"Thinking" in French is not about having the vocabulary or grammar to literally make thoughts in French (although a basic understanding is important). After living in Korea and learning their language, I know exactly what helmi23 is saying -- it's about adopting the cultural mindset that shifts and expands your perspective of the world through language. It was easier to learn Korean because I thought like a Korean, and so far that's been true with French as well. Learn and grow your understanding of French by being of that linguistic/cultural mindset. I hope that makes sense.
I agree. As a beginner, my most satisfying right answers in Duolingo have not been when making the literal translations, but when there is no obvious literal translation and I have had a feel for what the language is conveying. When trying to understand more complex sentences, I feel it pays to be more imaginative than rational, and to get a feeling for the language, rather than treating it like a puzzle.
I think the point that saunan was trying to make is that the English sentences and choices of words do not always make sense, in fact the more you 'think' in French, the worse DL's choice of English becomes. When translating a language, it is the sense that needs be be conveyed . for example 'entretien' in French represents more an exchange of views or discussion in the English sense, than an interview which is something formal and structured and gives a native English speaker, the wrong idea of what the true French meaning is.
Not when you're translating into English. You can give a literal translation which makes little sense in English, either grammatically, or is just nonsensical; or you can translate into natural English, ie the equivalent phrase for an English speaker. Surely the latter is the sign of understanding a language rather than just knowing it.
Yes, and that is the single biggest failing of this course. It's almost entirely based in translation to and from English. I've nearly completed the entire course, so I have found it useful. But I'm also doing other things, like taking classes where the teacher is a native speaker. I really find it annoying to have to craft a Duo-approved translation for a French sentence I understood in French.
The dialogues are a step in the right direction, but I'd like to see far less English. E.g., as a trivial matter, the lesson headers should be in French in the higher numbered lessons.
Absolutely! But the translation into English needs to make sense in English. Teaching verbatim translation is ridiculous - and most of the time, is unacceptable when it doesn't sound correct in English.
That's true. But, in my experience, it's only very occasionally that I really can't figure out what the sentence means (for example, there's one with "les uns et les autres" that, in my opinion, should be removed from Duolingo altogether).
Sometimes the purpose of the awkward English translation is to convey the exact sense of the French (which otherwise wouldn't have an equivalent in English). It's very short-sighted to suggest that the team behind Duolingo simply doesn't know English; were you and I to come up with a translation, we would have precisely the same problems.
Of course the instances where the translation is unintelligeable need to be fixed. But that's what the community is here for anyway!
Thanks! That's actually a good translation. It's not the one that appears on Duo though; that's something like "these and others", "those and others", "some and others", etc. Users just waste a lot of effort (and hearts) trying to memorise which random pronoun they're supposed to use in the translation, none of which sounds like anything in English at all. That, for me, is a prime example of Duo backfiring. Like I said though, I see that as an exception. In the vast majority of cases, I don't mind awkward English sentences - as long as they help me learn French!
As this community is made up of a great number of non-native English speakers who rely on good communication skills to develop both languages well, I believe no place for lousy unnatural translations should be allowed. That would simply invalidate the beauty and purpose of this interaction process as a whole. I have seen lots of people (including myself) who benefit from these discussions to better their English in ways never thought of before. A natural current equivalence should indeed be considered when conveying the subtleties between the two languages. In my opinion!
I had never thought from that point of view - that these discussions are actually helpful for part of the community. In fact I think Duo tends to accept a range of approaches to translation - from the literal "word-by-word" (which helps English speakers see the structure behind the French, despite making for awkward English) to the more distant in syntax, but closer in meaning (expressions, etc.) There's a Duo for everyone. :)
They aren't doing any favors if the person wants to work on translation skills. It also helps to relate sentences that we actually use to sentences that they actually use. I think learning differences is an important part of language learning, so if they're putting in extra effort to make English sentences similar while taking away the naturalness, then that's not necessarily a great thing, in my opinion.
Absolutely right, feclips. These discussions have been taken over by a handful of people who are interested in writing high-handed English rather than learning basic French. They are playing a different game, and I suspect that's why 99% of users bypass these discussion pages altogether.
2018/05/09 Duo now defaults to a word list rather than making us type a translation (and subjecting ourselves to typos). It's great for us lazy typists. But the point is, the list had "a", but did not have "one", which I, too, would normally use. I'm glad to see it's an acceptable answer.
This makes no sense in English. As a person who is already fluent in two languages, i understand interpretation, transliteration, and finding an equivalency between languages and that some things cannot be translated. Some phrases can only be 'explained' in the target language. Some things need only a word or two and some words take a paragraph to obtain equivalency. And i repeat, this makes no sense in English.
No, "treatise" is related to the verb « traiter » (to treat), with "entreaty" coming from « en + traiter », whereas « entretien » is a deverbal noun from « entre + tenir » (with the prefix "entre-" meaning "under", not "between" like the word entre). Thus, it's literally an "underholding", in the same way that an enterprise is literally an "undertaking".
Translated as "Her book is a long discussion" and it was accepted. I am unsure, what the sentence means. That the book is complex and provides material for a long discussion?
Edit. I've read the comments and it was explained that the whole book is the transcript of a conversation.
I have read the thread twice and I still do not understand. Can you give me one or two examples of books that are transcripts of discussions or discussions? Does it mean like an atypical play, maybe a very modern play, where there is almost no narrative and no change of scene?
It can be fiction or the transcript of a conversation between a journalist and a famous person.
this is incredibly helpful! Thank you. It made no sense to me either until I read one of the links you gave. However I was not given "discussion" as an option, only "interview". I can see how it kinda connects but 'discussion" would be much more natural for me. Thanks for the examples.
In English, a 'discussion' not only means 'people talking to each other'. It can also mean 'a written examination and comparison of various points of view.' There is no requirement for a book that 'discusses' to take the form of an actual dialogue or conversation. A book described as a 'long discussion' is therefore a perfectly natural English expression.
I wonder how Duo "grades" dictation?
Besides the fact that I often get "credit" for completing a sentence before I've actually said all the words, I was given "correct" when I said entreprise instead of * entretien*. (It was late, my eyes are tire, and I'm working from a lap-top with it's reduced view. I know about zooming in with Ctrl-"+" and out with Ctrl-"-".