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  5. "Les murs ont des oreilles."

"Les murs ont des oreilles."

Translation:The walls have ears.

August 5, 2013

34 Comments


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

Brings to mind one of my grandma's idioms: "Little pitchers have big ears" meaning that children are listening quietly and are going to hear whatever it is you're saying so be warned.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rachael.cr3

I think it was also used in more sinister contexts, such as when there was a totalitarian government spying.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bbaggins8286

Indeed, right up there with "Loose lips sinks ships."


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

Well the context changes a little bit, and along those lines I have: "A closed mouth catches no flies", which is very close to the Spanish version: "En boca cerrada no entran moscas" or even: "Por la boca muere el pez"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ngel41311

No. I think this idiom refers to "hasta las paredes hablan", or "even the walls speak"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ph516503

Specifically I believe it was used by the British government on propaganda posters during WWII, to remind the population that German spies may be listening to their conversations.


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

Yes this is correct. In the second world war, this was used by british (and perhaps other nations too) government as propaganda. It was reminding people not to talk about secrets that give away information, like blackout curtains, or how they covered up signs of rail stations. also just normal info on how the war was going, because thee were many german spies playing regular british people. Hope this was interesting! EA


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stephen880094

Yes as in Big Brother is watching (and listening too,)


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

is there supposed to be a liason between "murs" and "ont"? i do not hear one


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

No, there's no liaison if the first word ends on the second-to-last consonant's sound and the last one is actually silent. "Murs" is pronounced like the singular "mur" and not "murZ" so you wouldn't make the liaison, but you would on "des oreilles" because "des" ends on the vowel's sound.


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

that is a good explanation. hope it sticks for me.


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

Thanks. So, to clarify, does the same apply to all plurals that are made by a silent 's'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jbigelow84

Ok, but in a previous idiom << Les absents ont toujours tort >> there is a liaison between << absents >> and << ont >>. Wouldn't this invalidate that rule?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alexc1979

In fact, plural noun + verb is an optional liaison. You would pronounce the s in 'murs ont' if speaking more formally. In the case of 'Les absents ont', the s in 'les' is a required liaison but the s in 'absents' is again optional. Therefore you should always hear the first in any register of speech, but not always the second. Of course, native speakers frequently speak so fast that liaison rules disappear!


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

I didn't know English had the same idiom! My family said this all the time in Spanish, "Cuidado, las paredes tienen oidos." "Be careful, the walls have ears."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arabella210259

Same in Serbia!

The walls are listening-Zidovi slušaju

or The walls have ears-Zidovi imaju uši

Which is funny when I think about this- when parents/grandparents/teachers think you're not paying attention, they say ''Dobro,kome ja ovo pričam? Zidovima?'' meaning- ''So who am I telling this [to]? The walls?'' so it's funny we contradict ourselves


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

Same in Polish! We say "Ściany mają uszy" which is "The walls have ears"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kausthub.S

The exact same phrase exists in Hindi - "Deewaron ke bhi kaan hote hain". Interesting from a linguistic perspective that the same idiom is found in France as in India. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kevin968039

And the U.S I think you'll find that as different nations deployed their troops around the world, their various cultures went with them. This included idioms and cuisine. That's how pizza made it to America. (Thankfully)


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

A little bird told me?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Remy
  • 1295

In French, "A little bird told me" translates to "Mon petit doigt m'a dit" (literally: "my little finger told me").


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

merci. c'est drole!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kevin968039

@Remy, Thanks for sharing, That's very cool to learn! :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ernesto813220

We have this in Spanish too: Un pajarito me contó...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kaelyn741885

Chinese:隔墙有耳


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

In Persian there's a similar idiom with the same meaning; "Walls have mice and mice have ears".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BenjaminJ17

hmmmm. what does this mean? like what does the expression mean


[deactivated user]

    It's kind of like saying that you never know who is listening and when they are listening.


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

    "Dinding punya telinga" -Indonesian It means that you have to talk about something private in a private area as well. Don't think that anybody who is on that place when you talk about something and they do nothing. They could be a spy for your opponent


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

    I accidentally wrote "The ears have walls" before realising my mistake, haha.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mason_b1

    The walls learened how to grow ears?!?!?! Well then?!?!?! WE ALL WILL DIE SOON!!!!!!!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sO1Hu

    Can we sayings in the French culture? Instead of English equivalents


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tristam212765

    I kept typing "the ears have walls" and getting it wrong. If you try to tell someone the Bible is true, their ears suddenly have walls.

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