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  5. "Ils sont ce que vous mangez.…


"Ils sont ce que vous mangez." Really?

"They are what you eat"? That just seems way to obtuse to be at all useful in a lesson.

July 12, 2012



It is probably just an extension of the famous "you are what you eat" (le paradigme d'incorporation !), to help you practice the conjugation of the verb "être".


Yeah, I figured that, as one of the next questions was "you are what you eat." But it still makes no sense, and was frustrating (to me, and I'll assume to others as well).


It didn't make any sense to me but you've just helped me to understand "he looks love a crêpe", which I think is a typo for "he looks like a crêpe." Connecting the two, you eat pancakes and it makes him look like one! Simple. I'm just beginning to get used to living in the parallel language universe, learning Duolingoese English and French at the same time. Pity I have to work next week.


It is strange because we don't typically have this type of grammar in English. There are many cases of this sort of sentence structure in French. It gets more difficult from here, but I find thinking about the phrase in really simple English helps you understand the idea more than trying to word-for-word translate everything. Remember that just because the direct translation seems awful in English, that it may in fact be correct French. There are MANY grammar points that Duolingo cannot cover due to its system structure.


I guess the point I'm making is that I think this was a machine-generated question, a variation on the human-generated "you are what you eat", but in this case the machine-generated version is nonsensical. And this was an aural translation question, so given the difficulty surrounding understanding machine-generated French, you have it intoning a machine-generated nonsense phrase.


It might've been a machine-generated question, but it actually isn't that awkward in French. And it's not "you are what you eat." It's more like: "These are what you are eating." This sentence is almost equivocal to passive voice in English.

Edit: It's also not a nonsense phrase, but rather a phrase that cannot be understood because of the constraints of only using Duolingo as a language learning tool. This grammar is covered at an intermediate, college French level. One would learn these types of patterns in their 2nd year or 2nd semester of French study. "Que" is a powerful French word that equivocates roughly to "that," but it is primarily a relational word, so figuring out the pattern between the words before "que" and after "que" are necessary to understanding the meaning of the sentence. Happy studying! Edit 2: Here's a scenario where you might encounter this phrase: You: "Are theses snail that I'm eating!?" ("C'est les escargots que je mange!?") Your waiter at a restaurant: "Yes, those are [snails] that you are eating." / "Oui, ils sont ce que vous mangez." J'espere que tu comprends facilement!


For those interested : this is a link to the incorporation paradigm of "you are what you eat" - that I mentioned earlier : http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/you%20are%20what%20you%20eat.html


jackeliot wrote:

"...but a very nice sentence to learn from if you have a heart and a soul."

ok, wait just a second, friend. No need to get insulting. I agree that "you are what you eat" is a perfectly fine phrase to use in a lesson plan. But "they are what you eat", clearly a machine translation of the original (clearly, because they appear in the same lesson), is not, for the reasons I cited in this thread.

This is a forum for the beta of a piece of software. If you don't like that someone is taking issue with something in the software, to the point that you have to insult them, I suggest you re-examine your priorities.

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