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"Ich spreche kein Französisch."

Translation:I speak no French.

June 16, 2013



I speak Spanish to God, Italian to Women, French to Men, and German to my Horse. Quote that had been (mistakenly?) attributed to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. There are many thoughts what could this mean and one very popular is that Spanish is the Linguica Domnichi (literally "language of god"), Italian is the "Language of Love", French is the Language of Diplomacy, and German is a gruff language good for giving orders in. :) *No hard feelings to anyone :)


Why is it sometimes OK to use the "no <subst.>" construct to translate a "kein" phrase and sometimes it is not? IIRC, "He eats no soup" was not accepted as a translation for "Er isst keine Suppe". Bear in mind that I'm not a native English speaker :)


Kein is for the indefinite article or when there is no article. I don't eat (any) soup= ich esse keine Suppe. Nicht requires a definite article I don't eat the soup= ich esse die Suppe nicht. There are other things as well for nicht for example when you want make the verb negative


Could you give another example of what you mean? I'm not really sure what you're asking.


It's just that sometimes Duolingo won't accept "no <something>" as a translation for "kein(e) <etwas>" and sometimes it will.

I can't remember any other examples right now other than the one I said in the first post, but I do remember that the correct translation for that one was "He does not eat soup", which I think is equivalent to "He eats no soup", and yet the second one was not accepted, so I was wondering if "He eats no soup" is not proper English or if there is some subtle difference in meaning that I failed to perceive.

Thank you!


Oh okay, I see what you mean. Sometimes DuoLingo marks an answer as wrong even though it should be correct. Not every possible translation for a sentence is always in the list of possible answers. "He eats no soup" does sound correct to me though (even if it's not the most common way to say it).

If you think your answer should be accepted, click Report and then "My answer should be accepted". If you report it they'll usually fix it.


OK, thank you! I was not sure wether it was correct, that's why I didn't report.

Is there any way to report this now?


He eats no soup is quite unusual in English - but he speaks no french is quite acceptable.


I don't think so, not unless you get this question again during practice or if you do this lesson again.


He eats no soup is not correct english. The correct thing to say he does not eat soup. When translating from german to english words are not in the same order, it has to do with the sentance structure in each language in terms of where verbs and nouns and everything go


Generally, we don't construct sentences this way. Only, really, to place a dramatic emphases on the "no". If you where to speak like this regularly it would sound archaic. In fact, German structure sounds/looks a lot like Old English. Its best not to use this structure in everyday English until you get a feel for when it is appropriate, and for this reason I would stay away firm using "<verb> no <noun>" on these translation exercises.


I don't understand this, wouldn't it be more logical "Ich spreche Französisch nicht"?


When there's a noun involved (in this case "Französisch") you need to use "kein". It's basically just like saying "I speak no French."


Got it. And if I had an adjective, would it be "Sie ist schön nicht" or "Sie ist nicht schön"?. My problem is that in my native tongue we use only one word to express negatives which is "No" hahahaha we use NO for everything, so German negatives have been a little confusing to me hehehehe


"Sie ist nicht schön". You put the nicht in front of an adjective, and the kein in front of a noun. If you negate the verb, you put the nicht at the very end:

"Sie arbeitet heute nicht".


Why is 'I cannot speak French' wrong?


Because Duolingo wants you at this stage to translate literally, almost word to word, to make sure that you master the use of kein, I guess. :)


Someone who speaks no French perhaps can speak it, but doesn't.


why "i am not talking french " is wrong?


You mean at the moment? Then you would say "ich spreche nicht französisch."


Is there a difference between "Ich spreche kein Französisch." and "Ich spreche nicht Französisch."? thanks in advance! :)


"I do not speak French," would be correct, right? Because I failed and put "I do not French" by accident. Go me.



There are some vulgar slang references regarding using French as a verb in both languages, but I'll keep to the Duo rules and merely recommend an internet search.


Ok, so this is a German course and the literal translation of this is 'I speak no French.' So far so good and 'Ich spreche kein Französisch' is good German. However, the translation to English is poor and would be better expressed in English as 'I don't speak French.' So the German is correct, the translation is correct but confusing to those who are not native English speakers as an English speaker is very unlikely to say 'I speak no French' unless it was part of a bigger sentence. For example ' Do you speak German, English and French' to which a reply could be ' I speak German and English but I speak no French.' However, even then you are more likely to say 'I speak German and English but I don't speak French.' This is a German course so it is German we are trying to learn correctly, but having poor or weak literal English translations makes it hard for non-native English speakers to learn the correct translation when many of Duo's translations are taken literally. So be encouraged folks, this is a German course so go with the correct German and tolerate the sometimes weak or vague English translations as they are not necessarily truly English, but the German is correct.


Exactly my thoughts. Since we're supposed to translate idomatic phrases sometimes, why is "I don't speak French" not accepted as an answer (just tried it, apparently it's wrong). I understand that it's not exactly what the German phrase means, but barely anyone would say "I speak no French" instead of "I don't speak French". Maybe you'd say "I don't speak a word of French" but that's still different.


would it also be correct to say "Ich spreche keine Französisch (with an e on the end of kein?) on another language program, it teaches "ich spreche keine Englisch" with the e on kein.


no, "keine" is wrong in both sentences.


Französisch is neuter - so "kein"


Why is 'I cant talk french' wrong?


Also, I believe "talk French" is grammatically incorrect English. One speaks a language, one does not talk a language. You can, however, "talk in" a language. As in, "She walk talking to me in French" or "He talks in French all the time."


Someone who says 'I speak no French' might actually be able to speak it, but chooses not to.


Why is it ok to translate sprechen to talk sometimes and not this time? I didn't write speak and it was wrong


can I say "Ich spreche das Französisch nicht" ???



No, that would mean there are different Frenchs and you don't speak the one required. While there may be different dialects of French, you still either speak French or you don't. You may differentiate "ich verstehe das Französisch hier nicht" (= I don't understand the French that's spoken here), though.


It is not wrong to say 'I speak no French' but we would more naturally say 'I don't speak French'

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