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  5. "Même la vache la plus noire …

"Même la vache la plus noire donne du lait blanc."

Translation:Even the darkest cow gives white milk.

December 15, 2012



Honestly, I really appreciate the way Duolingo introduces new things: by real usage, with surprise, with an example providing often enough context to grasp general meaning of phrase/sentence, without knowing the details. Exact meaning will be revealed eventually but I am forced to repeat new things, otherwise I would definitely pay less attention to them.

I especially like this top-down approach:

1) you first get a new phrase, you know some words, but there is no link yet, so you get only the context

2) you err and see full translation, so you know the full meaning, but don't yet understand each word/expression exactly

3) you match words/expressions and learn how they affect phrase

4) you encounter same words/expressions in a different context which eventually makes you kind-of feel their real meaning

I am not interested in knowing how some words can be translated to English (dictionaries already know it), but to simply learn French - and this approach helps a lot! Thanks guys, fantastic job!


I think you have forgotten something:

5/ you can ask questions, you can debate on the language you learn with other learners or natives, you get information, details and explanations from them.


Why do you guys (native speakers) spend your time explaining to us, dilettantes, your language ?


Because we don't spend the same time, telling about ourselves on FB


Going through the French duolingo course, I'd say that your comments here have been nearly as helpful as the course itself. Many thanks!


You're most welcome!


Yesssss! I agree. It's awesome to see someone positive about Duolingo. I find this program very helpful and fun. I appreciate most of the comments and the ability to ask questions and get input. I especially love that it's FREE! How can people complain so much? I've learned a great deal here.


Is this a random sentence or is it a common expression?


It is a proverb. It expresses the idea that we have more in common than what may appear on the surface.


There is always a first time, I guess. Of course, we can't remember when we were babies learning our first words, but that was the same scenario.


I guess so, it's making the mistake (even though it can be frustrating when you've never had it explained), then maybe having to do the lesson again and maybe it takes a couple of times till it commits but you just keep nailing it in and eventually it sticks, and you'll just know it without thinking.


This is the first time I've seen construction for "the blackest." No way to translate it correctly without having some kind of explanation or experience with the construction before seeing it in practice.


Well, just as a general note, taking a comparative word and sticking "le" in front of it makes it superlative. So we have moins (less) -> le moins (least), plus (more) -> le plus (most), mieux (better) -> le mieux (best), etc. So le plus noire = most black/dark (blackest/darkest).


I used blackest and it was accepted. I didn't think of darkest, which might be better in English.


How would you say "The darkER cow" as opposed to "The darkEST cow"?


"la plus noire des deux"


Is this supposed to be a idiom?


No, it is not an idiom, just an example of a superlative construction.


how would you say "the very dark cow"?


La vache très noire.


Here I wrote 'most black' not 'blackest' should this not have been correct too? Is there another way to say it?


'Blackest' is the correct superlative form in English.


Is it better to translate dark as noir, or as sombre? I have seen noir used often to mean dark as opposed to just black, but the word sombr was what was introduced for dark. Is it more of a stylistic thing based on the preference of the speaker? Or eould I expect a native French speaker to prefer one over the other?


"dark" translates to "black" for specific things like chocolate or night.

Otherwise, "dark" is "sombre, obscur, foncé"

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