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"Je veux une soupe à la tomate."

Translation:I want a tomato soup.

April 7, 2013

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pbviolette

You don't say "a tomato soup." You would say either "tomato soup" or "some tomato soup." This translation is a literal translation, not a true English translation. This is incorrect English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pbviolette

Google "countable" and "uncountable" nouns. You don't use the indefinite articles with an uncountable noun such as soup, milk, cheese, etc. You do in some other languages, but not in English. You may hear this used, but usually not from a native speaker.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arjofocolovi

I'm well aware of this rule. But when I made some research on this matter (quite a long time ago, now), I found several resources talking about some uncountable nouns (including "soup" and "food") which are also used as countable nouns in some situations. As we don't have context for this sentence, I think both should be accepted.

I just made a new research. Those resources are either encyclopedic content, dictionary content, or native English speakers discussing the matter. All of these definitely classify "soup" as both uncountable AND countable :

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/soup

http://www.englishforums.com/English/CountableUncountable/grllw/post.htm

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/soup?q=soup

I found other resources, but unfortunately they didn't provide a complete list of these countable/uncountable nouns, and didn't mention "soup". Feel free to share your resources if you think it can bring more details on this specific matter.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pbviolette

http://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/nouns-uncountable-list-s.html This page lists "soup" as an uncountable noun. You could say, "There are two soups on the menu," but you wouldn't say to a waiter, "I would like a tomato soup." It would be, "I would like tomato soup," "a cup of tomato soup," or "a bowl of tomato soup." You could also say, "I want the soup." By the way, you would "do" research, not "make" research.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arjofocolovi

Well, your link doesn't seem to work for me :/. "EnglishClub : File Not Found".

Anyway, it doesn't work this way : I found official evidence that "soup" is considered a countable noun AND an uncountable noun. So showing a list of words with "soup" as an uncountable noun doesn't contradict my claims.

And you wrote it yourself, if you're talking about soups on a menu, you can use "soup" as a countable noun. So you acknowledge that there are situations where "soup" can be countable. As we don't know the context for this exercise, I think both countable and uncountable answers should be accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pbviolette

The problem was that duolingo did not give credit for the, " I want tomato soup," answer, the only reason I wrote a comment in the first place. In any case, it sounds a little"off" to say, " I want a tomato soup."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arjofocolovi

Well it's because French can use "soupe" both as a countable and an uncountable noun as well, so Duolingo probably matched "I want tomato soup." with "Je veux de la soupe à la tomate.".

You'll need to use "report a problem" if you want it to be fixed (well, notified at least), because the staff doesn't monitor the comments.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arjofocolovi

Apparently not everyone agrees with you on this matter. If you have links to share on this topic feel free to do so.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pbviolette

You would say a bowl of soup or a cup of soup, but not I would like a soup.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jolynnedougherty

Chiming in a little late here, but I think I have a situation where you might say "I'll take a tomato soup." If someone were to be helping you get your cans of soup. Perhaps they are too high up on the shelf, and you might say, "I'll take a tomato soup." or possibly "I'll take a tomato soup and a chicken noodle." Maybe in a situation like that, it being one of many cans.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lariwestside

Good example. Personally I might also order "a tomato soup" at a restaurant. I'm a native English speaker and didn't think the sentence sounded strange.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/atey8kez

That may be true, but a native English speaker would not think of that. But I guess that's why we have Duolingo to teach us.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rebekasto

I have reported this because, although in both languages there may be times when soup could, possibly, be a single item, in English, we simply do not say we want a tomato soup. Anyone who argues otherwise is undoubtedly correct in some wildly rare occasions, but the vast majority of instances it simply doesn't occur. Soup falls into the category of those nouns whose constituent matter is grammatically nondiscrete. I challenge you to show me a soup. You won't be able to. You will show me a can of soup, or a spoonful of soup, or a drop, or a bowl or what have you, but you can't show me a soup any more than you can show me a water. Because the vast majority of English sentences would not include the article, Duolingo should accept those sentences. There are times when these sentences are bizarre, in which case we just shrug and carry on, but this time it is simply wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arjofocolovi

I think it still should be accepted, as long as it's grammatically correct in some cases. In French as well, many sentences feel odd, because they're not used in common French, but they shouldn't be reported, because it's also correct French. In a environment made for learning like Duolingo, it's important to open our mind to the possibilities we didn't think about before, or forgot about, even in our own language. We always have to keep in mind literature, formal/informal, and all the different ways of using a language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rebekasto

I am not saying there is no possibility of ever coming across a meaning of this sort, but in a beginning language course, where the language being learned is not English, the program should not correct the students' English. If, indeed, this was an esoteric use of French, which is as uncommon in French as it is in English (read 'virtually nonexistent') , then it should not be given this early in the programme. I can't say for certain, but I am willing to guess that most people are just interested in learning French for conversational purposes. For those who choose to delve deeper into the beauty of the language and all its nuances, there are plenty of opportunities to do so outside of Duolingo. What I don't think Duolingo should do is correct our English, and this is the point that I believe most commenters have been trying to make. We simply do not naturally say 'a soup'. Therefore, it is a problematic sentence because we will all reply with a correct English sentence and be marked wrong when we are not wrong, which is simply frustrating. Even if there is a minute possibility of a second translation, the primary option should be accepted, since that is really what is being said in the first place. It isn't a question of open-mindedness in this case. I grew up in Belgium and learned three languages, two of them I speak fluently. I'm re-learning French but have been exposed to it much of my life and am as open-minded as the next person, so that's not the issue. The issue is that we are perfectly happy to learn French, but not so pleased when Duolingo marks us wrong for an English sentence that is correct, especially when the correct one is not correct. And that's about all I have to say about that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arjofocolovi

Indeed, the common alternative should be accepted, but it doesn't mean this one should be deleted from the database. That's my point.

As for Duolingo trying to correct your English, I completely disagree. Doesn't matter for what purpose you use Duolingo, it's a tool to learn a new language, and it would be completely irresponsible to not correct mistakes in a language, even if it's the one we're supposed to be fluent in. Being fluent doesn't mean we know everything or don't do mistakes, so of course we need to be corrected for this language as well. Maybe I misinterpreted what you were trying to say, but Duolingo MUST correct English as much as the language we're learning.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rebekasto

Yes, you misunderstand me. Just let it go.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arjofocolovi

Well I'd be glad to understand the point you're trying to make, but no one can force you I guess ^^.

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