"La fille parle des robes."
Translation:The girl is talking about the dresses.
Why couldn't it be "The girl talks about dresses"? According to a comment below, here "des" is the contraction of de+les. But how do I know that from the context of this sentence?
The girl talks about dresses. ( in general) La fille parle de robes.
The girl talks about the dresses.(a specific item) La fille parle des robes.
I used Google Translate to get this information.
The French des in this context translates directly as de les/ of the (pl.).
About is an English approximation for des/of the.
Introducing about as a direct translation of both de and des as Google Translate does can lead students into uncertainty where such is not necessary. Using Google can be of use but is not the best source for translation. If you want to know how good Google is just give it a page to translate and see what you end up with. Google Translate can be useful with phrases but when it comes to dealing with tricky issues it is less than helpful.
A better French English dictionary online is available at www.Larousse.com
Also... Translating des directly into either of its two meanings (of the or some) usually makes it clear which of the two is correct.
Des = some....The girl speaks some dresses.
Des = of the.....The girl speaks of the dresses.
Which of the English sentences above seems correct even with the limited context?
The girl is not speaking of dresses in general but of the dresses which are dresses known to the writer and the intended reader. Or at least that is what of the dresses means in English.
Why must I translate it with "the dresses" and not just "dresses"? I thought that "des" did not always need a "the."
That would be "La fille parle aux robes." since "to" is translated to "a" and the plural is "aux" similar to how "of" in plural translates to "des" so more literally this sentence translates to "The girl talks of dresses."
How can I distinguish these 'des'. 1 - meaning of some. like in 'des pommes' 2. 'of the' - 'de les'. Am I missing something.
But it has been dealt with on this very page that you are asserting that it hasn't been.
Perhaps you aren't clear what was meant by the explanation but it has been offered.
Maybe you have a specific question about how it was dealt with.
Someone on another discussion said "des rhymes with they" which is pretty accurate.
I am a French teacher and I translated this as the girl is talking about dresses....this is totally an appropriate translation in English. I always tell my students that a word for word translation is NOT the way to go. Either translation word be appropriate in this case...the girl is talking about dresses OR the girl is talking about the dresses.
In this audio I can't make a difference between La fille and Les Filles.
I'm confused about "des". Galactiger's explanation is good, but not quite clear enough for me. Is this sentence translated as "The girl is speaking about the dresses" because "parle des" translates together as some have said, "speaking of the", and therefore more contemporarily, "speaking about"? But then where does the "some" translation come in and how can I know the difference??
Des has two meanings...
Des = some
Des = of the which Anglos routinely turn into about.
You can tell which is the correct translation by context. In this case The girl is speaking some dresses doesn't make sense so it must be The girl is speaking of the (about) dresses.
This makes total sense. Thanks so much northernguy. You state the case very clearly.
No! I have learned otherwise! parler de = talk about parler de les robes= parler des robes, which is not specific, so it means dresses and not the dresses, or it should mean both, because I think it is not possible to translate otherwise: je can never say parler les robes. In singular: il parle de la fille, means about the girl , but in plurial it would mean both again: il parle des filles, some girls/girls, the girls.
About as a translation of des is an Anglo response to their discomfort with French articles.
de = of
de la = of the
des = of the (pl). (in this sentence). There is another meaning some which does not apply here.
In normal conversation it is likely that it won't make much difference whether you use of or of the . But Duo wants to make sure you understand the difference and that the French have a way of expressing that difference.
I wrote "The girl is speaking dresses" I knew it would be wrong, but didn't know if "speaking of" is correct. How does it affix "of" after speaking?
I'm not sure if it answers your question, but it gets the "of" meaning from the word "des", which is a combination of "de" (of) and "les" (the [plural form]). The sentence literally translates as, "The girl is speaking of the dresses," but a more common way of phrasing it in English would be "The girl is talking about the dresses." Also, in case it's not obvious, you would use "de la" for "of the [feminine singular form]" and "du" for "of the [masculine singular form]", as in "de la fille" or "du fils". Also, in case it's not confusing enough, "des" is frequently used as a translation of "some", as with "Il mange des pommes," but that's not how it's being used here. Hopefully with this explanation, though, you'll be forewarned. Best of luck!
Thank you for your reply! I was getting very confused about "des", as one meaning was du's plural or "some", and another was de + le (where "de" apparently means "of") So I think I have understood it now. Thanks again ! =)
I saw 'des' and thought it was 'the girl talks about some dresses' rather than taking des as de+les, which I'm guessing is what it should be, but even so, it seems a bit picky
If you took "des" as "some" then the sentence would translate as nonsense: "The girl talks some dresses."