"Ce chameau est méchant."

Translation:That camel is mean.

April 7, 2018

This discussion is locked.


It could be naughty but that was marked wrong


"Naughty" is a good dictionary definition and is appropriate when talking about children, perhaps. But not when talking about a camel. We learn as we go that there is more to the language than inserting a certain word every time. Context greatly influences our choice.


In English, we also talk of pets being naughty. Dogs, cats, ponies, and horses can be called naughty. Camels are mean but I suppose a mischievous one could be described as naughty by a zookeeper or a camel jockey.


I agree. And I was taught that 'mechant' was naughty.


Is that restricted to UK English or does it apply to US English too? I don't remember seeing "naughty" used with animals in US movies; in them, it's mostly used for misbehaving children or in sexual contexts


Please - we are not all from the US. 'Mean does not mean the same thing in other places


Nasty should be allowed surely?


Yes, I agree. Nasty is appropriate here. Also, nasty is allowed as an equivalent for mean in other DL exercises.


I agree. Only in the US is 'mean' used in that sense.


In the US, "nasty" does not necessarily imply an ill will. The general definitions of "nasty" per the merriam-webster dictionary: 1. disgustingly filthy, physically repugnant, 2. Indecent, Obscene., etc.

"Nasty" can be used to describe someone who is rude or malicious, but it's not the default definition. Especially in reference to an animal, in the US, "nasty" is usually physical in nature, referring to a physical quality of the animal or a quality of what the animal does, it does not necessarily mean the animal is vicious in nature.

So, in American English a "nasty camel" is more likely to be dirty or smell bad, which does not line up with the French definition of "méchant".

For the record, I think that "nasty" and "mean" should both be accepted in this translation. But, I'm just wondering, in the UK, when referring to an animal, does "nasty" usually mean "malicious/vicious/aggressive"?


This camel is nasty - rejected. Méchant means nasty. If you want to say "That camel is mean", it would be "Ce chameau (la) est pingre." In English, "mean" means stingy, miserly or mingy. I think in US English, "mean" means "really cool" as in "mean machine". So maybe you should change to a less ambiguous term. Is the camel supposed to be a "mean machine" or is it just careful with its money?


In US English the most common meaning for "mean" is not "really cool". It's almost the opposite.

If you're being mean to someone then you're intentionally being cruel to them for no goid reason.


No good reason


I have never heard "to mean" with the meaning of "really cool" in US English, but Cambridge dict indeed mentions it as slang for "really good" ( https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/mean ). Example: She plays a mean bass fiddle.


Yes, but it's not used for people like that.


How about vicious? It was accepted back when we were doing 100 sentences about un chien méchant. And "vicious" is a word used all over the Anglo world, unlike the regional variants being used now.

ETA: I just used vicious and duo let it slide.


I agree. I think vicious would be an okay fit. It's a bit more intense than mean, but it's better than most of the proposed words.


Et il fume aussi.


seulement quand il est ivre


Méchant means naughty. Not mean. That's how I learned it over 30 years ago and just checked it out with my daughter who recently got an A in her French A level


My personal experience with well cared for camels is that they do not deserve their "mechant" reputation. They can be rather charming!!


I originally thought that 'méchant' was 'naughty' and could be applied to children. However I get the impression from its use in Duo Lingo that there is a rather more unpleasant side to the meaning of it. Is that correct? However I have found so many other English translations of it, eg mean, bad, vicious , spiteful, wicked, mischievous, that I think they should all be accepted (unless obviously it doesn't fit the context) and different ones should not be a reason for marking the translation wrong since the rest of the sentence is more important in learning the language.


A young child could be called "méchant" in the same sense as "naughty" in English, but it's similar to calling them "a bad boy". As the opposite of "good", "bad" can mean "evil" in English, so it is used in phrases like "bad actors" , "bad intent", "bad men", etc. And that is the way that "méchant" can be used in French. It can be applied to a child or a pet in a softened "naughty" sort of way, but its general definition is "Qui fait intentionnellement du mal à autrui, qui cherche à nuire"-->"Deliberately doing harm to others, or trying to do it" (Dictionnaire Larousse).

When applied to animals, depending on the context and the tone of the speaker, "méchant" could mean "naughty", but it usually means "aggressive/mean". Many "Beware of Dog" signs in France read: "Attention, chien méchant".

So, there are situations where the camel in this sentence is just "naughty", but without any context, the more likely translation is "mean(US)/aggressive".


Thanks for those details! A small remark: "bad actors" would usually be interpreted as "actors who have little/less than expected acting skills", not "evil actors".

In English, "naughty" can have a lightly pornographic/erotic meaning (eg naughty girl). As "méchant" doesn't have this meaning, is there a French word for that? Perhaps "coquin" or "fripon"?


I was thinking of the legalese term "bad actor" or "malefactor" in Latin, but point taken.

And I think the closest term for "naughty" in the NSFW way would probably be "vilaine".


"this camel is vicious" not accepted. Weird.


"Nasty" is now accepted, as of Dec 17, 2019


Why can't I say "this camel is naughty"?


Because I'd never think of a camel as being that. They're not children.


Why is Ce translated as That and not This?


Ce/cet/cette can be translated as either "this" or "that" depending on context.

While there are specific, direct translations of "this" (ceci) and "that" (Cela), those pronouns are mainly used for comparison, when comparing two or more objects. In a stand alone sentence like this exercise, when we aren't comparing more than one camel, "ce" is typically used and can mean "this" or "that" in English.


I understand that a lot of camels are ill-tempered.

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