"Ma poche contient une pomme."

Translation:My pocket contains an apple.

March 19, 2013

43 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/BernieHugh
  • 15
  • 13
  • 11
  • 5

There are other sentences that could be used to demonstrate and test the use of the verb contenir. I would also say "there is an apple in my pocket" never "my pocket contains an apple"

October 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/MrHazard
  • 24
  • 24
  • 11
  • 9
  • 7
  • 4
  • 336

I agree with this sentiment. It's not a good way to learn "contenir," so the example sentence should be changed.Otherwise the learner is confused: do I translate this into "natural-sounding" English or go literal? As we can't outguess the Duolingo folks, we gamble. Much better to present us with sentences in which the various conjugations of "contenir" would actually be used. The program accepts a translation of "La pomme du garçon" as "the boy's apple" as well as "the apple of the boy," (as it should). If, under MmeMas's contention that interchangeable English is not what's important, "the boy's apple" should be rejected.
Duolingo's idiom section translates sentences like "Il ne faut pas avoir les yeux plus gros que le ventre." as "Don;'t bite off more than you can chew"! This totally loose translation is a good thing; we don't want to speak like clumsy English folks who think it's "natural" to tell French people we "contain apples in our pockets."

December 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/ioaemcl
  • 25
  • 11
  • 4
  • 65

But we also have the expression "your [&c] eyes are bigger than your [&c] belly", and it doesn't actually have the same meaning as "don't bite off more than you can chew". Whilst avoiding odd-sounding English is certainly important, it's also important not to lose the original meaning in translation.

December 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/PzKpfwFerdinand

also, doesn't it sound weird to say something contains something that's on you, like a pocket? a box would be fine, like "this box contains apples".

November 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/rosemiguri

It may sound weird to you but it's fine, and don't expect everything is going to be right, not even Google translate is always right. ;)

November 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/sarahyazgul

I have written "There is an apple in my pocket", which I believe has the same meaning and would be interchangeable in English, however it has been marked incorrect. It seems a less awkward English translation than saying my pocket contains an apple.

June 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/MmeMAS

The issue of "interchangeable in English" is not what is important. Awkward as it may sound, the purpose of the exercise was to translate the sentence as it was stated, practicing the vocabulary and the conjugation of the verb, contenir. The French for "There is an apple in my pocket" is "Il y une pomme dans ma poche."

June 21, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/seldomnotme

unfortunately, that's not the most reasonable way to learn a language.

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Arjofocolovi
Mod
  • 22
  • 19
  • 18
  • 10
  • 8

In your opinion maybe. The Duolingo staff apparently thinks otherwise.

More seriously, if you take any sentence, there are often several different ways of saying it while staying more or less semantically correct. Does it mean we should accept all of them ? I don't think so.

When you're using a language in real life, you'll often need to say a different sentence than the one you have in mind, because, for example, you struggle to remember a specific word or a conjugation, etc... In other words you need to practice your flexibility. In real life discussion, you'll have plenty of time to practice that skill.

But when you're using a learning tool, there are other things that you have to practice, such as semantic accuracy, understanding context, converting literal translation into natural translation, etc... This environment requires specific rules, otherwise it would be a complete mess. I think that sentences or words similar to the official translation (assuming it's correct) should be added with great care, because if people start thinking that they can turn sentences in the way they want as long as it's more or less the same meaning, they can end up learning complete nonsense.

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/ConnorDunn6

I wholeheartedly, and respectfully, disagree. We are trying to turn people into speakers and writers of a language, so translating word-for-word into English is significantly less useful than figuring out the meaning and converting it, as a whole, into English. The former is a heavy crutch and is a slower path to proficiency, in my opinion.

December 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Arjofocolovi
Mod
  • 22
  • 19
  • 18
  • 10
  • 8

"We are trying to turn people into speakers and writers of a language"

No, not in the lessons. The goal of the lessons is to introduce concepts and vocabulary and make people practice those, nothing more. Then, in the Immersion part, people can start translating and writing their recently learned concepts if they want to, and they can also start finding partners to practice their listening and speaking skills, but all the conversation aspect is clearly never handled by the lessons in Duolingo, and it was never the goal, otherwise they would have built it a lot differently.

Same in school, you're first presented with concepts and vocabulary, then, separately, there are parts of the learning aimed towards listening comprehension, reading skills, writing, etc, etc... Those are separate processes, and in my opinion should really stay separate.

May 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/krista189497
  • 23
  • 14
  • 7
  • 2
  • 163

that is fair enough... but when something is actually correct in one's understanding of the language concept... and then it is marked wrong and replaced with a translation one would never use in a practical language it becomes very frustrating... particularly if you use words that can be used in a few ways... because they have the same meaning but the computer makes it wrong... I speak only two languages and want to learn a third one just for fun... Duo was fun so far... I got hooked completely, but lately I am getting frustrated with the new course.

March 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/djoolz
  • 13
  • 11
  • 4

I'm a translator and I was an English teacher for almost ten years. I agree wholeheartedly.

The tool accepts different translations for the same sentence, as long as the meaning is kept intact.

Contrary to what is being said in this thread, expecting to translate everything literally will not help your brain absorb another language. The opposite is true: the more you understand that two different things mean the same thing in two different languages, the more proficient you'll become.

So yes, duolingo should accept "There is an apple in my pocket" AS WELL AS the literal translation.

April 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy
  • 25
  • 25
  • 19
  • 659

I'm not sure what you mean by teaching English. But if you mean teaching it as a second language, how could you possibly evaluate their progress if they could substitute any words they wanted in an example as long as it conveyed the same basic information.

Behold, an apple in my pocket is not an acceptable translation for students to apply to this Duo example because it does not accurately translate the words provided. It provides the same basic information but it doesn't deal with contient.

The same reasoning applies to there is an apple in my pocket. How will the student ever notice that contient is actually two words put together to create a new meaning if he is allowed to avoid it because it is an irregular verb? Or that there are a lot verbs that take prefixes and suffixes to amplify their meaning. Why bother with all kinds of verbs that can be replaced by there is.

A good translator will select those words that fit in with an author's intent and convey the same sort of style to English. That is because that is what most readers want. To get the real sense, including the style and point of view of the author, which means that sometimes a direct translation to another language is inappropriate. But that isn't the task here. The task here is, do you know what the words mean when translated and can you use them that way? Can you stick to the words in the example as close as possible and still have it make sense?

If you can't figure out how to use contain but can guess that there is will get you out of the situation, then you don't know how to use contain. If you can't or are unwilling to demonstrate that you know how to use contain, how can Duo say that you understand the sentence?

It is fine if you want to substitute your own words for tricky French words. But it isn't fine if you want to be evaluated on your ability to accurately deal with translation.

November 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/krista189497
  • 23
  • 14
  • 7
  • 2
  • 163

response to northernguy .....sometimes it is impossible to use word by word translation. for instance... as an example in the course... Duo would not accept the word by word translation.... There is some wind.... rightfully so... you would not say it in English.... of course you would say.... it is windy... therefore Duo expects the context.... good... for this case... but then in this case the bag contains an apple ....? anyone would say... there is an apple in my bag..I think with the new course Duo and students experience some growing pains....the new course is good... actually tremendous... but equally frustrating when vous avez is not accepted because you did not write tu as....I just saw that I could have communicated in German with you as you are very proficient in this language too.

March 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Common-Wealth

Agreed, the system doesn't have all possible acceptable translations for the sentences it has so, just report them and sooner or later they'll be added.

August 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/krista189497
  • 23
  • 14
  • 7
  • 2
  • 163

thank you to djoolz , someone is listening and understanding.... English is my second language, but it has become my everyday language and I am writing it ( in poetry) teaching .... and reading elaborately. I enjoy the intricacy of the two languages (my mother tongue and English) and so far I had tremendous fun learning French.

March 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Victoria_Lam

This app sorta is really picky like"he has candy" wouldn't be correct but"he has A candy "would be correct. And this is another language, so duolingo is trying to make the English translation is as close to the French translation as possible

February 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/kii92979

But that's good pickiness! He has candy is plural and he has A candy is singular. Totally different.

If you're using he has candy as singular you're using it wrong. (No offence) You need to clarify that it's singular with a or occasionally the.

February 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/pesto
  • 11
  • 2
  • 2

I thought usually -ent was not pronounced at the end of verbs (at least for ils and elles) but Duolingo seems to be pronouncing it here. Is that correct?

March 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Arjofocolovi
Mod
  • 22
  • 19
  • 18
  • 10
  • 8

Yes the pronunciation on this exercise is correct.

When "-ent" marks the third person PLURAL for verbs, then it's not pronounced.

BUT there are many other words and verbs that use "-ent" at the end (including the third person SINGULAR), and in those cases, it can be pronounced.

Here are a few examples :

  • (il/elle/on) ment
  • (il/elle/on) vient
  • (il/elle/on) appartient

All those endings are pronounced.

-

However:

  • (ils/elles) mentent
  • (ils/elles) viennent
  • (ils/elles) appartiennent

All of these final "-ent" are not pronounced (because, again, it's the suffix of the third person plural).

Usually you won't have troubles using the rule : "-ent" with third person plural is not pronounced, the rest is pronounced.

March 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/MmeMAS

I disagree with Arj... in one respect. In this case, the "-ent" marks the third person SINGULAR (caps for emphasis). Singular: Il contient. Plural: Ils contiennent.

June 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Arjofocolovi
Mod
  • 22
  • 19
  • 18
  • 10
  • 8

Sorry but no.

"-ent" is never the suffix for the third person singular. What brings "ent" in this exercise is the verb from the 3rd group "contenir", which happens to use "-en-" before its "-t", but the suffix is still "-t". I agree that the third person singular is tricky (well, even trickier than the others).

Here is a link with all the suffixes for most tenses :

http://www.bertrandboutin.ca/Folder_151_Grammaire/B_g_termin_verbales.htm

June 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/MmeMAS

Yes, you are correct. My remark was misleading. Contenir, based on tenir, is an irregular verb.

June 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/seekeroflight

Both ArJ's and MmeMas' comments on pronunciation have thoroughly confused me I still don't understand why it is pronounced here or if it is correct to do so or not. Someone please clarify.

January 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Phosphorus347

It is. Only the suffix–the fixed ending– -ent that is at the end of the third person plural(ils/elles) of most verbs is not pronounced.

March 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Phosphorus347

MmeMAS did not mean that it was a suffix, just that those same letters were at the end of the singular.

March 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Arjofocolovi
Mod
  • 22
  • 19
  • 18
  • 10
  • 8

MmeMAS didn't use the word "suffix" but by saying that "-ent" marked the third person singular, he/she basically described a suffix. I wanted to clarify because I don't want people to think that "-ent" can be a suffix for singular.

March 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/RicePriest

I don't know if it is explained anywhere on this website but I just realised that there is a space before exclamation marks and question marks but not before a period. Is this actually important?

August 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/northernguy
  • 25
  • 25
  • 19
  • 659

It is how the French do it. It is as important for English speakers to adopt the practice when writing French as it is for French speakers to adopt the English style when writing English. Not very noticeable but when it is spotted reminds the reader that the writer is not a native speaker.

There are many things that I should notice, when I write anything in French, that otherwise escape my attention and result in major errors. I will add different spacing practices to that list when it gets much shorter.

August 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Alfred.Kirsten

It is rather awkard to have an apple in your pocket, should pocket not be translated to bag?

June 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Arjofocolovi
Mod
  • 22
  • 19
  • 18
  • 10
  • 8

No, even if the sentence is odd, it's correct English, and we're here to translate, not to question the likelihood of the situation taking place in our world.

Besides, a giant can put a lot more than one apple in his pockets, I wouldn't be surprised if he used them for that purpose.

June 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/DaveT
  • 12
  • 10
  • 3
  • 2

Is this sentence as stilted in French as it is in English. If I wanted to convey this sentiment in French--and I'm not sure why I would--I would say Il y a une pomme en ma poche. (or should it be dans....)

October 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/rainbowroads

so 'contient' is conjugated the same as 'il contient' because...?... its third person?

May 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/CJMBenz
  • 17
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12
  • 12
  • 10
  • 9
  • 9
  • 7
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

Could someone explain the difference between "Ma poche CONTIENT une pomme" and "Ma poche A une pomme"

March 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnBMiles
  • 15
  • 9
  • 6
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 37

Well, I'll try my best.

So, with the term "a," I'm going to guess you are using the terms for "Avoir," so it would translate to the sentence, "My pocket has an apple." That is correct in some places, however it could also mean your pocket is alive, and so it is not correct for this exercise. The sentence, "Ma poche contient une pomme," means you have an apple in your pocket, which is correct. To get the literal sentence, "I have an apple in my pocket," you would need to translate it as, "J'ai une pomme dans ma poche."

Hope this helps :)

February 3, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/FlyingDucks
  • 12
  • 10
  • 10
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

It accepts "There is an apple in my pocket" But is "Il y a pomme dans ma poche" correct grammar as well?

April 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Arjofocolovi
Mod
  • 22
  • 19
  • 18
  • 10
  • 8

"Il y a une pomme dans ma poche." is correct French.

April 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Faux3
  • 8
  • 8
  • 6
  • 4

Any shared etymoligy between apples (Fr: pommes) & tomatoes (It: pomodori) in Romance languages? Or is that just comparing apples to, well, tomatoes?

August 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/DavidaRich

A lot of this discussion ignores the fact that there are occasions when one might very well declare "my pocket contains an apple". ...I couldn't put the ball in my pocket because my pocket contains a Pomeranian" - I said that to one of my great grandaughters last week.

March 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/krista189497
  • 23
  • 14
  • 7
  • 2
  • 163

why is" there is an apple in my pocket"... replaced with I have an apple in my pocket.... and the translation... my pocket contains an apple is not what you would say in English not in writing or in spoken language...... really...,

March 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TndeLagler

Duo wrote as exemple My pocket has an apple., my version was the folloing: In my pocket is an apple. Both of them mean the same, don't they?

December 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/frenchquist

Yes but your example is longer than Duo's. Duo always goes with th shortest sentences that make sence.

February 11, 2015
Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.