Why is «bec» required to be singular for «Les oiseaux nettoient l'hippopotame avec leur bec», but plural here?
My understanding of the hippo sentence is that the singular is used because parrots have only one beak. https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/26748348
The parrots in this sentence still have only one beak, so what has changed?
thank you R-W, I was too lazy to do all the typing, but wondered the same thing. or, if nothing has changed, as I suspect, is there some rule one can fall back upon?
I think it is because many kinds of parrots all have big beaks. There are many kinds of beaks on many kinds of parrots.
The hippo sentence reminds me of the apple sentence in which "They eat an apple." but in French the meaning is that each of them eats an apple. So, there is actually more than one apple. Now, you see the difference with an action verb, that in French with a plural group, each can be doing it separately. So the singular is used in the hippo sentence to show that each bird of the group of birds is cleaning the hippo with its own beak. I guess if they used the plural of beaks in that sentence, they would be cleaning the hippo as a group, as if all their beaks would move at the same time.
why isn't les perroquents_ont a required liaison? noirmally don't we liaise ils_ont?
Edit: Pronoun liaisons are required, but plural noun liaisons are optional, from https://www.lawlessfrench.com/pronunciation/optional-liaisons/
...and why not "parakeets", which is an English word (derived from the French word) for a number of parrots?
That is a false friend. The French word "perroquet" (masculine word) looks like "parakeet", but no, it means "parrot." The word for "parakeet" is "perruche" (feminine word). https://dictionary.reverso.net/english-french/parrakeet
parakeet in french is perruche. but yeah parakeet actually originated from perroquet
Why is "Parrots have huge beaks" not accepted. Aren't "large" and "huge" the same thing?
Shouldn't DL at least remove "huge" from the word bank?
No, "huge" is much bigger than "large" and would be similar to enormous, so it would be translated as "énormes." This is too big to make sense for the beaks of any birds, even parrots.
They each only have one beak, but in English we would have put beaks, so it is a difference between French and English that we need to learn.
I think I've missed something. I thought it would be DES not LES, since its talking about all parrots, not a specific group of parrots. Can someone help me get clearer about why they use LES in this case? thanks
Yes, in English we use the indefinite form for a generalization of all parrots, but in French they use the definite form for a generalization of “all the parrots”. We just don’t view it the same as they do. So, when the French definite article appears at the beginning of sentence in particular, check if a generalization could be possible. https://www.thoughtco.com/introduction-to-french-articles-1368810 If there is a continue reading button, be sure to press it for all the information.
Des is here the plural of un.
If the entire sentence we're singular, it would be Le peroquet a un gros bec. If you make the whole thing plural, you have Les perroquets ont des gros becs.
Singular un --> plural des. Singular le --> plural les.
(The plural of "a/an" does not exist in English. So just get rid of it in the English sentence.)
One more thing - (in the French) When des is followed by an adjective before the noun, change des to de.
Putting it all together, you have the pluralised sentence,
- Les perroquets ont de gros becs.
De rien. Oui, il est logique, mais très difficile !
This sentence may seem silly and awkward, but it's extremely rich in learning challenges. Really, it's one of the best lessons on the whole tree!
On utilise le mot “gros” au lieu du mot “grands”, parce que les becs ne sont pas “tall” ou “long”, mais plutôt “wide” ou “large”.
Thank you, I was wondering that too and your response is very helpful.
Sometimes, we hear what makes sense to us. Did you expect “leur gros bec” ? In French a plural subject often is followed by a singular which means “each their own big beak” or as we would put it “their big beaks”.