Maybe you had a poor instructor. I went through 4 years of university French and the instructor never corrected alot of mistakes students made because there were too many or they were not knowledgeable enough. I heard her pronounced LEES = LISENT, the -ent is pretty much silent, it just makes the last letter before it pronounced. if she was pronouncing Lis it would sound like LEE in English.
El sonido es diferente en el verbo en singular para los hispanoparlantes el verbo lire suena "li" mientras que para la tercera persona del plural suena "lis", tambien es diferente el sonido entre "le" y "les"; en el primero la "e" tiene un sonido mas cerrado, similar (casi como "lo") mientras que "les" el sonido es abierto y suena "le";
This sentence talks about "they"-some people.
Sure,a single woman can read many books,but the sentence talks about a group of women reading books.
Because it was plural. Also it would be elle lit des livres if it was singular, and the t in lit would be silent. The only way it could be lise, was if it was the subjonctive mood, which expresses a wish, hope, desire, or fear. As for why it is not subjunctive. Well usually the subjunctive uses the word que, and it usually is in a comparison form of several people. But how do you express those concepts without an additional word? You cannot. So she would wish to read, would need the word souhait in there or something.
Thanks for the explanation, but I am am wondering what is the relation between des and du. Is there a countable vs uncountable issue? For example: "elle lis des livres" ("she reads some books", with books countable) vs "elle mange du pain" ("she eats SOME bread" with bread uncountable)
It's because of "Parler de" = "To talk about"
Tu parles = You are talking OR You talk
Tu parles de = You talk about
Tu parles de les = You talk about the. However, de+les=des
- Therefore, "Tu parles des" = You talk about the"
- Therefore, "Tu parles des livres" = You talk about the books.
In the sentence "Elles lisent des livres", "des" is the plural of "un". We don't have a plural "a/an" in English, so the article "des" is translated by "some" or by omitting the article. So "Elles lisent des livres can mean:
- They read books
- They are reading books
- They read some books
- They are reading some books
I'm not sure that clarifies it for me. "Parler de" = "to talk about". It would seem this implies that "Lire de" = "to read about", but clearly it doesn't. So how would one say "she read about the books" (as in, for instance, reading book reviews)?
The whole aspect of "des" sometimes being filler, sometimes being "some", and sometimes being "of the" or "about the" is terribly confusing.
"She read about the books" = Elle a lu au sujet des livres".
You have to learn which prepositions to use with each verb. "Lire de" does not mean "read about". Only some verbs use "de" to mean "about".
Many French verbs require a certain preposition in order for their meaning to be complete. Here is an alphabetical list of French verbs and the prepositions they need (if any).
A few other verbs that use "de" to mean "about"
- parler de - to talk about
- se plaindre de - to complain about
You should also read this: http://www.staff.city.ac.uk/~ra735/grammar/french/littlewords/printprepositions.html and watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwL588a5-8s
Correct. Have in mind though that English and French don't necessarily have the same idea about what is (un)countable:
http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/de-vs-du-de-la-des_2.htm – 2nd point, linking to:
- Occasionally uncountable nouns can be also countable, meaning different types, so both options are valid in proper context, e.g. des bières, des fromages etc.