I don't agree. We were taught by DL that there is a difference in counting in English and French. If there is one thing per person, the Frenchpeople use singular and the Englishpeople use plural:
- They lost their hats = Ils ont perdu leur chapeau.
Therefore They leave their meals should be accepted.
No, I don't believe so. I believed it was "Il laisse leur repas," too: He is leaving their meal. You know, he was upset and left their meal.
Out of context, I didn't even think of, "They are leaving their meals." No, I knew it was not "Il laise son repas." Not a very good sentence out of context.
Hi Neil -- This has more to do with English than French. It could be "They leave their meals" if we mean to say that each person leaves multiple meals (for example if both lunch and dinner were prepared for everyone). If the intended meaning is that each person leaves one meal, which is more likely, "They leave their meal" is the best answer.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they (See section on Variables)
But can ot not also be " they leave their (respective) meals"? "They leave their meal" sounds to me as though multiple people are leaving the same meal, perhaps together. But if the people in question were at different meals and they left their respective meals, would it not be "ils laissent leurs repas"?
Sure, "they leave each of their meals" could make sense as another interpretation for the English phrase "they leave their meals." But in terms of translating "Ils laissent leur repas" from French, it should be meal (singular). See giuliap's explanation for why a singular 'meal' is appropriate with leur (rather than leurs).
I can see it both ways (and you confused me for a moment with my name :D ). But I prefer the plural. If "they" are at a restaurant for supper (as an example), and each one leaves his meal, they have then left their meals. There's also the dreaded context problem here; it would help to know more of the situation.
But at least we know what Duo wants for this example. And I for one will be ready to accept the plural when Duo insists on THAT in the next lesson. :(
But not in all cases!
laisser tomber means to drop / to let down / abandon / leave in the lurch
Elle l'a laissé tomber sur son pied - she dropped it on her foot
Ne me laisse pas tomber - don't let me down
laissez-moi rire - don't make me laugh (Idiom)
laisse faire - never mind
The general structure when laisser means let is:
laisser quelqu'un faire quelque chose - to let somebody do something
je ne peut pas vous laisser entrer - I cannot let you enter
Ils ne les laissent pas jouer - they did not let them play
Elle le laisse prendre une photo d'elle - she let him take a photo of her
What I was trying to point out is there are some idiomatic phrases with the structure laisser followed by an infinitive where laisser does not mean let
rien ne laisse penser que ... there is no reason to think that
ceci laisse supposer que - this seems to indicate that
Uh, not to be pedantic, but they're not "romantic" languages, they're "romance" languages, meaning they are descended from Latin. The other reason French seems so similar to English is because English has so many words derived from French (about 10,000 I read somewhere). Many (but not nearly all) of these words were adopted during the 100-150 years after the Battle of Hastings when French was the official language of the English court.
Yes, French, had an extreme influence on English, bringing English from the Old English period into the Middle English period. The French's assumption of England turned English on its head. It added to our languages rich diversity. There are many words that were borrowed two or even three times from French. Take royal and regal, which were both borrowed from French, one from Parisian and one from Norman French. Without the French influence, English would be far from the language of today, and would most likely resemble something much more akin to German, or even Norwegian.