"Il parle des couleurs."

Translation:He is talking about the colors.

March 24, 2013

60 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/BrianneR

In English we would say "colors" in general, not "the colors"

May 6, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/huderon

Unless we were talking about a specific set of colours e.g. "The man loved the fabrics. He talks about the colours."

July 31, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/kelseydoyle

True, but that doesn't make the other interpretation incorrect. He could be talking about colors in a general sense.

November 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

The French is different :

  • il parle des (=de+les=about the) couleurs = he talks about the colors (specific colors)

  • il parle de couleurs = he talks about colors (general sense)

November 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/nbrock76

How do you know when it's "some" colors as opposed to "the" colors? I'm so confused. . .

March 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/grhmstl

Do you mean the difference in sound? If so 'des' and 'de' sound similar to the English words 'day' and 'duh' respectively.

November 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Cynthia160

Sitesurf, you are a gem. Thanks for this explanation.

June 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/vshanka

I have read a post in a previous lesson that in referring to something in general in French, definite articles are used. For instance, I like flowers becomes J'aime les fleurs. Isnt it?

By the same logic, shouldn't we have de la couleurs for the general sense as well?

December 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Unfortunately, the logic is not the same.

"parler de" is an intransitive verb (need for a preposition), like "talk about".

"j'aime les fleurs" is a statement about your appreciations of flowers in general, hence the definite article in French.

"j'aime les couleurs" would be identical in construction.

but since "parler" requiring preposition "de" you have to use parler de + definite article:

-je parle de la couleur (fem sing)

-je parle du drapeau (masc sing) - de+le, contracted in "du"

-je parle des couleurs (fem plur) - de+les, contracted in "des"

December 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Jelic20

How can we distinguish de from des when spoken?

December 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/vaiciulyteg

The pronunciation is a bit different: de /d/ and des /de/. If it's des+vowel you can even hear the /s/

January 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/eneagrama

It's a question of nuances ,because the intonation is the same when there isn't liaison between the article +Noun; in the pronuntiation of" de" or "le" you must close your mouth meanwhile in "des"or "les" you have to open your mouth ( Nous parlons des garçons) When then Noun begin with a vowel there's liaison and you hear the sound of "s"(Nous parlons des enfants)

March 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

Big thanks again sitesurf... what a difference a letter makes! So easy to miss.

November 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/N1ckHD

Thanks man. You're brilliant

March 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/digitalroot

Merci beaucoup!

November 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/christinaWysocki

Good to know

May 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/pudgiebudgie

How do you know when "des" means the plural of "un(e)" and when it means "de+les"?

May 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

You may try to put the sentence in singular:

  • je mange des pommes -> une mange une pomme = I eat an/one apple / direct and indefinite object
  • je parle des pommes -> je parle de la pomme = I talk about the apple / indirect and specific object
July 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/LINHARS

Merci beaucoup, maintenant je comprends.

May 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/pudgiebudgie

And why can't it mean "he talks about colours", where "des" is referring to colours in general?

May 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

It can be "he talks about colours" as the plural of "he talks about a colour" (or "one colour"), to mean "an undefined number of colours".

And that would also mean "colours" in general.

May 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/DanHil

According to Google translate "He talks about colors" (no article) is translated to "Il parle de couleurs" (de instead of des)

Is that correct?

Source: "http://translate.google.de/#en/fr/He%20talks%20about%20colors"

September 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/mjes201

I thought that "des" mean there is no article. why did it say i'm incorrect when I said "he is talking about colors"?

September 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

talk about something = parler de quelque chose

in French "quelque chose" has to get its usual article, in this instance "les couleurs".

but when "de" is followed by "les", there is a contraction: de+les = des

so "des couleurs" is not the plural of "une couleur", but the plural of "de la couleur" -> des couleurs.

therefore, in English you need to translate to "about the colors"

September 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/mjes201

Merci!

September 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/LINHARS

Thank you again, This has been really difficult to understand, and very confusing, but your explanations have been a great help.

May 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jmm97138

So confusing: "des couleurs" must be "the colors" but "des baguettes" is just "baguettes."

September 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/SongbirdSandra

Salut! I've read the whole thread and now understand, thanks to the posts of sitesurf and DanHil. Merci beacoup mes amis! One more question, s'il vous plaît? Whether or not an article is used, also depends upon the verb being used? For example:

Il mange des baguettes = He is eating baguettes (or 'some' baguettes). Il parle des couleurs = He is talking about the colors.

Using the verb 'parle des' (or parler de), the article is used. Using the verb 'mange', the article is not used.

So, it depends on the verb, as well as the other things you've already mentioned?

December 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Indeed, the verb makes a lot of difference, whether it is transitive (direct object) or not (with a preposition).

Manger, prendre, couper, boire... are directly transitive:

  • il mange une baguette, elle achète des baguettes (des = plural of un/une)

but with uncountable "mass words", French add a preposition to mean "some":

  • nous coupons du pain (uncountable), vous buvez de l'eau (uncountable) et de la bière (uncountable)

Parler de, penser à... are used with prepositions, which need to adapt the construction of the object.

  • je parle d'une baguette (about one), il parle de baguettes (about more than one),nous parlons de la baguette (about the), vous parlez des baguettes (about the = de+ les = des))

In addition, appreciation verbs (aimer, détester, haïr, préférer, apprécier) naturally introduce definite articles

  • j'aime les légumes, mais je préfère les fruits, il déteste l'injustice, elle préfère la biologie...
December 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/SongbirdSandra

Merci!  I am Grateful for your reply.
So, Duolingo made a mistake, when they marked "He talks about girls" a correct translation of "Il parles des filles"?
I need to know if it's a mistake, before I report it as a lesson error, s'il vous plaît.

December 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

If Duo says so, it is an error.

Look at this to differentiate indefinite articles from definite articles:

Indefinite:

  • il parle d'une fille (singular) -> il parle de filles (plural)

  • he talks about a girl (singular) -> he talks about girls (plural: a/an has no plural form)

Definite:

  • il parle de la fille (singular) -> il parle des (= de + les) filles (plural)

  • he talks about the girl (singular) -> he talks about the girls (plural)

December 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/SongbirdSandra

Merci! Thank you so much! Your teaching has helped me (and will help others) very much.
The next time I come across that Duolingo sentence, I will let them know about the error.
Joyeux Noël!

December 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

Thanks for your wishes, in return, I wish you a happy holiday season!

December 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/HWazir

Thank you for this reply. I am more clear now. Duo lingo certainely has an error in "il parle des filles". Merci beaucoup pour votre aide et joyeux noel !!

December 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/SongbirdSandra

Have a lingot! You're very helpful. :-)

December 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/HWazir

Thank you for posting the same question as me :-) "Il parle des filles" confused me a lot as well. joyeux noel my friend !!

December 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/maritby

Why THE colours ?

April 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/drapclark

Why not some colors?

May 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Mathematician89

Couldn't it be "he talks about some colors."?

December 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jacob2714

Just out of curiosity, if this were a description of seeing someone talk and seeing colors coming out of their mouth, would this be a correct way to describe it?

September 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

No it wouldn't, Jacob and a good morning to you, (well, it is 0720 in the morning here in England, anyroad.) This just says that he is speaking of colours, not that colours are being emitted from his mouth. (Des Coleurs Sortent De Sa Bouche.)

September 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Dugan4

Why not: "He talks about colours"?

October 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/harmlesslymad

Why is he speaks of colours not acceptable?

November 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/asilverm

why is it 'the colors' if colors is preceded by the indefinite article?

April 30, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

"des" is not the indefinite article (plural of "une couleur": in singular: "il parle d'une couleur".

it is preposition "de" + definite article "les", contracted.

verb "parler de" uses preposition "de", while "talk about" uses preposition "about"

April 30, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/serpientetaca

which is the difference between 'ils parlent' and 'il parle' at pronunciation?

July 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

There is none.

July 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Coolcatpat

If one were to say "He talks about colours" would it still be "Il parle des couleurs"?

Or would the translation change?

January 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AtifLeo

Des is used for 'some' instead of 'the' .. may require reconsideration. Regards

March 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/SongbirdSandra

Des, the article, means some.
Des, the contraction means of the, from the, or some.
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/des#French

Note: In this sentence, the phrase of the is another way of saying about the.

March 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_Columbia

I thought 'les' was for 'the', not 'des'.

June 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Jackjon

"Les" is indeed "The" before a plural noun. "Des" as an article="Some" but "Des" is also a contraction of "De+Les" = "Of The" and as SongbirdSandra says above; in this task "Of The" is another way of saying "About The".

June 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Brit_Columbia

Thank you for clearing that up. It makes sense.

June 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/aimbeau1

All lessons say des means some smd now here it it the. Im confuses

June 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf

1) "des" is either an indefinite article, plural of "un/une"

2) or a contracted definite article where preposition "de" is merged with definite article "les": de+les = des

now, in terms of meaning and translation to and from English, there are several cases:

1) "un chien = a/one dog" is singular; "des chiens = (some) dogs" is plural.

  • In English, you don't need an article to mean "an undefined number of dogs or more than one dog".
  • But in French, "des" is required.

2) "les noms des chiens" = literally: "the names of the dogs", where you understand that the names belong to the dogs.

  • In English, you will not use "of the" but the possessive case: "the dogs' names"
  • But in French, there is no such construction, so you have to keep: "les noms (de+les=) des chiens"
June 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/pris589711

@sitesurf you looks like à super-héro..always helps up when we're stuck..

June 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/BibiRetief

I wrote: Il parle de couleur (he is talking about the colour) It was marked as incorrect. How do you differentiate between the pronunciation of the plural and the singular?

September 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/cahitch

When listening to de couleurs and des couleurs how would know that de couleurs is not de couleur? So how would i know by listening that it is 'of the colours' not 'of the colour' . Usually the plural is identified by des as opposed to de sound. Thanks

November 29, 2018
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