"La fourmi est un insecte."

Translation:The ant is an insect.

April 29, 2013

92 Comments


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

The acid in the sting of an ant is the formic acid. I see some relationship here.

June 21, 2014

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

Because for the most of the other ones i have something to relate it to, like; singe-similar to the latin word for monkey which is simia, abeille- sounds like a bee, dauphin- obviously sounds like dolphin, poulet-poultry, cheval-idk it sounds like chivalry idk how that connects but it does idk knights? Lots of chivalry in those times with horse and swords, mouton-lamb meat, torture- sounds like turtle, serpent- is a snake so..., taureau- sounds like and comes from taurus, chien- sounds like canine, araignèe- sounds like arachnid

July 23, 2014

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

The Old-French-speaking Normans conquered the British Isles about a century-and-a-half ago. With their rule, they also brought their language. As a result, over half of English's vocabulary comes from French! Since French descended from Latin, a lot of scientific and medical terms derived from Latin resemble French words, for example, fourmi and formic acid.

February 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dunk999

That was almost a thousand years ago, not a century. :-) 950 years ago to be exact.

March 8, 2016

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

It is probably a misprint: century instead of millenium. The "Battle of Hastings" in 1066

August 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dunk999

I figured as much. Hence the smiley face. :-)

August 19, 2016

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

As to your 'cheval' question: the French word for knight is 'chevalier,' which literally means 'horseman.' Think of the knight in chess - a man seated on a horse.

April 9, 2017

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

in spanish: simia = simio, abeille =arbeja , dauphin = delfín, poulet = pollo, cheval = caballo, mouton = oveja, torture = tortuga, serpent = serpiente, taureau = toro, araignèe = araña, chien = perro, but "cánido" also exists; so only mouton seems very different here.

June 24, 2017

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

the scientific name of ant is Formica Formica (Latin) from which we have formic acid and la fourmi

January 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ACDGamer7

Oh, i thought of ant pheromones

June 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/r.blue

Why is it "la fourmi est un insect" and not "la fourmi est une insecte" shouldn't "la fourmi" be feminine? Im getting confused now...

May 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1753

There are two nouns here: la fourmi (feminine) and l'insecte (masculine). Adjectives typically change form to agree with the gender and number of the noun they modify but other nouns are not changed and there is no feminine version of the noun l'insecte.

September 19, 2014

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

Why isn't the "t" pronounced in "est," since it is followed by a vowel?

April 1, 2015

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

I think of liaisons like the one you reference not so much as being mandatory but just nice in how they make the language flow and help us understand better. It is kind of like how in the UK they do not pronounce the final R in say, father but if the next word after father starts with a vowel, they may pronounce it and link the two words so that father of becomes [FAHTHUROHV]. However, no one would fault you if you didn't link the words and said [FAHTHUH OHV].

So while it is a useful tool, especially for us who are learning new words and probably need all the help we can get picturing their spellings in our minds, not pronouncing the T in est when a word starting with vowel follows it is not exactly wrong, IMO...just perhaps uncommon.

April 1, 2015

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

I found an article on liaisons that explains that the liaisons like the T in "est" fall under "optional liaisons": http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-liaisons-o.htm

However, there are apparently required liaisons

http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-liaisons-r.htm

...as well as forbidden liaisons (et comes to mind)

http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-liaisons-f.htm

April 1, 2015

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

Tnxs useful links

May 23, 2017

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

I agree. I came to this discussion with the same question. I think the correct pronunciation should have been "et-un." I suspect that sometimes the translations they use are compounds of the individual words. They did say that when you select the 'slow play' version, the liaisons in the individual words disappear. I think they missed this one in developing the complete sentence.

April 9, 2017

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

OK, upon reflection, here's why "et un" isn't pronounced "ay-tun." It's because if you say "ay-tun" you confuse it with "est-un." So if you took the word 'et' and liasoned the 't' onto the 'un,' it would be confusing. So it would then confuse "an ant is an insect" with "an ant and an insect."

So you need to be able to differentiate between "The ant is an insect," and "the ant and an insect." The way you do that is to not liason the 't' in 'et' as you do in 'est.' So 'et un' is pronounced 'ay un.' Does that make sense?

April 12, 2017

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

What you say is confirmed by mere_des_chats last link which says that "et" never has liasion. Also by my investigation in forvo:

here all et vocal... are pronounced without t https://el.forvo.com/search/et%20un/

all est vocal...are pronounced with t https://el.forvo.com/search/est%20un/ with one exception, a man says c'est horrible twice, once with t and once without?

April 12, 2017

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

Personally I would have said "Ants are insects". We don't tend to put "the" in front of everything like the French do.

February 10, 2015

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

Oh you will be surprised. The phrase "the ___ is...." is used a lot in documentaries and a lot of informative articles that are defining a species. The plural as you suggest is used too, but almost as much as "The ___ is..." Here are some examples with several sentences that follow that format within the article, if not at the beginning:

http://a-z-animals.com/animals/ant/

http://www.onekind.org/be_inspired/animals_a_z/cheetah/

http://www.desertusa.com/insects/black-widow-spider.html

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/362003/mango

February 11, 2015

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

This is a justification for why "The ant is an insect" should be accepted, not a reason why "Ants are insects," which is the more idomatic translation, should be rejected.

See, for example:

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Ant

https://www.highlightskids.com/science-questions/how-are-bugs-different-from-insects

http://www.worldanimalfoundation.org/insects.html

http://www.abc.net.au/tveducation/animals/ANTS.htm

It makes very little since for Duolingo to ask one to translate a French sentence into English, and then reject a correct, idomatic English translation.

December 26, 2016

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

I beg to disagree. It makes a whole lot of sense for a translation for les fourmis sont des insectes to be rejected because that is not the sentence we were asked to translate.

January 4, 2017

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

You are making the mistake of thinking that translations must be word-for-word to be correct. Your suggestion that an English speaker who says “Ants are insects” is saying the same thing as a French speaker who says “Les fourmis sont des insects” betrays this, for you have just made a word-for-word mistranslation of the English sentence. In point of fact, if you’ll take the trouble of looking at the uses of “Ants are insects” that I linked to above, you’ll see that they are saying the exact same thing as a French speaker who says “La fourmi est un insecte.” In other words, neither of them means that one specific, individually identified ant is an insect, while the other ants in the world are perhaps mammals or evergreens or some other thing that is not an insect, but rather they mean that ants, as a species, are insects. French expresses this with a definitive article (making the particular represent the general). English can express it with a definitive article, but outside of BBC nature documentaries, it’s much more common (and idiomatic) to express the idea with the plural and no article in English. Articles and other determiners are often used differently in different languages and it is a very basic translation error to insist that the determiners must be word-for-word identical in order for a translation to be correct. Saying that “Ants are insects” is not a correct translation of “La fourmi est un insecte” makes that basic translation error.

January 5, 2017

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

It is not a matter of word-for-word translations. It is a matter of ACCURACY of a translation. A word-for-word translation would be claiming that il fait chaud means "it does hot". I suggested no such thing. Instead I made sure not to change the implied quantity in the original sentence into something else.

You on the other hand are trying to imply that it would be OK to translate a sentence written in plural as singular and vice versa. With all due respect, that is pure poppycock. Les journaux is not "a newspaper" or "a journal". There is a reason why when you ask for "a something" you get one and when you ask for the plural you are likely to be asked "how many would you like?" Many are not the same as one and never will be, so please stop the madness.

Just because in the context of science "an ant is an insect" conveys the same information as "ants are insects", in that it classifies the species as being under the umbrella of animals called "insects", it does not mean we should do away with nuances that reflect the quantity in question. A translation is not a paraphrase. A translation is an echo of the SAME phrase in a different language. That is why une pomme is not translated as "apples" but rather as "an apple".

January 10, 2017

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

Thanks, je prends note

March 13, 2015

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

I'm confused as to why "fourmi" is listed as translating to both "busy bee" and "ant" and yet "The bee is an insect" is incorrect. Does "busy bee" refer to the figurative description of person/creature which constantly does something productive?

July 3, 2013

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

I never heard of busy bee being fourmi...

July 4, 2013

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

I ran busy bee through three relevant dictionaries. They all came up with phrases involving bees. None of them mentioned ants.

I ran fourmi through the same dictionaries. They returned nothing other than ant.

While I could see ants being used in the same way as bees to carry that particular meaning, it doesn't seem to have worked it's way into dictionaries. That leads me to believe busy ants are referenced less frequently than energetic bees in common French speech.

August 1, 2013

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

And now I have checked fourmi in my french-french dictionary (Le Petit Robert micro - especially for those learning french).

Yes, in french the comparison to ants mean that someone is hard working: "Allusion au travail anonyme et obstiné des fourmis. C'est une fourmi - une personne laborieuse, économe. Un travail de fourmi - un travail long et nécessitant beaucoup d'efforts."

Seing people or cars from high above one can compare them to ants in french as in, I'm sure, many other languages.

March 10, 2014

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

In Swedish (my native language) we have the expression of being busy/productive as an ant (vara flitig som en myra) so for me it makes sense! We don't compare to busy bees. How the french speaking world treats this comparison is beyond my knowledge.

March 10, 2014

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

Ants and bees share the same organizational skills and work ethic. Not so different, you see.

May 5, 2016

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

Oh god, I wrote "The ant is an incest" and was confused why it was wrong. Facepalm

March 23, 2016

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

Isn't "la fourmi" feminine? Why are we using "un" here?

October 25, 2014

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

The word "insecte" is masculine. So it does not matter if the ant is feminine.

It is similar to how you may point at a female cat and say "cette chatte est un animal". The word "animal" is masculine so must be preceded by "un" even though the word describing the animal in question may be feminine.

November 10, 2014

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

I thought the e at the end is not suppose to be pronounced?

July 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Frase3

How come the 'un' before insect is masculine, rather than feminim?

October 10, 2015

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

Because the word insecte is masculine. If you go by the assumption that words that end in "e" are always feminine, you need to drop that way of thinking STAT. Homme, père, musée are examples of masculine words that end in "e". What you need to do is not try to find a formula for gender but instead just learn each word's gender from the first time you see it and it will become second nature.

I have always seen the French word for "water" with a definite article l'eau or partitive article de l'eau, so it took me years to realize that I didn't know its gender. So if I had to write "the water is hot", I would not have known whether to write chaud or chaude. (It is chaude, I know now.) So now I make it a habit to look up the gender of every new noun I learn. If it is introduced in a way that its gender is not obvious as eau was, then I look it up in a dictionary.

Knowing the gender of nouns is essential for a good mastery of French so don't leave it to guesswork.

October 10, 2015

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

It can be quite difficult to understand the voice of the woman

April 13, 2016

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

English people would say "An ant is an insect" not "The ant is an insect" as we are not referring to a particular ant but to all ants.

September 17, 2017

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

Uhmm...if you watch documentaries or read scientific books, trust me, you would come across "the ant is an insect". It is a good habit to read the discussion before rushing to post. If you had done so, you would have seen examples I gave of this very construction.

In this context "the ant" is referring to the species. Besides you are supposed to translate the given sentence not write what you think it should be.

September 17, 2017

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

How do you differentiate between est, as in 'is' and et, as in 'and' by sound/pronunciation?

November 17, 2017

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

why "ant is an insect" isn't true? -_-

May 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ninjasaurus-Rex

You forgot the "The ant". You need the "La", "the.

June 8, 2013

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

Is "fourni" a word? If not why wouldn't Duo catch the typo

March 8, 2014

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

Fournir (and thus the form fourni) is a french verb. It means to bring supplys, necessities.

March 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mike-fp

Don't you think that using "the ant" instead of "an ant" makes this sentence a bit awkward? It's like meaning that THIS particular ant is an insect and THAT another particular ant is not. Doesn't make sense...

July 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1753

Even in English, "the" is required. Sometimes "the" may refer to a specific noun (determined by context). This is the other application of using the definite article referring to ants in general. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/articles_2.htm

September 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ambl97

Even in English, "the" is correct here.

January 6, 2016

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

Liason does not occur after "et," but does it occur after "est"? Should the pronunciation be "la fourmi est t-un insect"?

November 23, 2014

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

I don't think all liaisons are compulsory. Just as in English you can carry the R sound in the word more so that "more of it" sounds like "morovit", or you can decide to state each word separately--esp in British English where the R in "more" is not pronounce--[mo(r) ov it], I believe the same option applies in French.

November 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kalena.mic

The word "insect" in French has an "e" at the end. What is a trick that I can learn to remember how to spell some of these French words correctly just from hearing?

January 14, 2015

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

Well, the fact that the "T" in insecte is pronounced is a clue that there might be an "E" at the end of the word. But really your best bet is just to learn the spellings by heart. For while having an "E" at the end can help you differentiate between words like grand and grande, the D being pronounced in the latter, there are words that don't end with "E" whose last consonant is pronounded: http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-lettresmuettes.htm

January 14, 2015

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

Is there any way to tell the difference between 'et' and 'est' from the pronunciation?

April 5, 2015

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

Yes, there is. The word et sounds like é which is [ay] while the word est is more open/short sounds like è which is [eh]. Try to see if you can hear the difference in this clip: https://youtu.be/gsia7w_KSQ8

Notice the liaison between est and the following word if it starts with vowel (i.e., the T is pronounced). You never pronounce the T in et.

April 5, 2015

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

Merci beaucoup ! :)

April 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SheDances13

Is there a different word for "bug"? Or are they translated as the same word?

July 24, 2015

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

Une bestiole is the word for "bug, but because people refer to insects as "bugs", I believe un insect would work too.

July 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/18buttljarw

What is the difference between "La" and "Le"

September 2, 2015

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

Please click on this link and scroll down to the section on "Articles".

September 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/18buttljarw

Thank you so much, this really helped.

September 8, 2015

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

Why is Fourmi feminine?

October 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/n6zs
  • 1753

All nouns in French have a gender including inanimate objects or even abstract concepts. For some, there may be some reason why the noun is masculine or feminine. For many (okay, most), there is no reason at all. When you learn the noun, make a point to remember its gender, too. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/nouns_2.htm

October 24, 2015

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

It sounded like, "la fourmi et un insecte.". Is there any way to tell the difference?

November 8, 2015

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

Context would have helped even if you cannot distinguish between the two sounds et which sounds like [ay] and est which sounds like [eh]. "The ant and an insect" is as odd sounding as saying "the man and a human being" or "the gun and a firearm".

November 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/evelyn4343

Wow and lol I love duolingo Do you

November 17, 2015

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

Hi

January 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nsb72514

Est un sounds like ehhOOO

June 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Magicalas1

It is not that clear

August 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lauren1g

Well I would hope so

August 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/faezeh759246

In words such as insecte that has "e" end of it when we prounonce it and when we dont?

November 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lucynka07

how to distinguish "est" from "et" since they sound the same?

December 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Choc-Dog

FINALLY A SENTENCE THAT MAKES SENSE ON DUO OH MY GOSH

December 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RoryMacDon2

How do people hear the difference between "est un" and "et un"?

January 9, 2017

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

I thought it said an ant eats an insect and i was like CANABALISIM

January 9, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/michele816690

good

February 17, 2017

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

lol wrote ''incect''... not english.... wow

February 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/trung764922

the ant is an insect is wrong? why?

March 19, 2017

[deactivated user]

    Yes, and I am a human.

    April 10, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Barbara-Anne

    I thought words that ended in -te were feminin

    April 12, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Quinlyn89183

    How come there are two vowls beside each other?

    April 12, 2017

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

    i said it perfect but then my little brother screamed (he is 5 and a bit crazy) ruind it

    July 10, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MadiGoat1

    Bug gross!

    August 15, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Miguel280968

    I thought the voice should make the "liason" ... La fourmi est~un insect (estun) In "est" the T is silent, but in 'est un" the T is heard (Chui pa'd Paname mais j'y bossais) A little slang for you ( I'm not from Paris but I worked there) (Je ne suis pas de Paris mais j'y travaillais). Perhaps the French Academie will disagree with me!

    November 11, 2017

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

    That is one of the optional liaisons. Both /ay ah(ng')/ and /aytah(ng')/ are correct pronunciations for est un.

    https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-pronounce-optional-liaisons-french-4083604

    November 11, 2017

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

    Often, when the possibility is that 'est' could be confused with 'et,' the est liases with the vowel, but the et doesn't. So if the sentence could be interpreted as both 'The ant IS an insect,' and 'The ant AND an insect,' then the liason lets the listener know that 'est' is being used, rather than 'et.'

    November 12, 2017

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

    Good point, especially if the speaker does not differentiate the pronunciation of et and and that of est.

    November 12, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sophie277973

    i knew what it was but i just wasnt able to press the last word

    March 20, 2018

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pokemon161car161

    face

    April 24, 2018

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

    Went it auto corrects to incest instead of insect. Yeahhh

    October 29, 2018

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

    How woyld you say multiple ants?

    January 20, 2019

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

    Les fourmis (sont des insectes).

    January 20, 2019
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