"La femme est légère."

Translation:The woman is light.

March 25, 2013

43 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/JennyODonnell

I don't believe the word légére is translating to light in this case. In English we wouldn't say light - maybe light-hearted, as in carefree, or in another direction - light-skinned, or if we are talking about weight thin, skinny...and the other translation given was "loose." In English light does not equal loose, and "loose" is definitely an improper description of a woman in polite conversation.

March 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/FrancisBuahin

That's why I chose 'nimble' (which is another translation) but Duo just killed a heart.

June 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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"Nimble" has been added. Context: a dancer, for example.

January 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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"Light" is one choice here, but "loose" (ref: morals) is definitely a legitimate translation, according to Larousse. Context is so important. Like "light" in English, "légère" can mean many things:

[Edit] léger (adj): light (gait), light (mist), light (vehicle), light (wind), slight (wave), light/thin/flimsy (dress), faint (odor), (s)light (pain), slight/minor/unimportant (error), un repas léger (snack, light meal); in regard to a person (irresponsible, thoughtless, unthinking); in regard to morals (loose, risqué), light-hearted; in regard to music (light), e.g., light opera. http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/l%C3%A9ger/46491

The Oxford French Dictionary includes "nimble" along with other terms.

It could easily refer to a person of loose morals, a person of easy virtue, etc. http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/francais-anglais/femme%20l%C3%A9g%C3%A8re

November 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/redbrickhouse
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As a native of the US, upon hearing this sentence, "The woman is light," I would automatically think of her weight as being low. In common English, there is no other interpretation.

February 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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That's right...IF you translate it as "light". We will never know what was actually in the mind of the person who said "la femme est légère". The sentence could be interpreted in very different ways and as such is quite ambiguous as to what was intended. Communication, after all, is only achieved when the message received is the same one that was sent.

February 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Frank-O-Phile

Respectfully, n6zs, there is no "IF" in this case to conjecture about. Someone at Duolingo had "The woman is light." in mind, because that is the translation that person gave for "La femme est légère." at the top of this page. As for Communication, when a message is sent by one and received by another, something is always communicated. In fact the message received is never identical to that which is sent: this is called the arch of distortion. We can, however, attempt a more perfect exchange of information and ideas by attempting to understand what is in the minds of those with whom we are communicating. I believe that is what we are attempting to achieve here. Non ?

February 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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If we assume that "it must be 'light' because that is the posted answer, then no. But you are correct that we must understand what the speaker actually meant in order to translate correctly (meaning that our interpretation is the one that the speaker intended). Otherwise, it may be this or it may be that. However, we are not free to say that it unequivocally means this or that when (as in this case) we don't actually know. You may have heard me say before, you have to know what is meant (in the original language) BEFORE you translate it. Did the French speaker mean that the woman is light in weight, or nimble, or did he mean that she is thoughtless? Because one could just as easily translate it correctly as "the woman is thoughtless". In this exercise as in many others, we often don't know which way to tilt the translation when these very different outcomes are possible. You need the context of a conversation to determine that. Indeed, a message is received, but is it the message that was sent? That is why "the woman is thoughtless" is also accepted as a legitimate translation, along with a few other similar interpretations.

February 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/T_P
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I've heard the phrase 'léger comme une plume' so assumed the sentence was referring to her weight as well.

August 22, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Marcotonio

"Léger comme une plume" might also mean moving freely, graciously, so it could fit the "nimble" translations some gave here.

September 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/russbellon

could it be translated as frivolous in this context?

May 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ferynn
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Yeah I do agree. There are two possibilities here : one about weight, the other one about...well, you said it perfectly. Let's pretend, for the sake of good-manners :) that she's really skinny

March 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/redbrickhouse
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"Light" as an adjective has NOTHING whatsoever to do with a person's morals.

February 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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Of course not. But the word "légère" can be interpreted in these two very different ways. So we're not talking about what "light" means, but how "légère" is being used.

February 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Shruti_x

thin/skinny could arguably be adjectives for a 'light weighted' appearance whereas in the specific context of weight e.g. at a weigh-in the doctor's 'legerel could work

July 12, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Nicola526448
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It used to and not too long ago. A light woman was a woman with few sexual morals - possibly a prostitute but perhaps just an inconstant lover.

June 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Jazzpur

I'm having difficulty remembering the accents, or knowing which is which, especially the 'e's. Are there any tips to help?

August 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/DanielOlso1

try thinking of the pronunciation. "é" makes a 'long a' sound (like in day).

May 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Salutalice

how do you remember which accents to use and when to use them?

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Wunel

Each accent indicates a different sound, for example é sounds like ay whereas è sounds more like eh. There are 2 steps: learn which accents indicate what sounds, then learn to recognise the sounds in speech.

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/hiking
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I tried lady instead of woman. Is that not the same as woman in French?

July 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Wunel

A woman is une femme and a lady is une dame

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Maltagerr

Yes but in English, woman and lady are the same thing unless you're specifically talking about the wife of a lord (very rare)

October 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Saturnz_barzzz

Does anyone know is they were reffering to light as in light sking tone or as in not heavy?

August 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/YahyaZuhair

léger/légère = light as opposed to heavy
clair/claire = light in colour

August 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Maltagerr

Thank youu

October 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/bkdixxon

The wife? Femme = woman and WIFE?

November 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Melina.Arins
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Here, the use of a possessive would make a clear distinction. If there is no possessive form before "femme", it tends to be interpreted as "woman" and not "wife".

So...
une femme = a woman
la femme = the woman
les femmes = the women
des femmes = some women

And...
ma femme = my wife
ta femme / votre femme = your wife
sa femme = his/her wife
nos femmes = our wives
vos femmes = your wives
leurs femmes = their wives

It is similar with "ami" (masculine) or "amie" (feminine):
mon ami = my boyfriend
mon amie = my girlfriend
un ami à moi = a (male) friend of mine
une amie à moi = a (female) friend of mine

May 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Frank-O-Phile

Thank you for this thorough explanation, Melina. One follow up question regarding "Mon ami." I occasionally hear one good friend great another with "Mon ami!" They will also use it sarcastically with someone who isn't really their friend. I'm wondering if they are using it correctly?

Ok. One more question: why wouldn't "my girlfriend" = "ma amie" ?

March 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/PatrickJaye

@Frank-O-Phile

Maybe @MelinaArins hasn't seen your question so:-

Whenever we have a feminine noun that begins with a vowel or a mute "H", in order to prevent a clash of vowels, "ma" becomes "mon".

The same is true of "ta" and "sa".

Therefore "ma amie" does not exist.

March 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Melina.Arins
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Oh, I didn't have the time for answering before, came here for that now. Thank you for doing so, @PatrickJaye. =)

And you're welcome, @Frank-O-Phile. By the way, you're right, French people also use "mon ami"/"mon amie" sarcastically.
As for your other question, @PatrickJaye already explained it very well.

March 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Frank-O-Phile

Merci beaucoup, Patrick et Melina, pour votre assistance!

March 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/timipshultz

I see this post is old...but I just got hit with it too. Looks like Melina has a good explanation.

February 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/sanja.vuk

how to know when to use légére and when to use facile?

March 30, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/rattgurl90
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Facile means easy or simple to accomplish, whereas légére means light, as in weight.

July 12, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Melina.Arins
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Attention to the different accents:
légère ;)

May 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SuzanneNussbaum

So, it can't possibly mean "The woman is fickle" ?

August 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/n6zs
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There are certainly aspects to "légère" that could support that (thoughtless, irresponsible, even "loose"), but perhaps "inconstante" says it better. http://www.larousse.fr/dictionnaires/francais-anglais/inconstant/550682 [Edit: the Oxford French Dictionary lists "fickle" as one of a great many uses for légère].

February 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/selenadarcy

This most definitely is a flaw in the program. A woman described as light is awkward. Slight or slim to describe body type should be accepted.

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MorganNaidoo

Is " The woman is slight" incorrect?

March 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/LJSulli
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Is there a way to describe someone as 'not being heavy' without the potential awkwardness of accidentally calling them 'thoughtless' or 'loose'?

July 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/PaulBevan4

I agree with the comment that "nimble" is the most accurate, but i want to know why in this context, the sentence accepts "The woman" and NOT "the wife"?

April 3, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/captain734000

The first thing that comes to mind - "légère"= chilled, relaxed/relaxing. Could an alternative translation be such? Merci!

May 21, 2017
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