Translation:The man and the woman are writing a letter.
82 Comments This discussion is locked.
I agree. The words don't sound very different from one form (écrit) to another (écrivent). For the most part, the pronunciation drops the final consonant sounds. In hearing the spoken language, you'll gather from the subjects or other context which verb conjugation is used. Having the knowledge of the correct verb form is important, however, even if the ends are not pronounced, because the end IS pronounced when followed by a word that starts with a vowel. It's kind of like how we switch in English from "a" to "an" depending upon whether a vowel or consonant follows.
You won't "hear" the difference between écris and écrivent the way you are expecting lingo4me12. You just have to memorize the conjugation in order to know which form to use. Example: I write (j'écris), they write (Ils écrivent). As others have said, your ear will become accustomed to picking up soft sounds in time. Use the links Sitesurf gave above, the are very helpful. Make use of various YouTube videos as well. Seek out others on the web (if you don't have access to people who speak french) to practice with. Study, read, and write down French on your own separately away from Duolingo. Walk around and speak French aloud to yourself and say what words and ideas you can in French instead of your native tongue. You will understand more and more. Remember to have Fun with it!
Yes there are rules and exceptions.
You may first use this: http://french.about.com/library/verb/bl-verbconjugator.htm
Look at basic principles: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/verbconjugation.htm
You may also learn main patterns for regular verbs then irregular ones, but you will mostly learn conjugations as you go through lessons, and you will need to memorize them.
Sitesurf, i am well aware of all those things and of what contraction should be used in some verbs but what confuses the most is that when you are using a singular/plural pronoun-- what kind of conjunction of the verb should be used? hope you answer my question. it'll help me a lot. :) merci in advance. :)
In fact, there are some words with so-called "h aspiré" whereas the more common "h" is "h muet". Both of them have no sound, but you don't make liaisons with "h aspiré". Thus it is, for instance, "l'homme", but "le hibou" or "la honte". And there is no way to tell which "h" it is, you have to know the words.
homme, habit and "h" or words starting with "h" are treated like vowels are in English. In English vowels are preceeded with 'an' rather than 'a' for easier pronounciation and better flow. Where as, in French, vowels and h's are preceeded with L' or D' in place of la,le, du. EXAMPLES: ENGLISH = An Apple NOT A Apple. EXAMPLES: FRENCH = L'homme NOT Le Homme HINT This happens when the word preceeding the vowel or h of the next word END in a vowel. For example: Les Hommes NOT L'hommes (Because les ends with an S not vowel) Another Example: d'un homme NOT de un homme (Because de ends in an E before a vowel)
If you understand that "to write" can show as "I write" and "he writes", you will understand that French conjugations are extended with various forms depending on the grammatical person:
- j'écris, tu écris, il/elle/on écrit, nous écrivons, vous écrivez, ils/elles écrivent
A is the indefinite article used when referring to not any particular one of a class or group. It can also be one.
An is the same article in the form used when it is followed by an word that starts with the sound of a vowel.
A apple is difficult to speak smoothly in English so the letter n is added to a to make a smoother sound.
A apple = difficult. An apple = easier. Article changed to make it easier
A newspaper = easy. No change to the article
So un/ une can be translated to a or an depending on the first sound of the word that follows.
A/ an is gender neutral like most words in the English language. The proper form to be used has nothing to with gender.
-Please, not first that: "an" and "on" in French are nasalised sounds.
-Mange = (for "il", "elle") = manj
-Mangeons = (for "nous") = manjon (the "e" is only there to allow the "g" to be pronounced as a "g" in "giraffe" and not a hard "g" as in "guitar". (same role than the "u" in "guitar")
-Mangent = (for "ils", "elles) = manj, same pronounciation than "mange", the "nt" are only there TO BE A WRITTEN MARK OF THE PLURAL, but has no role to play in the pronounciation.
You can go to Google Translate, enter just about any word in pretty well every language, click on the icon in the bottom right corner and they will give you a reasonable idea of what the word sounds like.
Much more reliable sound than Duo. Knowing what the words should sound like will help you identify the presence of subtle differences that may actually be available in Duo's rendition but are obscured.
Google translations, themselves, are not so reliable.
La femme means "the woman", L'homme means "the man." In French, "H" is usually silent when used at the beginning of a word. You cannot have le homme becuase the "h" is silent and "o" is a vowel, so it is contracted to "L'homme". Note that "The men" is not contracted, it is "Les homme" and a liaison is used in pronouncing it.
Exceptions to this often happen with words borrowed from other languages. In such cases, contractions aren't used and liaisons aren't allowed.