I totally disagree that "our women" is misogynistic. In fact, the presumption that the word "our" (possessive) converts women to wives is what is misogynistic. What would I do if I were speaking at a gathering of women professionals, and I wanted to say something like: "You, the members of this organization, you are our women, and we hope..." I hear stuff like this all the time. "Wives" is clearly inappropriate in this context.
Seriously, politics aside, how could I say something like the above without calling the membership wives?
This just sounds strange to you because in English 'wife' and 'woman'' are distinct words, but in practice you will be able to tell from context weather the intended meaning is 'wives' or 'women'. I am Afrikaans and in Afrikaans we have the same word ('vrou') meaning both wife and woman, as well, and I can assure you you'll be able to tell from context. Afrikaans also has the same word for both man and husband.
English also has lots of homonyms but confusion usually only arises when they are taken out of context and any clues as to which meaning is intended are removed.
Yep, it's the same in Irish
'bean' = 'woman/ wife'
'mo bhean' = 'my woman/ my wife'
But unlike the people who only seem to speak English, it is always very obvious from the context, and there is only offence to be found if you go looking very hard for it. Likewise
'fear' = 'man/ husband'
'mo fhear' = 'my man/ my husband'
@Prateek. "Irish, Scottish and Welsh" are versions of the Gaelic form of Celtic. Old English was much the same but it would be very difficult to understand each other. Would you believe that such a comparatively tiny area of Isles would have such an enormous range of languages, dialects and accents? Even when we're speaking English to each other we have problems understanding just what's being said. I'm sure this is why we English just agree with everyone then go turncoat and do our own thing anyway and consider all other languages Wrong basically. :)
@Jackjon thanks for the explanation, old english really is quite interesting. As for the language diversity I can actually fully relate to that. I'm from India and in that tiny space we have upwards of 1500 languages, more than 10 of which are completely different with their own different scripts. It results in some funny moments and cockups. :)
I thought so too and wrote vous etes nos "femme" instead of "femmes". The 1st one would mean "you are our wife" (which most would agree is quite twisted), the second one would mean "you are our wives" which could very well be said by a group of men to their wives - possibly to placate them after a big fight ( ...but you are our wives!!)
I realised that the first sentence was also wrong for another reason. If we were to describing polyandry in french it would be Vous etes "notre" femme instead of "nos" femme.
Vous is the french plural for you. When it is used for "singular you" it is done as mark of respect probably for someone older than yourself or in a more senior position. This is not peculiar to french and is quite common especially in some of the asian languages.
Although i remember when i was learning french in School we were taught "vous" was spelled as "Vouz" is there a difference?
femme is woman but also is a common practice to use this work referring to a wife. This is also valid in Spanish. Ma femme. Mi mujer. This is not the same in English. Similarly, for a man homme, a woman can say c'est mon homme (Edith Piaf has this working in on of her songs). Also in the Spanish language a woman can say "es mi hombre". But for the men, homme (French) or hombre (Spanish) are used normally for an unmarried couple. The context is what clarifies if are woman, women or wife, wives. In the French and Spanish (Latin-american) there is nothing wrong or offensive with this type of expression.
But who, exactly, is really arguing that it's misogynistic in the context of your example? What I see is people arguing that when the context is that of a relationship, "my woman" is particularly gross. The reason is that a woman is not a type of relational role someone can be in; "wife" and "husband" are. So-called "possessive" adjectives need not imply something so sinister as ownership; this is quite obvious when you consider phrases like "my business partner" or "our vacation." When paired with "woman" though, it's hard to arrive at anything but a connotation of ownership or dominion, since it's not a role, an experience, etc.
I think it is incorrect because in french "wives" and "women" are the same word: "femmes". The difference is in the possessive form, if you say "ma femme"/"nos femmes" than it is possessive and means "my wife"/"our wives". Only if you say "femme"/"femmes" than it is just "woman"/"women".
It sounds a little like "vous," but it's "vos," which is a possessive word. Your wife = ta femme (for singular familar; your wife - for family member/friend), votre femme (for singular polite; your wife - for someone older/of higher rank/a stranger), tes femmes (for plural familiar; your wives - with family/friends) or vos femmes (for plural polite; your wives - for people older/of higher rank/strangers).
There are a lot of pronunciations that are the same for singular/plural in French, but there are a lot of times different words (different conjugations of verbs) are used. For singular, the possibilities are:
Vous êtes ma femme. Tu es ma femme.
Vous êtes nos femmes. Vous êtes leurs (their) femmes.
You have to listen a lot to verbs and possessive words to puzzle out the number of people speaking/being spoken to.
I really don't understand people complaining about the literal meaning of a sentence. The purpose here is to be able to string together various words in order to construct a meaningful dialogue in the future.
But for those who lack creativity and imagination............. imagine that an Army Colonel is addressing a group of women at some kind of ceremony. And that these women happen to all be the wives of his subordinates. And that his subordinates, who those not in the armed forces would generically call "soldiers" are overwhelmingly male.
The Colonel may refer to his "soldiers" as "my men".
If he is making an address on behalf of his men, to their wives, is it really unreasonable for him to say something like "My men are courageous and brave, but they can't do it without you. You are our wives. I'd like to thank you on their behalf for your tremendous support." ?
@Eddsworldboy. Respect. It is specific: "My Wife" , "My Husband". To differentiate between any body else's wife or husband. I, too am a feminist, albeit a bloke. I never said "My wife", I called her "Perfect partner" but I did still use the possessive "My" to differentiate her from any old perfect partner. How would you grammatically resolve this dichotomy then? Am I allowed to say "My Dad"? "My Mum"? "My Brother"? "My Sister"? But not "My Wife/Husband"? Please help me to be perfect.
In the 'type in french' type of question, 'femme' and 'femmes' sound the same. Why is singular 'femme' not accepted? Might there be some sort of sentence structure I am misunderstanding... Is 'vous êtes nos femme' a grammatically accurate sentence? — 'you (singular) are our woman (singular).'
Duolingo want u to translate the word or meaning of some sentence,not giving them some sentence..yes,its true some word are not so logically to be use in daily life but duolingo just want to give u understanding some word in french..u can redo ur sentence if u have known some meaning of the word..just my opinion..
I'm not sure what part of the sentence confuses you, but here's the advice I can give you based on what I understood to be your concern. It's true that vous can be both singular polite and plural (both informal and polite), but not vos, the possessive article, which can only be plural (informal and polite). If one meant "you (singular polite) are his wife" (I changed my to his on purpose because it would sound strange, even if not impossible, to be this polite with one's own wife), it would translate as "Vous êtes sa femme". Compare it to "You (plural) are their wives" : "Vous êtes leur femmes".
Thanks for the clarification. Essentially, I didn't like the English translation. When I translated the French sentence, I tried to get around "vous" being singular or plural by translating it as "all of you" instead of "you (plural)" and got the sentence wrong. What would the French translation of "all of you" be?
Notre=Our followed by a Singular noun. Nos=Our followed by a Plural noun Our child... Notre enfant. Our children.... Nos enfants. Look here: "www.about.com/fr/possessive adjectives" Dont just click on this link here. Type it in full (all that is within the " "). Everything is explained there.
Exactly. Very good point, and one I forgot to mention. :)
It is the same with "votre" and "vos," (possessive for "your"-formal and/or plural, or "your"-singular) one of those rare cases in which gender is not important. The number of objects being possessed is still important (the dog that belongs to you and your spouse - Votre chien, the dogs that belong to you and your spouse - Vos chiens), but votre and vos work the same for masculine and feminine nouns.
There are a bunch of good discussions to help you with French grammar, including possessive adjectives and pronouns. Yo can start with this discussion with references to many other French grammar tips discussions and that one with charts for different grammatical parts of French. Then, outside of Duolingo, there is this site which is very interesting for English speakers learning French, particularly this page and that one about possessives. And finally, for plenty of other external resources, have a look at this page from the unofficial Duolingo wiki.
Amazing. How do you know of these sites? Thanks. I am a Millipede yet I still cannot type fast enough! Why, when I suggest a site does Duo quote some of it in blue highlight and chop off some of the site's address and then delete your site addresses, place the reference in thin type so if I click on it up comes the site, yet the full address links I give are mostly unobtainable/go nowhere? How do you folks control this world?
Well, Some of these discussions I actually made myself, or I read about on other discussions. For the links, some characters are considered special by the Duolingo discussion engine to allow formatting, like bold and italic text, so if it sees it in a link, it will break it in parts. to avoid it, use this syntax : [Text displayed](Actual link with "optional alternative (mouse over) text"). No space between square brackets and parenthesis !. For the complete list of formatting you can do, search for "markdown", it should be the first result. Remember that all of it may not be supported by Duolingo.
Bastou, thank you so much. I am not young and I'm also computer illiterate. I am so sorry but I just don't understand the language you've used. Really and truly I think that I was i bit silly to ask.... I might have known the lingo-istic answer I would receive. (Please know that I mean I do not understand computer-language..) I don't have a mouse, this is a laptop. Truly, bless you for your willingness to assist me. I am so sorry, I just don't understand the words you've used. I was a fool to make this post. Please forgive me, I have wasted your time. After nearly a year since my first use of a computer and 9 months online I should know better than to make such an open post. Thank you so much for your time.
As if they don't know... The only possible situation I can imagine using this sentence is if I had friends and we all were married to women and suddenly they all had amnesia
"Vos" is a possessive adjective, used for plural items, and is either formal (the things are possessed by a single person who you are addressing formally/politely) or plural (the things are possessed by a plural "you"). Vos chassures sont sales. Your shoes are dirty. Vous is a pronoun meaning you, either plural or formal. Vous devez les nettoyer. You must clean them.
This statement is a little weird to me. Yes, we understand that the purpose is simply to learn how to structure and construct our own sentences but, I want to to also believe that cramming is an important aspect in learning a new language. If duolingo can use sentences that are readily used on a day to day basis it would go a long way to help facilitate the learning process because not only will one learn to construct the language but also cram it and use that sentence directly in practice
for example, instead of using 'woman' or 'wives'
I think one is likely to hear "You are our child" than "You are our wives"
I could understand this sentence being okay if vous were plural, but they use it as singular.
It doesn't. Nos=Our, so we are many and there are many wives; one of each belongs to one of us. When I was the last king of France (God it was so good then) I, the one singular person may have had many wives and they would have been "Mes Femmes" not "Nos Femmes" because they were "MY wives" not "OUR Wives". (Oh bugger, Kings and Queens refer to themselves as "WE" don't they? I saw what you did there! Very clever. Wont't change French grammar for usage nor learning unless you are next in line to the throne and I so hate to disappoint you, there aint no frone no moor in Frarnce. Ooo, common as muck inn I?)