"She is going to wash."
Translation:Elle va se laver.
Why not "Elle va laver"? English phrase doesn't say "She is going to wash HERSELF"
Without otherwise saying what she is going to wash, washing herself is implied in English. In French it must be stated.
No. No, it is most certainly not. "She is going to wash" could very well mean wash laundry. This is a repeat offense by moderators on this forum, that they keep trying to justify a faulty translation with a massive generalization of what they understand to be common English.
Hi, Luis. Re: "And to my equally Californian ears, the sentence sounds unnatural" (you replied to me instead of DianaM below), which sentence is it exactly that you find to be unnatural? I am on the receiving end of assertions regarding "a repeat offense", accusations of "faulty translation" and "massive generalization" when it seems all you have to offer is your opinion. I asked you a question months ago and you have not replied. So here it is again. How would you translate the sentence given in this exercise, "elle va se laver"? Please give the reasoning for your answer. While we're on it, the original post (by pfeil) suggested "elle va laver" as a correct answer. Do you believe it is correct? or incorrect? Whichever you choose, please give your reasoning as if you are explaining it to someone and not just your opinioin. Thanks.
I've yet to see you cite anything outside of your own opinion, n6zs, so it seems we're both guilty. But, since everything from FrancaisFacile, Conjugaison, and even here on Duolingo has "se laver" as being, clearly, a reflexive verb. Utilising "se," the verb indicates the action taking place is one originating from or regarding the speaker. And yes, "Elle va laver" is perfectly acceptable as a future proche conjugation for the non-reflexive "laver," per LeFigaro and LeMonde websites that actually bother to have it. But this is all aside from my point that, in the US at least, people don't generally say "She is going to wash" or "I'm going to wash" to mean themselves. Why does it matter that I'm citing a conjugation from a non-reflexive verb? Because the original English sentence was non-reflexive.
Hi DianaM, I honestly don't believe that"herself" is ever implied in English. It must be stated. I don't know if you could say "Je lave mes mains" and "Je me lave mes mains". On the other hand you can say "I wash my hands" , but never "I wash myself my hands", for it would be redundant.
Hey, Frank! I think the issue is that we're getting a little preoccupied with the translation process rather than its meaning. The French use the reflexive verb, "se laver" to mean that the action of the verb is taking place on the subject of the sentence. There are a few such verbs in English that require reference to "self". For example, take the verb "coiffer" = to do somebody's hair vs. "se coiffer" = to do one's own hair. Even in English, you would not say "I am going to do hair" but from the French "Je vais me coiffer" = I am going to do my hair. The French "laver" is quite general, but "se laver" makes it specifically about oneself. This is where the English parts ways with the French. With the verb "wash", it can be used in different ways, with an object to say what it is you're going to wash (Je vais laver ma voiture = I'm going to wash my car) or reflexively (Je vais me laver) = I'm going to wash. It is understood to be reflexive since there is no stated complement. This is where the various regional English variations start drawing red lines which shall not be crossed and people saying "Nobody says that" when in fact they actually do. There are versions of this in English that are acceptable in one area but mean something different in another ("I'm going to wash up" might be fine for some but in England --notice I did not say "in English"--, it means "I'm going to do the dishes". Some people say "I'm going to have a wash" or "I'm going to get washed" and if these are unfamiliar to us, rest assured that they are quite common in other places and thus are not subject to our ridicule. Part of this issue is that in most dialects of English, there is no required reference to "self" when going to wash one's hands. If it is because we see the reflexive verb in French that we feel compelled to put some reference to myself/himself/herself in English, then we are pushing our word-for-word button way too hard. Bottom line: without saying "my hands", etc., what do you say?
It's not the word "herself" that is implied, as much as the concept. In my part of the world (and, I gather from this discussion, this is not the case everywhere), if someone says, "I'm going to wash", it is understood that s/he is going to the sink and washing his/her hands and probably face.
Hi, Bruno. What does "Elle va se laver" mean? When you read it in French, do you understand it in French? What is she doing? Avoid translating it into some word-for-word expression in English and then try to figure out what that means.
You must understand it first--only then can you successfully translate it to English.
"Se laver" means that the action is taking place on the subject with "se" acting as the complement to the verb. In English, the verb "wash" can be used both transitively (requiring an object), e.g., I'm going to wash the car, or intransitively (no stated complement/object is needed). So by saying "She is going to wash" (with no stated complement/direct object), it is understood that the action of the verb takes place on the subject. "She is going to wash" is perfectly correct as it is, although different regions of English-speakers have their preferred variations. All the known valid expressions for it are accepted, sans "herself".
I reasoned the same as deactivated user, and changed my answer from "se laver" to "laver" losing my last heart!
Besides what I commented earlier, another point is that "laver" requires an object. You can't just say, "elle va laver" you have to say what she is going to wash.
We understand how the reflexive verb is used in French to show the action takes place on the subject. In English we seem to have difficulty. Here are two sources, one British, one American, which explain reflexive verbs in English:
The British Council says: We do not use a reflexive pronoun after verbs which describe things people usually do for themselves:
- He washed in cold water.
- He always shaved before going out in the evening.
- Michael dressed and got ready for the party.
We only use reflexives with these verbs for emphasis:
- He dressed himself in spite of his injuries.
- She’s old enough to wash herself.
French is one of many languages that uses reflexive verbs (se baigner, se laver, se doucher, se peigner) and many students make the mistake of translating directly from their native language by adding a reflexive pronoun when not necessary.
For American English, About.com offers this:
- I get up, shower and have breakfast before I leave for work. (NOT: I get myself up, shower myself and have breakfast before I leave for work.)
We're going to do the dishes. Is she going to wash or dry? She is going to wash.
Elle va les laver = She is going to wash them. The verb "laver" requires an object, so you can't say "elle va laver". But for "elle va se laver", the verb is used reflexively to mean that the action of the verb takes place on the subject of the sentence. She is not washing dishes or the car or the bathtub or anything other than herself. You choose how you say that in your region of the English speaking world. There are many variations. But there is no doubt at all in the French that she is washing herself. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/pronominalverbs.htm
That's the interpretation that first occurred to me. Is there a native speaker that can explain whether or not "elle va laver" would be possible in French in this context?
[Edit: Here's an answer.]
In other words, in French, can the thing being washed be implied by the context, in a non-reflexive scenario, as it can in English, or is some pronoun (or other object) always required, regardless of the context?
Before translating anything, we must understand what it means. If we are given the English "she is going to wash" without further context, it would be understood by English speakers that she is washing herself. You cannot fill in missing dialog and then say, "it could be that". The reference to "self" in English is usually implied when using English verbs reflexively. When translating to French, the only way this meaning may be expressed is to use the reflexive form of the verb (se laver) which means that the action of the verb takes place on the subject of the sentence. Here are some other examples:
- Nous nous habillons = We're getting dressed
- Tu te baignes = You are taking a bath
- Elle se brosse les dents = She is brushing her teeth
- Il s'a cassé la jambe = He broke his leg
You cannot use "elle va laver" at all because "laver" requires an object. So you could say, "elle va le/la/les laver" to mean "she is going to wash it/them" without saying specifically what it is. The sense I am getting is that because we don't typically say "herself" in English when talking about washing one's hands, we may be tempted to go literal in French and say "elle va laver" for "she is going to wash" figuring that the French will also assume that it refers to oneself. It does not.
Don't get me wrong. I do understand reflexive/pronominal French verbs, including "se laver", and as I've said in another comment [though several of my earlier comments have now been scrubbed from the page], I do understand what Duo is getting at with this question. I've also stated my view that without further context, the English sentence is likely to be reflexive in its sense. As for your answer to my actual question, as a counterpoint I've found this in my research:
Note that in the part of the Twitter exchange I've excerpted, neither "laver" nor "nettoyer", both of which would generally be transitive, have explicitly stated objects; they have only implied ones. In English, I don't think leaving out the object would work in this context, because the thing to be washed isn't directly apparent enough, or perhaps because there's no other verb such as "dry" to contrast it with. In French perhaps it works because the semantic space for an implied object is "opened up" when the verb clearly isn't pronominal. (I take it that your view would be that these tweeters – twits? – have bad French grammar, which could be the case, but I don't have enough experience to know.)
As for your statement that we "cannot" imagine context, while we could call it perhaps a philosophical difference, the truth is that different contexts naturally come to mind for me when I read a lone sentence on Duolingo, and I'd say it's a great advantage for language learning. Your view is essentially that the context of the sentence is that there's no antecedent being referred to. Mine is that there's no context at all, and so I'm free to imagine as many contexts as I want or can. Until Duo starts providing paragraphs or dialogues, I don't think this is an unreasonable approach. I do appreciate that it's a challenge of Duo's system, and of moderating within it. You've done a fine job explaining the English and the French nonetheless. :-)
This thread is already way too long! In regard to the question at hand (not the twitter post), there is no need for an antecedent in "elle va se laver", because with "se", we have all we need to understand it perfectly without wondering or imagining a context for what she might be washing. As to the twitter post "qui va laver ?", it would not be taught as correct all by itself, but you can see in French-as-spoken-on-the-street, it has something we don't usually see here-- the backstory (context). So people who read that will know what it's about even though it may not be grammatically pristine. If those three words were posted alone, then let the imagination fly about what it could possibly be about.
It is a long thread indeed, but just a reminder, again, that it's the English sentence that's being presented for translation in this particular question, whereat the question of an antecedent (or none) arises, and whereat the imagination tends to fly whether or not one intends to let it. And then from English it flies to French, and then it lands in the Twitterverse, and so on...
Je suis francais et oui il y a une faute: normalement on dit "elle va SE laver" donc ils auraient du ajouter "herself"
I was very puzzled by this sentence, and though i ended up with adding the "se" i wanted to see the discussion. The English give no indication of what she is to wash, but it is a funny omission that it does not since the French translation requires it. My argumentation is that to my ear "Elle va laver" feels very "unFrench" I think, or hope that I'm beginning to get a feeling of French
It's worth noting that English speakers (with some exceptions, apparently) will understand the "she is going to wash" as meaning she is going to wash (her hands), not that she is going to wash some object, i.e., elle va se laver = elle va faire sa toilette. Remember that in English, we do not use a reflexive pronoun after verbs which describe things people usually do for themselves.
The structure in English is completely independent of the expression used in French. It's just that in French, the reflexive verb (se laver) is required to carry this meaning. In English, the fact that the object is left unstated is readily understood in the same sense as "se laver" but without putting "herself" as part of the translation. I.e., use French grammar for thinking, speaking and writing in French. Use English grammar for thinking, speaking and writing in English.
I don't know how some people get their taste for unnatural translations and ambiguous meanings. Please keep the learners in mind. They do not benefit from this controversy-clutter and opinionated positions.
It's not that controversial or ambiguous. There are only a couple of possible meanings, which are fairly simple if you cut through the noise of the discussion.
But as a native French speaker, can you help out by saying whether the French below sounds natural to you? If not, how would you translate the English sentences I've provided?
- It's time to do the dishes. Who's going to wash and who's going to dry? – Il est temps de faire la vaisselle. Qui va laver et qui va sêcher?
Ainleuh1's answer, for posterity, in case it disappears in the future:
The translation is correct.
The translation is correct. My claim is that less ambiguous sentences should be put to use in the beginner course, instead of subtle nuances subject to geographical variations whose only aim seem to stir the debate up.
why " elle va laver" is not correct. the traduction of "elle va se laver" is "she is going to wash herself".
This is thoroughly discussed already. In English, such references to "self" are generally left unspoken. In French, the reflexive verb is used. Don't assume that you are required to translate the "se laver" as "wash herself", but it is clear that she is indeed washing herself.
George, unfortunately for me Spanish use reflective verbs as well. In Spanish the translation to this sentence is "Ella se va a llavar" , "se" coming before the verb so I have to change my chip.