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https://www.duolingo.com/Spenq

English sentence to French - designate masc or fem

Shouldn't sentences being translated from english to french that contain words that could be masculine or feminine once translated to french have some sort of (m) or (f) indicator added next to those words so that people know which translation to apply to that word and it's "accompanying" words (possessives/adj/etc.)

This seems to be a real issue for longer sentences that could be easily fixed when dealing with words like cat, person, etc.

1
5 years ago

7 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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I'm afraid that the gender of every noun (and consequently matching gender of adjective, possessive, etc.) have to be learnt together with the noun itself. Same story for all languages with genders (German, Spanish, etc).

3
Reply5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/siebolt
siebolt
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Or use the pre-computer technique of writing down new words with the article and learn them. Not amusing, but very effective. (Yes, I teach languages).

1
Reply5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Spenq

I'm sorry if I was unclear, but I meant in circumstances where you have to take an english word that could be referring to a male or female into a french word.

ie: cat = chat or chatte dog = chien or chienne

if it said "the big cat (m)" you would know to say "le chat" and not "la chatte," and thereby also use "grand" and not "grande"

1
Reply5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PistolPoet

I agree that you just have to learn the genders by heart, but it would indeed help to have a little prompt when translating. I have to keep a dictionary open in another tab to check genders so as not to make a mistake, and it's pretty annoying!

0
Reply5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/monzac
monzac
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@Spenq I think you just have to make a choice and be consistent. This is easy when doing those contextless exercises mentioned above, but it can be a problem when constructing English translations of articles that have been separated into isolated sentences. For example, translating Aesop's fables into English: The source has gendered animals. In the English version, masculine, feminine or neuter must be selected. Consistency is difficult when the whole piece cannot be seen as a single unit and each sentence has to be brought up individually.

0
Reply5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sitesurf
Sitesurf
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About Aesop's fables (main source of inspiration for Jean de La Fontaine's fables), it seems that translatirs have actually used genders. Example, Robert Thompson (19th Century). For your interest, a sample of one of the most famous fables : la cigale et la fourmi : --"The gay grasshopper, full of song, All the sunny season long, Was unprovided and brought low, When the north wind began to blow ; Had not a scrap of worm or fly, Hunger and want began to cry ; Never was creature more perplexed. She called upon her neighbour ant, And humbly prayed her just to grant Some grain till August next ;“I'll pay, ” she said, “what ye invest, Both principal and interest, Honour of insects –and that's tender. ” The ant, however, is no lender ; That is her least defective side ;“But, hark ye, pray, Miss Borrower, ” she cried, “What were ye doing in fine weather ? ” “ Singing . . . nay,! look not thus askance, To every comer day and night together. ” “ Singing ! I'm glad of that ; why now then dance. ” --

0
Reply5 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/monzac
monzac
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Well, the translators made their choice and exercised it consistently :)

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Reply5 years ago