "yes, he found out" instead of "he knew"? Are they that interchangeable in French?
Il a su is not the preferred way to say "he knew", but it could be interpreted this way in some context. That's why Duolingo has to accept this interpretation as well.
Alright, but if the word savoir still means "to know", is there also a preferred way to say "he found out"?
This is the preferred way, but there are others, more or less used :
- il a découvert;
- il s'est aperçu;
- il s'est rendu compte;
- il a compris;
- il a appris;
- il a constaté;
- ça a été démasqué par lui;
- il a deviné;
- ça lui a été divulgué;
- ça a été dévoilé à lui;
- ça lui a été révélé;
- on lui a vendu la mèche...
I didn't really understand this sentence. I picked out the correct sequence of words because none of the others made a usable sentence.
Check out this article, which explains that certain French verbs have different meanings in the passé composé:
Also take a look at Sitesurf's comment here:
This has been bugging me for the past couple lessons, and I may be native-english speaking, but I don't understand why it's not "He HAD known"! I'm just gonna stop trying to translate whatever the appropriate conjugation of "have" is for fear of hypercorrecting/undercorrecting and angering that bird.
(American English speaker) "He had known" would be "il avait su" This is coming up in a future lesson.
"He had known" is pluperfect tense.
Pluperfect tense is earlier than perfect tense which is earlier than present. For example - I understand (present) that yesterday you heard (perfect) about what she had said (pluperfect) last week.
'He had known' would be 'il avait su'. It's called the pluperfect tense and is a different tense.
So: il a su - he has known. This uses the present tense of the auxiliary verb (the little helpful word) avoir just like we use the present tense of the verb to have.
he had known - il avait su. This uses the imperfect tense of avoir. In English we use the past tense of the verb had.
Hope I haven't blinded you with science :)
Although the tenses might be the correct equivalent, sometimes the meaning will be different from a language to the next. Duo asks to translate meanings (or sentences), not barely words.
That's what I heard as well... Impossible to tell if it's "He knew" or "He knew it"?
It's not impossible to differ, as you can hear a small pause between "il" and "l'a", but in quick speech, it would be very difficult to tell a difference without context.
Yes it is the same for connaitre and savoir as sapere and conoscere. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/advpasttenses_2.htm
when do we use the simple past and the compound past? and why do we sometimes use avoir and sometimes etre??
I believe you mean imperfect, and not simple past, as the later is a literary tense not much used in regular conversations.
Imperfect : il savait
Simple past : il sut
Imperfect is used for habitual actions and conditions, and for actions in progress at a certain point in time. Whereas compound past is used when actions take place at a given time or for a given period or for specific, isolated actions.
As for when to use être and when to use avoir, most of the verbs use avoir, but a few specific ones use être, mostly verbs of movement. About.com has a good article about that.
I'd say mostly the same. The 'l' sound would be elongated a bit in the case of il l'a, like if you spent twice the time of a regular consonant. But it is easy to miss, I'll give you that.
Just to add a bit of clarity, in il l'a there's a small pause between il and l' that should be heard, even if it is subtle.
I find hearing subtle differences very difficult - I hope my ear for the language improves - one an only hope! (and continue trying, of course)
There's no magic way to get there, unfortunately, only time and practice. Maybe listening to audio samples from different people saying the two things for which you can't hear the difference.
Look up Forvo, it has many samples from a wide variety of languages, all recorded by native speakers. You can even ask for a word (or phrase) that isn't there and some native will record it for you.
You may find some Youtube videos about pronunciation too, and as a bonus, you see how the lips of the people move as they say it.
Well, as I've already said elsewhere in this discussion thread, the way "oui" is pronounced isn't wrong or from a different dialect, it just is over-articulated. No one would say it this way in natural speech (or so I believe), only if one wanted to emphasize what they were saying.
For example after repeating three times to a foreigner who wouldn't understand, a French speaker would then over-articulate this way to be clearer ; or to "spell it out" for an infant to teach proper pronunciation by isolating each different sound in a word.
So I'm not convinced it'd be a good idea to record it this way to post on Forvo, for fear of giving the wrong idea that it may be pronounced this way in a normal setting.
Thanks again. I know that being able to watch someone speaking makes listening easier. I'll certainly try Forvo.
love-day_123, for pronunciation, also try Acapela, which was recommended in the comments on another lesson. It is really easy t helpfu,o use, and I think, very
It's a stretch. The main problem here is that, besides verb tenses being used differently (albeit with some overlap) between French and English, French has two verbs for "to know" : savoir (to know a fact, or to find out) and connaître (to be acquainted with). So English will play with the verb tenses of "to know" to alter the meaning between the two different ones that are translated differently in French. This makes an exact translation very hard to pin point, especially without any context as with Duolingo sentences.
In this particular case, il a su really means "he knew" or "he found out". Although the direct semantically equivalent is indeed "he has known", the meaning produced by this English sentence is different from the original French phrase (unless you consider it to be equivalent to "he found out").
How would one say "he has always known"?
Edit: Sorting it out over here as well:
Looks like there are different possibilities, including "il (le) sait depuis toujours", but this link suggests that "il (l')a toujours su" can work in some contexts.
Il (l')a toujours su would have been my first thought. I can't think of a context where it wouldn't work...
I watch French movies on Netflix, and a lot of times characters pronounce "oui" as "way".
I'd write it as "ouais", it's the casual way to say oui, more or less equivalent to the English "yeah" or "yep".
NUUUUUU HE KNOWS ABOUT THE COOKIES!! WE NEED TO HIDE THEM AGAIIIIINNNNNNN OR WE WILL HAVE NO MORE!! JUST LIKE THE BUTTER!!!!!!
But it also means he has known. So if your point was that it was marked wrong when it shouldn't have been, then it is because Duo doesn't like contractions that have quite different possible meanings.
He is known everywhere = he's known everywhere
He has known about it for a long time = He's known about if for a long time.
That's actually a bug, and there's nothing we can do about it but complain to Duo staff. The only right answer is "he has known". So, even though it accepts it (and even proposes it), "He's known" is wrong.
Why is it wrong? In English, "he has known" contracts correctly into "he's known."
Because He's known can mean two separate things. Since Duo is also teaching English with its examples, the thinking is that it should not promote such confusing use of English.
Allowing the contraction translates the French from a specific tense into something that does not have a specific tense without some context to provide it. Such confusion is introduced by allowing a shortcut that provides no advantage but only adds difficulty.
So it isn't wrong, just undesirable from certain teaching standpoints? Fair enough, but hardly a bug.
Not a bug in the sense of being completely wrong but a bug in the sense of allowing a misleading translation.
When Duo finishes cleaning up some obvious errors that they currently have, they might want to have a look at this example and flag the contraction as confusing.
Alternatively, they could announce at the outset that they are going to consistently reject all English contractions instead of intermittently as they do now.
I wrote, "Yes, he has known" - which is a wrong formulation, apparently. I'm trying to sort out the use of compound past tense with "avoir" - and have a sense that this too should have been a correct translation. No?
"He's known" is the translation I was given by Duo when I wrote, "He is known". In their drop-down menu they specifically say do not use "he's". I suspect this is because it can mean he has. So Duo, you have once again graded a translation which complies with your drop-down menu as wrong. Please sort it out. The apostrophe usage in English is complicated. It does not just denote the possessive form but also denotes a missing letter/s. He's = he is or he has. The problem in translation is that the meaning is different. He is known, by the police for example, but he has known that he was ill for some time.
When you avoid the contraction you still have to choose the right verb. Here the verb would have to be "has", not "is". That's likely why Duo marked your sentence wrong.
(Granted, it's confusing for Duo to have "corrected" you with "he's known", but judging by other comments here and elsewhere, that's a program glitch in dealing with words like "it's" and "he's" that's been known about for a long time – and likely isn't going to be fixed soon – so unfortunately at this point we just have to be aware of it, maybe report it, and move on. You've correctly identified the confusion; you just picked the wrong verb.)
However, as other comments point out, "he has known" is not even a great translation here. Instead, "il a su" is better translated as "he found out".
Sitesurf has provided some commentary for a similar question on the different possible meanings of "il/elle a su":
Can someone please tell me trouve means 'found' as well and su means 'found' too? Am I missing on something?
In normal speech (normal speed) is there any difference between "il l'a su" and "il a su"?
I typed "oui, il l'a su" before hearing the slow speech because I thought I've got it.
I could not have chosen the above words has known to use when none of them were provided in the list of words.
The correct translations are in the drop-down menu hints, at least in the web version.
What a short quiz, what a long comment section haha. That's exactly why I love Duo ;-)
Duo says the correct answer is "he found out". But can it be "he's found out"?
Please, explain. How is it that ' Oui, il a su' translate(Yes, he found it out.) ? Su as compound past means (knew known).