"Son chat est noir."

Translation:His cat is black.

March 19, 2013

92 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Nightro

I tried "Their cat is black" but it told me I was wrong, and instead said the answer was "Her cat is black"...

How do I know the subject is a she in this case? :\

March 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/ferynn
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"Their cat is black" would be translated as "Their cat is black", belonging to several persons. Here, regardless of the gender, you'll say "Son chat est noir" for "His/Her cat is black".

March 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Nightro

Actually I looked into this a bit yesterday. In english we DO have the concept of singular 'they', usually when the gender of the subject is indeterminate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they). I think this is a valid translation.

March 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/shlyovich
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Wouldn't 'their cat is black' be 'leur chat est noir'? (even if you're using the singular they)

March 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Em.Jayne

I am a more advanced speaker of french then my profile expresses, I have to catch it up. It bothers me that duolingo doesn't explain this nearly well enough. when it comes to possessive pronouns 'son/sa/ses', the pronouns are refering to the object e.g. 'chat' is masculine, so you have to use 'son'. in english the equivalent pronouns 'his/her' refer to the subject. E.g. her cat= a girl's cat BUT 'son chat' could still refer to a girl's cat OR a boy's cat. you have to rely on context. so, I agree that in FR to ENG translation exercises, duolingo should accept the singular 'their' for son/sa/ses specifically.

September 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LyndonJayM
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You can always express it definitively by changing the sentence structure "Son chat est noir" could be "La chat noir à elle/lui" same information just clearer.

January 18, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Nightro

Plural, yes. Singular, no. Leur is strictly plural in French.

March 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/mackedee

That's if the "their" in question is referring to a group of people who collectively own a cat.

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ferynn
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Definitely ! "Leur chat est noir" = "Their cat is black"

March 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/513EngineerGirl

We do have it, but even your cited article says it is not necessarily accepted as correct. It's like using 'good' instead of 'well', or ending sentences with prepositions - not correct, but accepted as a part of every day speech. Hopefully Duolingo is teaching us correct grammar; it is up to us to learn what is used in every day speech through immersion :)

September 1, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/mackedee

Yes, however if we are trying to learn french and we know that "son chat" is referring to the gender of "chat" and not the gender of its owner, then surely we should be allowed to use a generally accepted (if not completely accepted) gender-neutral term so as to avoid getting called on using an incorrect or wrongly specific gendered pronoun in english.

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/fyggs
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A lot of those are outmoded forms, and it is not like using 'good' instead of 'well'. 'Their' is fine for almost anything, and in the few cases it's not, it will probably be for reasons of not researching it until you're able to determine the sex of your subject.

July 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ThanKwee
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Yes, it's complicated. We solved the problem in English vis-a vis not specifying which gender by using the "singular they". And that works in sentences such as "But a journalist should not be forced to reveal their sources". However, would you ever say "their cat" as a singular "they"? In this particular sentence, we know who the owner is. And if we didn't know the gender of the owner, we would say "That person's cat". Anyway, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to allow for this in the programming of Duolingo translations.

July 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Carcarlene
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In english it works, technically... because we can not say "it's" as the french can.

Should we say, to use the wiki example you provided, someone left it's umbrella instead of someone left their (his or her) umbrella, we woulf sound weird and rude.

The their is only used to shorten from his/her. So because french doesn't carr about the gender of the posessor of the possesion, they would never have the need to use their in it's place.

November 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mackedee

"Their" is an accepted gender neutral version of singular possessive. Therefore, "their cat is black" should absolutely work.

July 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/iyyume
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actually son mean his, as well as her and it.

December 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Emily913262

Also a little trick is to look for the capitalized word and that is usually the start of the sentence.

July 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/1brandon_E

Wouldn't "their" be using "leur"?

On another note, if the statement was "Sa chatte est noir" Would it be translated to her cat is black?

September 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

Hiya Brandon. The French article refers to the Object not the Subject.

September 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/sedasurucu

"son chatte est noire" is wrong?

December 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/suitupalex
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You would have to write Sa chatte est noire since sa/son must match genders with the object being possessed, not the possessor. Sa is femine, son is masculine.

March 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/kylebacon
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I agree with the son/chat matching but have a question about pronunciation. I thought we differentiate chat/chatte by emphasizing the "te" sound at the end of chatte. So chat sounds like more like sha and chatte sounds more like ❤❤❤❤. Thanks.

March 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sedasurucu

thanks

June 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/xpaez
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I understood son is only used with masculine nouns but in the exercise says "her black cat". Why?

May 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/AnoopVargh

The 'son' here is supposed to match the gender of the word following it, in this case, the cat. It does not tell us the gender of the owner. Similarly, it would have to be "Sa chatte est noir" for a female cat, irrespective of the gender of the owner.

August 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/MmeElwira

Pardon, you thought ' Sa chatte est noire ' for a female cat ??

December 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/sologkinz

I tried "Its cat is black," which did not work. Duolingo said it was "his cat is black."

July 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

sologkinnz... Cor Blimey Mate, Duo said HER cat is black for me. Think Duo should take more water with it.

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/amitmis

I'm sorry, I still don't understand why it is not "sa chat est noir".

June 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/pwy
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"chat" is masculine, "sa" is feminine. The possesive adjective has to match the noun, not the gender of the owner. At least that seems to be the way it is.

August 9, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/LavaAndDiamond

Okay, shouldn't "Its cat is black" be allowed? "Its" is even one of the translations for "son."

June 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/IsaboeOfLumatere

How come I hear the liason in "chat" when she says it fast, but not when she says it slow? Should there even BE a liason?

October 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/ThanKwee
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There is rarely a liaison after a singular noun, so no there shouldn't even be a liaison in this sentence. There might be a liaison in fixed expressions such as "fait accompli".

However, you will never hear the liaison when listening to it on the slow speed, because each word is being pronounced individually. Also, it's not just a matter of liaison, there's also "enchaînement" (linking). http://french.about.com/od/pronunciation/g/linking.htm

Enchaînement is the phenomenon whereby the consonant sound at the end of a word is transferred to the beginning of the word that follows it. Note that enchaînement is not the same thing as liaison.

So it would be difficult to program for liaison + linking/enchaînement on slow speed as each word is said separately. For example, if you were listening to "petit ami" when she (the Robot) says it fast, you would hear the "t" in "petit" pronounced with "ami". So you would hear "peti tami" (.peu tee ta mee) On the slow version you would hear "petit ami" (peu tee a mee)

December 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/IsaboeOfLumatere

Thanks for all the info!

December 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

It shouldn't be there. I think it is a mistake. Tortoise got it right. However tortoise doesn't necessarily stay true to the particular task nor, more importantly, to the normal speed of the voicebot. A small but admittedly annoying thing.

October 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/IsaboeOfLumatere

OK, thanks!

October 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/billy.requena

I tried "her male cat Is black", since both noun and adjective are in a masculine form (chat and noir) and it gave me a wrong answer

February 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

Hi billy. Le/un chat is masculine and so to add that it is male implies that your sentence would read "Her male, male cat is black" when in normal,general context. I think the phrase for a male cat is un chat male (with the / accent over the "a") which would be used in very specific circumstances only.

February 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/billy.requena

My point is that 'Son chat est noir' is different from 'Son chatte est noire'. I have understood that in the first sentence I'm talking specifically about his male cat, while in the second format would be his female cat (with the adjectives corresponding to the cat's sex). Maybe 'chat' is also used a general name for cats. Does anyone have a clue about it?

February 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

Yes, "Le chat" is indeed general for a cat whether it is male or female. The only time one would need to specify gender is if "La chatte" is used in a sentence and then one would describe it as a "female cat". For example: "La chatte est noire"= "The female cat is black". Be aware that in many site translations "La chatte" will be translated as "The ❤❤❤❤❤" and so one needs take care when using La chatte just the same way as one needs take care using la chienne and le garcon (now never for waiter). Safest way always is to default to masculine. This is nothing to do with Misogyny, it is just the way that French has evolved from Latin etc.

February 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/mashally

"Son chat est noir" sounds exactly like "son chatte est noire" so how can i differentiate it??

May 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

Hi mashelly, If it was French for "Your FEMALE cat is black" then it would be SA chatte est noire" not "SON chat est noir" Note not only Son and Sa to indicate gender of the noun, cat, but the spelling of Noir/Noire.

May 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JLS813

I thought that when you can hear the "T" at the end of chat that means it's the fem form, chatte? Otherwise it's said "Cha", no??

May 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/shrikrishna1
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Mais, mon chat est blanc.

June 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/-Marcellous-

Remember when we were learning chat and chatte? I do, the computer dosen't though, (fr to eng) " his male cat is black" was not accepted.... why...

June 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/shyannelist

Whats the difference between sa and son i just can understand it????

September 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

Hi shyannelist. Son and Sa both mean the same thing: His, Her or Its (possessive determiner). It must agree in gender and number with the noun it modifies. "Chat" is a male cat; so His/Her cat=Son chat. Chatte is a female cat; so His/Her female cat=Sa chatte. Additionally, if the noun being modified is plural, both Son and Sa change to Ses. So His/Her cats=Ses chats/chattes.

September 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Davecas46

Was I the only one that heard "Son chatte est noir?

Confused me because the pronunciation which was supposed to be chat was pronounced chatte with the masculine possession word of son before it.

October 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Scobin
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This is beacuse of the liaison. You wouldn't want to have two consecutive vowels in French (I think it's a general rule, though perhaps there are exceptions), so you need to enter "t" in pronunciation between "chat" and "est". More information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liaison_(French).

October 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

@Davecas46. No, you're not. The "T" is sounded and I think this is a mistake. However my French friend tells me that it is optional. I've listened to the sentence on a pronunciation site and the "T" of Chat is Not sounded. On the Wiki site these exceptions and optional uses are noted. So,I assume that for this case one may choose. If I'm ever in France, I'll not sound the "T" and see if I get corrected.

October 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Scobin
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SiteSurf for the rescue!

Indeed I was a little too rash, so I'll correct myself: the liaison rule is certainly not as frequent as I made it sound. If no further sources are called upon, then we'll probably be good to assume that pronouncing the "t" here is possible but optional.

October 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AliBebeSuarez

So son is both his/her?

January 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

Yes.

January 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/_n3t0_
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Her ❤❤❤❤❤ is black is correct too?

January 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

No. It could be for "Sa chatte est noire" feminine, but not for Chat; masculine. You do see that, don't you?

January 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Peyton-Madeline

I still have trouble figuring out if it's "his" or "her's" between "son" and "sa". I know the difference between masculine and feminine words, but I'm having trouble with this one. Any advice?

January 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

In french, possessive determiners apply to the noun being possessed, not the possessor of the noun. In this task someone possesses a male cat = Son chat. If that person possessed a female cat = Sa chatte irrespective of whether the owner of the cat is male or female. It is the gender of the cat that determines whether Son or Sa is used, not the gender of the owner. So, without context, or more separate information, the gender of the owner/possessor just isn't known. Remember, also, that when gender is unknown, French defaults to masculine. So if we don't know if the cat is male or female it is Un Chat. Same with a child. Unless we know definitely that the child is female we say Un Enfant.

January 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MarinPotte

Why is "its cat is black" wrong?

January 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

You are not wrong grammatically. Thing is, what is the "It" that possesses the cat? There would need to be so much more context to warrant its use. With no context one is forced to assume "Son" his His or Her here.

January 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MarinPotte

oh, I see. Thank you!

January 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jaceybuchorn

I used to have a black cat.

July 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/King2E4
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Me too

September 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/EvelinaGibson

Im sorry despite reading the comments I'm still confused. So it is not 'their cat' - we have established that, so it must be 'his or her' cat. The answer duo lingo gave me is 'her cat' - so how do we know which gender we are supposed to use? I thought 'son' was masculine so I used 'his cat' and got it wrong.

July 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

In French the possessive singular Son/Sa refers to the object (the cat) not the subject (Hiis/Her). Either His or Her should be accepted and if not, reported. But Le Chat is a male cat and La Chatte is a female cat, so in this example the possessive "Son" is used because it refers to a male cat (subject noun).

July 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/EvelinaGibson

Ah okay- so because I am reading it I can tell that it should be Son. That is why duo is not accepting her/sa - as I guess if I was hearing it I'd not be able to tell, but we can as we can see it is 'Chat' not 'Chatte'. Is that right?

July 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

Yes, Evelina, you've got it. Although in audio-only you should note the different sound of "Son (Soh, nasal)" and "Sa (Sah" Non-nasal)" Additionally "Chat (Male) Soulnds like "Shah" (the "t" is not pronounced) and "Chatte sounds like ❤❤❤❤ ("tte" pronounced", please excuse the apparent simile).

July 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SeeratGill1

Please explaim the diffrnce btw sa and son, ma and mon, ta and ton... Please its confusing

December 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

OK, Seerat, it's all to do with the gender of the noun to which they refer, just like Le and La refers to masculine and feminine respectively Mon refers to a masculine noun, Ma to feminine, (eg Mon Garcon/My Boy, Ma Fille/My Girl Son Carcon/His or Her Boy. Sa Fille/His or Her Girl. Ton Garcon/Your Boy. Ta Fille/Your Girl.) Hope this sorts it for you.

December 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LilianLeon7

How do you know when to use "his" or "her" when translating "son"

April 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

You use either Liliant.. The possessive determiner applies to the object in French not the subject as in English. Son Chat=his (male) cat. Sa chatte His (female) cat.

April 23, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Jen47380

Ok.. but In this case. I was one that put "Their" because it doesn't seem to give an indication of if it is her cat or his cat. If it could be either / or the "correct' translation should list both, not just her cat. Unless the "noire" is an indicator of the owners gender and not cat...? Which I don't think is correct either.

January 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

Oh dear Jen. The course is programmed and thus doesn't cover all possibilities. In French when things are uncertain the gender defaults to masculine (1). Also, if there are a thousand women and just one man in a group, the gender defaults to masculine.(2) "Their"=Leur (describing singular noun of any gender, Leurs describes a plural noun of any gender) Your suggestion "Their Cat"=Leur Chat, not Son Chat" (3) Chat=Tomcat. Chatte=Queen (female cat) so Chat noir, Chatte Noire. (4) Articles in French do not necessarily translate to English linguistics. (5) We English speakers can use "Their", as you have indicated, in a singular indefinite form. The French just don't do that with articles, Jen. Never. (6) By the way, your post is really useful and raises issues which students here who have English as a second language will find most timely. Thank you for the post, mate. JJ.

January 4, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jen47380

I get that part after reading about it" Thier/leur. If everything you say is true. Things defaulting to masculine then the correction should have said. "He" vs "She". Or both. If there were a ton of possibilities, of course they cannot list them all. But in a situation such as this, it is very ambiguous. It can easily cause confusion for people trying to learn. I understand "Thier " being incorrect. Had they listed he and she as correct possibilities I think less people would be confused.

January 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/PatrickJaye

@Jan47380

"Son chat est noir" can translate as either "His cat is black" or "Her cat is black"

Duo accepts both answers as correct ;)

January 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

Patrick, please may I add some to your post? What our Jen is on about is like this: "Whether Jack or Jill come separately and alone at a different time, tell THEM that THEIR dinner is in the oven." This, even though only ONE person is going to be spoken to but whether it is is a male Jack or a female Jill. So Them and Their is singular, appropriate, Yes, before you say it, French doesn't work here like the English does so how would that scenario be expressed in French? Thanks in advance, mate. Happy New Year by the way. I hope it is good for you and yours. JJ.

January 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/RenataDosA1

The word chat is on masculine ?

June 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/PatrickJaye

@RenataDosA1

Yes the word "chat" is masculine.

June 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/keoh0

what song are you listing to this moment?

April 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

Black Cats. My song---utube it

April 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/chadfr
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So if it were "chatté " you would use "sa"?

July 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

Yes, Chadfr

July 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/adrianna594467

How is it that Son can be used as he/she/they. How can you tell which to use?

July 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

Hiya Adrian. In French the singular article reflects the gender of the noun they modify. So the gender of all nouns be memorised. Early on in learning it can be problematical when the noun begins with a vowel or vowel sound or is plural. Eventually, with regular practice and use they'll come. So as an example HIS son=Son Fils but HIS Daughter=SA Fille.

July 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/pat609881

Could someone explain how and when to use "sa, son, ses"

July 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

Yes,Pat, I can. In French it is the Object in the sentence which is modified not the subject as in English. In these examples "She" (Her) is the subject and the thing that she "Owns" is the object. So, "Her (male) cat"; Is "Son Chat." because the object (the cat) is masculine. Let us look at this when the cat is a female. Now it is "Sa Chatte," which is still Her Cat but as the cat is feminine Sa is used, not Son. Now there are many cats; both Son and Sa convert to "SES" which is the plural and Still Is Modifying The Object in the sentence, (The Cat) Not the Subject (She/Her) So it is "Ses Chats/Chattes. Pat it is the same with Le, (M) La, (F) Les, (Pl) Ton, (M) Ta (F), Tes;(Pl), Mon, (M), Ma, (F), Mes (PL), and Du, (M), De La (F) D' (before a vowel/vowel sound; no way really, of knowing which gender the noun is. Just has to be memorised.) and Des (Pl.). Hope this helps a bit.

July 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/APitrJ

In the dictation exercise, the voice said "son chaT est noir" with a hard "T" sound. I was under the impression that this would denote a female cat, spelled "chatte". Doing some quick searching on another duolingo thread, I see that the feminine noun has become something of a vulgarity, so I get why that wasn't the correct translation. However i have it from a Parisian friend that the "hard consonant before a vowel" rule doesn't always apply, especially with gendered nouns.

October 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/sonny852458

Does this also mean that the cat is African American?

November 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

No, Sonny, ir doesn't. There are Tabby cats, Ginger Toms, White cats. fancy suggesting to which race they belong?

November 19, 2017
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