1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Les pingouins cherchent des …

"Les pingouins cherchent des poissons."

Translation:The penguins are looking for fish.

April 1, 2018


Sorted by top thread


Why not "Penguins look for fish." It seems like it is an appropriate generic statement, and by my understanding "Les pingouins" could mean "all penguins" as well as "The penguins"

November 1, 2018


I thought the translation for penguin is "manchot." Is there a difference, or a preferred translation ? Merci d'avance pour votre reponse.


"Les pingouins" live in the northern hemisphere and can fly. "Les manchots" live near the south pole and can't fly.


So you are saying that "Les pingouins" = razorbills or auks (which fly around) and "Les manchots" = penguins (which don't fly around)? I thought "pingouin" was a catch-all word for all sea birds that swim in the ocean?

  • 1812

See the link provided by Ripcurlgirl above. The article points out a major source of confusion over use of the term "penguin". It turns out that the "pingouins" of the Arctic region and the "manchots" or Antarctica are not related. They look somewhat similar at a glance. As you point out, the arctic birds may be commonly referred to auks and are capable of flight. The Antarctic penguins are flightless. I suspect that most English speakers, seeing the word "penguin" will tend to think of the Antarctic bird. It is also not at all helpful that the word for the Arctic bird looks like "penguin" so we are undoubtedly going to see a lot of confusion over this word. Duo accepts both "pingouins" and "manchots" here.


Thank you for addressing this; by the way the wikipedia page in French addresses this language confusion right here; https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphenisciformes.


It would be really helpful to add (/delete "penguins" altogether?) the more precise English terms for these creatures (auks, razorbills, I guess?) to the hints. I don't think most English speakers think of these creatures as "penguins" at all.


Totally agree as "manchot" = penguin NOT "pingouin".


"Auks" and "manchots" are available for alternative translations. The French tend to use "pingouins" for either, so we kept the more common words.


Merci ! C'est un fait très intéressant, nous apprenons quelque chose de nouveau chaque jour :)

  • 785

The, may or may not be needed depending on context therefore both should be acceptable


Why won't it accept, "the penguins are looking for some fish." I put that and got marked wrong. :c someone explain why, s'il vous plait. merci d'avance


Le pingouin cherche un poisson → The penguin is looking for a fish.

Les pingouins cherchent des poissons → The penguins are looking for fish.

des is the French plural of the indefinite articles un / une.
In French, articles are mandatory → every noun requires an article, however this is not always so in English so there is no need to translate des as some. It is superfluous in the English sentence.

This doesn't mean that your translation is intrinsically wrong, just unnecessary.
If you feel it should be added to the list of accepted translations then report it however I feel you should get used to not translating des as some.

Bon courage !


Surely "hunting for fish" should be an acceptable answer?


100% agree. Unless an animal is caged, or sitting behind a window -- if they're looking for prey, they're hunting.


You used the plural "fishes" here, instead of the singular "fish".

All my life I thought "des" is the plural of "un(e)"


But it still is!

The issue is with « fish », which is very imprecise: singular or plural, countable or uncountable.

This is why you can translate « fish » to « du poisson » or « des poissons ».


Why is it fish? It says 'des poissons.'

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.