That wouldn't mean: "The shop is going to sell the hats to them." It would mean: "The shop is going to sell the hats of them." Or, more correctly: "The shop is going to sell their hats.", though you wouldn't say "les chapeaux d'eux" if you meant that, you would say "leurs chapeaux."
There is no difference in the sound of "chapeau" and "chapeaux". The only difference is between the articles, "le" and "les", as Sitesurf explained. You do learn to listen for these differences, which seem minute at first to an ear not accustomed to them. If you speak the two words, "le" and "les", you should notice a distinct difference in the position of your lips: somewhat pursed, as if to make an "oo" sound for "le", and more open and wider for "les".
We have homophones in English, too (there, they're, their; your, you're) and we distinguish between them in speech through the context. That's what we're doing here. Hope that helps.
Our RoboGirl doesn't always have the best, or most clearly audible, pronunciation. If you go to Google Translate and put the French word you wish to hear in one of the boxes, you can then hit the Listen icon (lower right corner) and it will speak the word clearly. If you listen to both "le" and "les" a few times, your ear should begin to discern the difference.
"des" is not partitive (which is only for singular), but the plural form of "un" or "une".
In English "a/an" does not have a plural form, the article is just dropped:
- un chapeau, des chapeaux = a/one hat, hats.
But le/the, as definite articles, point to something specific (definite)
- le chapeau, les chapeaux = the hat, the hats.
If you are given an English sentence where the noun comes with "the", you can be 99.9% sure that the French translation will have "le, la, les"
OK. But when the french sentence has a "les", can't that mean either "the specific ones clear via context" (which we can't possibly know for these exercises) or "all such things"? For instance, the sentence "Les femmes mangent" could mean "Women eat" or "The women eat" depending on context, no?
In this case, I would think that the store would sell hats (in general), rather than "the" hats (unless context indicates which hats are being sold, such as at a consignment shop). Am I totally off base here?
Not off base, but you probably forgot to take into account which language was to be translated to which:
the hats = les chapeaux
les chapeaux = the hats or hats - depending on meaning and construction
des chapeaux = (some) hats - plural of un chapeau = a/one hat
the women = les femmes
les femmes = the women or women - depending on meaning and construction
des femmes = (some) women - plural of une femme = a/one woman
@GoGoCommerce - "La boutique va vendre des chapeaux."
People are often confused about when "le/la/les" introduces a generality and when not. It actually took me some time to realize that it depends on the verb in the sentence.
Je vends les chapeaux. = I sell the hats.
Je vends des chapeaux. = I sell hats.
J'aime les chapeaux. = I like the hats (the ones we've been discussing) OR I like hats (in general).
Verbs like aimer, adorer, haïr, and préférer are called "verbs of appreciation" and they are the ones that have this effect on "le/la/les".
I honestly don't mean to condescend, because you're obviously MUCH, MUCH more experienced at DL than I, so I'm probably missing something important here, but: You know that the same comment section appears whether you're asked to translate F->E or E->F, right?
I and the original poster got the French and were told to translate to English. In that case I saw "les chapeaux" and didn't understand why it translated to the English "the hats." Idiomatically, I would assume that it meant that the store sold hats in general, not some specific hats. I could be and probably am totally wrong! I don't know French! What I was hoping for was an explanation of why in this context "the hats" was considered right and "hats" was considered wrong.
No problem, I can explain that.
a man sells a hat = un homme vend un chapeau: an undefined man, an undefined hat = indefinite article un/a or one.
the man sells the hat = l'homme vend le chapeau: a specific man, a specific hat = definite articles.
a man sells hats = un homme vend des chapeaux: an undefined man, more than one hat = indefinite article for the man and "des" as the plural of "un" for hats (there is no plural for a/an/one in English).
the man sells the hat(s) = l'homme vend les chapeaux = specific man, specific hat(s)
men sell hats = des hommes vendent des chapeaux = several men, several hats
What English speakers generally define as 'in general' is less precise than what the French call 'generalities' (constructed with le/la/les, always) :
in general, men are stronger than women (universal truth) = en général, les hommes sont plus forts que les femmes.
j'aime le fromage, je déteste les légumes, je préfère le chocolat (appreciation verbs naturally introduce generalities) = I like cheese, I hate vegetables, I prefer chocolate.
But what both Sitesurf and Duo seem to overlook is that a hat shop sells hats: conceptual, hypothetical, imaginary hats (les chapeaux). But of course, if it expects to make a profit, it needs to also sell real hats (des chapeaux). But it is true to say, even before it opens its doors for business and sells its first hat, that the hat shop sells hats.
If a hat shop is going to sell hats, then it can only be selling hats (les chapeaux), because it has not yet sold any hats (des chapeaux)!
My French is probably flawed but: "La boutique va vendre les chapeaux, parce qu'elle n'a pas encore vendu de chapeaux."
But the point is that the boutique is going to sell hats, NOT the hats.
Hey, Shazz! I have run across audio that definitely sounds different on regular and slow speed. To me (native English speaker) this regular speed audio is clearly "va". Duo is not perfect but it will force you to listen very closely. Believe it or not, there are many times when a close listen will even allow you to distinguish clearly between those pesky "il" vs "ils" conjugations. Hang in there!
I cannot go forward with this question, because the answer given is 'store' not 'boutique'. The word 'store' does not appear in the options to click. In any case, 'boutique' is commonly used in UK English whereas 'store' would not be used in the context of this kind of shop.
In this sentence, "vendre les chapeaux" is not a generalization and "les chapeaux" are specific (mentioned before or in sight). So you need "the hats" in the translation.
You would find "les chapeaux" as "hats in general, all hats, the whole category" in such sentences as:
- J'aime les chapeaux = I like hats
- Les chapeaux sont sujets aux caprices de la mode = Hats are subject to the whims of fashion.