1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Les chiens sont petits."

"Les chiens sont petits."

Translation:The dogs are small.

November 12, 2014

90 Comments


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

How do you know if it's a male dog or female dog?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emilym422

Chien is male and chienne is female


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/laurenb2094

If It was a group of female dogs, it would say "les chiennes sont petites"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stephenthe2

yes but how would we distinguish that from the speech?


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

To distinguish "chiens" from "chiennes" you would have to listen closely to the sound byte. In "chiens" the 'n' is nasalized, and is pronounced [she-on]. "Chiennes" the 'n' is pronounced normally, making the word sound like [she-en] as in the beginning of the word end.


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

Does not seem to be the case - in this example they pronounce chiens closer to [she-en]


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CinnamonTe1

"Chien" sounds like "she-ahn" or "shahn"
"Chienne" sound like "she-en"

For "chien" the "n" is pronounced with a weaker nasal sound.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/emilym422

Chienne you hear the n while in chien you don't


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

Well by gum, I can quite clearly hear the "n" sound so I wrote "chiennes" and got it wrong....


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

In this sentence "n" is very clear, especially in a slow version


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SandyChapa5

Ah, you're on the same page as the rest of us now! Great answer, thanks!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mckynz1

Can you me help plz by following me


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/laurenb2094

because "chiennes" sounds different to "chiens"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mmbb1430

chiennes sounds like if it was with "e" like in "Ben". chiens sounds like if it was with an "a" like in "art". I don't know if my explanation helps for an english speaker


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

to me Chien sounds like it ends with the normal English sound for "N" as in "bun". Chiennes ends with the name of the letter N as in the first syllable of "entropy."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2197

ColinCanuck

The way it's pronounced in French, "chien" is closer to "she-eh", where the "eh" is nasalized but there is no "n" sound per se. "Chienne" on the other hand is closer to "she-en" and there is definitely an enunciated hard "n" sound.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Minuete1

Someone already explained the difference between chien and chienne. But here's another tip: if you can't distinguish the noun's gender, look for other clues sorrounding it. In this particular sentence you don't year the second t in "petit". (It is silent, therefore masculine.) If you hear the second t in "petite" then the subject it's referring to is feminine.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DianaBanan18

Same question here. I feel like female has a longer n sound.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2197

With chien, the "n" really isn't pronounced at all. It's just a nasal sound. With chienne, it is fully pronounced.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SydneyK2016

You know if something is female if the last letter is 'e'. eg. 'chienne' and 'chatte'

This is mostly the case, however, some words that are female don't have an 'e'. I unfortunately, don't have any examples of female objects/stuff without the 'e' at the end.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2197

If there are nouns or adjectives that have both a masculine and feminine form, then the feminine form will have a terminal e where the masculine form does not:
vert, verte
fiancé, fiancée

But it is a myth that "feminine words end in e and masculine words don't" because there are plenty of masculine words that end in e, like "homme".

The truth is that there is no hard-and-fast rule for determining whether a noun is masculine or feminine based on how it's spelled. You just have to memorize a noun's gender as part of your vocabulary drills.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SandyChapa5

WE KNOW! We are asking because in the verbal sentence it sounds like she is saying "chiennes" not "chien".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Doobius1

Isn't "Les chiennes sont petites" acceptable?


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

why cant i translate this as 'les chiennes sont petites'. it says i am wrong


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

Why isn't "Dogs are small" an acceptable translation? What would that be in French?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FuzzyPanda-SK

@apaxlegomena "Dogs are small" would be "Chiens/Chiennes sont petits/petites" (depending on gender). "Les" was at the beginning of this statement, so it's "The dogs are small."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drkaren8

Why isn't male dogs are small correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tess801740

I have the same question


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

Because 'dog' should only refer to males and '❤❤❤❤❤' applies to females. Now that has become an offensive term and we refer to both dogs and bitches as just dogs. So if it is 'chien' you say 'dog'.


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

also I believe chien is preferred when the sex of the dog is unknown/irrelevant (like English if you think about it)


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

i wrote "les chiennes sont petites" why is this wrong?


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

Because 'chien' is a male dog and 'chienne' is a female dog. Although in English dogs cover both male and female, 'dog' is a male and '❤❤❤❤❤' is a female.


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

Thank you very much!


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

What's the speech difference in les vs le/la?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mmbb1430

I think in "les" the "e" sound like if it was longer "leeeee" opening your mouth (the "s" is silent). In "le" you pronounce it with your mouth almost closed. Try using google translate and listen to both, "le" and "les" so that you can notice the difference. "la" sounds like the beginning of the english word "liar"


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

Le sounds like luh, les sounds like lay(possible s) and la sounds like lah


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SharonOsei2

Why is the small dogs wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2197

"Les chiens sont petits (The dogs are small)" is a sentence. "Les chiens (The dogs)" is the subject, "sont (are)" is the verb, and "petits (small)" is the predicate.

"Les petits chiens" (The small dogs) is a noun phrase.


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

Join my club Ariadne - YDX9MH


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ebrown130901

I put "Les chiennes sont petites". Why is this not acceptable?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2197

Report it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zara448510

I heard ple chien sont petit


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

How can you tell, when you hear it, if it's plural? "Les" and "Le" sounds very similar.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2197

You need to learn how to tell "les" (which sounds like "lay") apart from "le" (which sounds like the start of "look").


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

Can some tell me what is the difference between Le and la and les and Il ,please ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2197

le = the, masculine singular
la = the, feminine singular
les = the, plural

il = he/it
elle = she/it


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Skipper658767

when to use es/sont


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2197

être
je suis
tu es
il est
nous sommes
vous êtes
ils sont


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jang101

I heard "Les chats sont petits"


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

what is the difference between "petits" and "petites"? I wrote "les chiens sont petites" and i got it wrong...does it have to do anything with the gender of the sustantive?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2197

Yes. All adjectives must agree with the noun they modify.

petit -- masculine singular
petite -- feminine singular
petits -- masculine/mixed/unknown plural
petites -- feminine plural


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robert538115

I've gone back and listened to this fifty times now. I hear "Les chats" every time, not "Les chiens." I'm starting to think I have an auditory processing disorder.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BeckyPlum1

Hi and welcome to dou


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaryLouise872063

Please explain the differences in the sounds between chiens and chats. I donot get it!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2197

chien --> shee-ehn
Except you don't really pronounce the "n". It's more of a nasal sound.

chat --> shah


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marcus55

You should be able to say the dogs are little!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2197

Flag it and say "My answer should be accepted."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mckynz1

No because that's incorrect grammar


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2197

There is nothing "incorrect" about "The dogs are little."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mckynz1

Why in the word the les instead of la or le


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2197

Les = plural "the"
La = singular feminine "the"
Le = singular masculine "the"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2197

The dogs are small = Certain specified dogs are small.

Dogs are small = All dogs are small universally.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/l4timmir

As of now I've noticed that articles are messed up here and there, and for this particular case answers "dogs are small" and "the dogs are small" should be equal, that apparently not. I understand the difference you've mentioned, but I would not still agree that second one cannot be an answer.


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

Could this also be translated as 'dogs are small'? Because often when speaking about an uncountable noun we add the article (les chocolats, etc), and if you were speaking generally about dogs it would also be 'les chiens,' correct?


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

what is the difference between tiny and small?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2197

Degree. "Tiny" is smaller than "small". A baby human is small. A baby cat is tiny.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichelLemo932387

"The dogs are little." is accepted.


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

Why is petit plural?


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

It isn't. Petit/Petite is singular, Petits/Petites is plural. If you are asking why petits is used in this sentence, it is because chiens is plural. And whenever the noun is plural, the adjective is plural too.


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

So when you have a plural noun, you add an s. does that mean you have to add an s to a plural verb too?


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

no. verbs are more complicated. see the many, many posts about verb conjugation. J'aimes, tu amies , il aime, nous aimons, ils aiment etc.


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

¡Ay, chihuahua!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thales-Machado

Is " Les chiens" referring to a specific amount of dogs or dogs in general?


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

probably a specific group of dogs in this context. but if you said "J'aime les chiens" it could mean all dogs.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kitty.cuteDEADLY

theggggggggggggggggggggg


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

Okay, I thought I could translate this as "The bitches are small.". LOL. But it says it's wrong.


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

That's because 'les chiens' is masculine. If the sentence was 'les chiennes sont petites' then your proposed translation would be correct.


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

Petits sounds like "booty"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Carlosdelo10

This should mark Tiny as acceptable for Petit!


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

Strictly speaking tiny is what an english teacher would prefer over very small and does not really mean the exact same thing as small

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.
Get started