"Le hibou a de grands yeux."

Translation:The owl has large eyes.

March 28, 2018



Is there a specific/historical reason as to why it isn't l'hibou?

March 28, 2018


The "H" in "hibou" is an H aspiré or aspirated H. It is silent, but treated as a consonant when it comes to elisions. So l'hibou is not allowed. Other aspirated H words are "le heros" (hero) and "le haricot" (bean).

The opposite is the H muet or mute H. Also silent, but elisions are mandatory. For example, "l'homme."

March 28, 2018


So is there a rule to follow that tells you when and when not to use an elision or do you just have to memorize the words?

December 8, 2018


No rule. You must look up the H word whether it’s muet or aspiré.

December 8, 2018


Ah, okay thanks!

April 21, 2018


The "h" in Old French was originally pronounced. Then it became silent and was replaced by liaison. Then an influx of Germanic words were added to the language, which brought "h" back. Then these new "h"s became silent as well but did not get liaised!

The original Vulgar Latin/Old French "h"s are now "h" muet, and the newer Germanic "h"s are "h" aspiré. That's why different words follow different rules. Unless you're really interested in the etymology of each word, it's best to just remember the words individually.

May 18, 2018


hibou starts with an H aspiré like, le haricot (the bean) and la honte (the shame).

hôpital starts with an H muet and is written as l'hôpital.

See further information here:

March 28, 2018


pronounciation Zieux gran zieu

April 1, 2018


The "H" in hibou is an aspiré h, not a mute h.

April 6, 2018

[deactivated user]

    Most aspirated-h words are derived from Germanic languages. L'hibou is one of many exceptions. It is thought to be onomatopoeic. Ie. A word that imitates the call of the animal. Maybe that's why the pronunciation of the 'h' has endured.

    August 12, 2018


    By audio only, is there a difference between "de grands yeux" and "deux grands yeux"? I can't hear any difference. Any help to distinguish the two would be appreciated.

    June 26, 2018


    Historically, yes, but in modern French, there is often no difference. I found this extremely clear video which explains why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYnIuVcKTHA (note that "de" traditionally has a [ə] schwa or mute-e sound, while "deux" has a [ø] sound)

    Here is a written explanation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_phonology#Schwa

    September 12, 2018


    Those are fantastic links! Thank you!

    March 19, 2019


    I thought owl was choutte

    May 5, 2018


    Quite wonderful! The female owl is la chouette, while the male owl is le hibou. Who knew? More importantly, who knows besides the owls? I learned this reading Harry Potter in translation, and owls, m and f, figure prominently among the magical. Harry's Hedwig, a snowy owl, is la. Good place to go, a lot of colloquial conversation at about an 11 year old level.

    May 28, 2018


    That is not correct, sorry. They are different animals. Les hiboux ont des aigrettes de plumes sur la tête. (They have tufts of soft hair that look like ears on their heads.) Les chouettes, such as the barn owls, don't have them. I believe what you are referring to is simply the gender of the words in French.

    February 4, 2019


    He is le hibou, while she is la chouette. How do you tell owls apart, who have next to no sexual dimorphism?

    May 28, 2018



    December 22, 2018


    On the question immediately preceding this one, DL would not accept grand for large. Yet here it uses grands for large. Totally inconsistent.

    October 28, 2018


    It depends a lot on the context because "grand" does not always mean "large". So yes, there could be inconsistency because this is not a one-to-one translation.

    October 29, 2018


    That just means it is a natural language being learned.

    February 19, 2019


    De si grands yeux que tu as Duo

    February 19, 2019


    why wouldn't it be des grands yeux instead of de grands yeux?

    June 7, 2018


    Indefinite article (du/de la/des) becomes just "de" when the adjective precedes the noun.

    August 17, 2018


    Why not "big eyes"

    April 18, 2019


    Is there a reason not to use "les grands yeux" in this sentence? Because I have seen a sentence in this skill use "les pattes" when talking about the penguin's feet.

    May 14, 2019
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