"Les rois écrivent les lettres."

Translation:The kings write the letters.

December 22, 2012

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The first profession I get to learn is king? A bit strange considering what the French did with their last king Louis XVI. :)


Don't forget that the Belgians also have a royal family and a great part of Belgium speaks French aswell ;)


Don't forget the 20-something francophone countries that DON'T have a king.


But this site teaches French French, and I know that because in most other French-speaking countries (other than France, including Belgium, refer to "breakfast" as "le déjeuner", and "lunch" as "le dîner", but this site teaches French French (French French is French spoken in France). Social Studies?


Actually, the last king of France was Louis Phillippe I http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Philippe_I


Because of this link, I spent the past 2 hours reading about the history of France (monarchies, republics and revolutions).


I agree, the first one I learned was prince, I don't think the french will be having any more of them in a hurry!


Louis XVI was not the last French king.


In a case like this, is it possible to know whether "kings write letters" is also an acceptable answer?


This is a tricky one, as English is peculiar in sometimes requiring no article, in ordering to make gnomic statements, but French always requires an article. To put our kings and letters in context, consider the following statements:

  • (1) The men make the phone calls, but the kings write the letters.
  • (2) Men make phone calls, but kings write letters.
  • (3) Men make the phone calls, but kings write the letters.

About these statements, I would suggest the following distinctions: 1) is specific statement about an instance of men, kings, phone calls and letters in which the phone calls were made by the men, and the letters written by the kings. 2) is a gnomic statement about men and kings, perhaps asserting that kings are superior because they take the time to write a letter, while men only bother to phone. Alternatively perhaps kings are aloof while men have the common touch. It doesn’t matter: the point is “men” and “kings” are the gnomic focus of the sentence - it’s about what men and kings do. 3) is a gnomic statement about phone calls and letters, allowing you to deduce that if you receive a letter, it must be from a king, but a phone call must come from a man. It doesn’t imply a value judgment like (2) did about men and kings, but more a practical point about modes of communication.

I would suggest the following translations for French:

  • (1) Les hommes font les coups de fil, mais les rois écrivent les lettres.
  • (2) Les hommes font des coups de fil, mais les rois écrivent des lettres.
  • (3) Des hommes font les coups de fil, mais des rois écrivent les lettres.

So in conclusion: no, “kings writes letters” is not a valid translation of “les rois écrivent les letters”, as would have to be “les rois écrivent des lettres”.

I’m not French, so this last bit may be hogwash, but I’ve read several French novels (Larousse de Poche in hand) and spent a while thinking this through (unfortunately after I submitted a correction for this question on a previous occasion, my apologies Duolingo), so I’d be interested to hear a contradiction from a French person.


Great reply. I really like the examples you used :)


You're right - I put down the very same answer and it marked me as incorrect. The articles "le, la and les" do not always directly translate into "the (noun(s)". For example, in this book title, "Le hockey pour Toujours", if you literally translated it, word by word, it would technically and literally mean "The hockey for always.", or "The hockey forever" yet the correct translation would be "Hockey Forever". This is why we can't always translate literally and word by word - French is DIFFERENT from English, and this is the very same reason why Google Translate is often wrong - it is programmed to translate word by word.


It isn't. I put it because it seemed to make the most sense.


In the slower version the second word sounds like it begins with a C.


It really did :/


Yes! I made a mental list of French words that start with cr- but none of them made sense in the sentence.


I thought "roi" sounded like "Quoi".


Yes, the audio is very misleading. To me, it sounded like "kwahv."


Yes, I thought they were talking about << les poires >> !

[deactivated user]

    I thought it sounded like, "Crois"

    I wonder if that's just how "Rois" sounds in french or if it's more of an audio problem.


    Yeah, I put << Les quoi ecrivent les lettres. > Even though I knew it made no sense. I just couldn't think of anything else that word could have been. I was not happy when I got the reveal. reported for the audio sounding incorrect.


    The audio here is terrible. The fast version sounds too robotic at the beginning like someone try to apply autotune and messed it up. The slow version seems to say "Les croix..."


    They really should disable that, it took me a half hour to figure out what was actually being said! It is primarily the female voice. I wish we had a way to switch to the male voice, for this sentence that voice is instantly recognizable!


    Should there be a liason between the 's' of rois and the 'e' of ecrivent.....les roiZ ecrivent........? Can any native French speakers advise me?


    The drop down hint for rois is kings or tycoons.

    Therefore I entered "the tycoons write the letters" on the grounds that : a) kings usually get somebody else to do that sort of thing b) most countries only have one, if any kings at all, therefore if it were a king it would be roi, singular.

    Thus I deduced if using the plural then in would be tycoons. But Duolingo has marked it as wrong! It says the correct answer is "the kings write the letters." Why?

    In my opinion this is just another example of the inconsistency of Duolingo. It is very frustrating.


    Language is sometimes inherently ambiguous - it is not just Duolingo's fault.

    Roi = king, definitely.

    One can also talk about a "roi" in terms of a modern day tycoon; a "king of the oil fields." Bill Gates I have seen called "le roi de la planète" - "king of the planet" and in that sense, or the sense of being the "king of his business area", he is a "tycoon."

    I think the inclusion of "tycoon" as a translation by Duolingo is a bit misleading - "roi" seems to be used as a descriptive term that implies a tycoon, in the same way we say "king of something [business related]", but I'm not sure it really does have a literal meaning of "tycoon."

    The vast majority of the time you hear and use "roi" it will be referring to a "king" be it a literal Royal king or being the figurative "most successful" person. You might not hear of so many kings and queens in France though as they don't have them anymore!


    Could I liaise 'roiZecrivent', please?


    Aren't' the kings write letters' and 'the kings write the letters' the same thing?


    No, because the first is a general act of kings and the other is that they're writing these specific letters. But what I don't understand, is why the first isn't accepted? How do we know when 'les' is 'the' or a generalisation?


    The audio pronounced rois crois.


    Can we please get the audio fixed on this? Specificially the words rois and roi. In another exercise roi sounded like quoi in slow motion. I absolutely wasn't expecting the sentence to be about a king at all. Not that the sentence makes any sentence as quoi, but I was at a loss as to what it really was.


    Im really confused about why 'les rois' uses an indefinite article but 'les lettres' has to be definite


    what do you mean AnjoMan: both of them look ... well, pretty definite


    Can we use "les rois" to mean "the king(s) and the queen(s)"? Or is it necessary to say "le roi et la reine" / "les rois et les reines"?


    I listened to the pronunciation several times. Am I the only one who heard "rois" pronounced as "quoi"?


    The ladies slow pronunciation of Les rois came out as Les Quoi. I only corrected myself when I replayed the faster piece. This problem has happened many times in the lessons before. Duolingo need to do better!


    In this lesson the lady is still has poor pronunciation of roi in the slow version which sounds like quoi. Terrible


    The new Duolingo dictées with the female voice have a much lower SOUND VOLUME than the originals. This is annoying and should be fixed.

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