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Thanks for all your help on this site, and for your good advice. I don't want to offend, but your suggestions here are a bit misleading. "Les" has the same sound as the first part of Canadian English "eh." Start saying "eh," but don't move your mouth, and you've got it. Likewise with the vowel in English "bay," "hate," "pray," etc, but also just the beginning. English "bet" does not use the same vowel as "les," but as French "bête" or English "pet," "pen," or "hen." "La" is like N. American English "car" or "law," not like "bat." I think this sound doesn't exist as a plain vowel in British English (RP, anyways), but only as part of a dipthong (a sound made of two combined vowel articulations), like "buy." "Le" uses the same vowel as English "the."
I agree with you... I have had hard times for a few months to match vowel sounds from French to English and vice versa, because of various English accents around the world (not to mention French accents in Paris vs regions + Canada, Belgium, Switzerland...). Many English speakers here express "les" with "lay" which is wrong (because of the diphtong). I tried to find simple equivalents but since there is always a consonant after the 'è'sound (pen, pet, bet, etc), it is not an easy task. When I learnt English, we used a specific phonetic alphabet which I cannot use here, but that was very convenient and accurate. It also happened that English speakers would deny the existence of diphtongs (bay, late...) and swear that "lay" was perfect, while some French would say that "les" sounds like "lé" and not "lè". And to make it worse, the Duo voice sometimes pronounces very badly: "personne" sometimes is said "persônne" (cost-coast). Frankly, I don't know what we could do to agree on those nuances. Thanks for your comments, I appreciate your help.
I think we understand each other. BTW, by "specific phonetic alphabet," I assume you mean IPA or APA? I completely agree that IPA and a basic understanding of phonetics is extremely helpful in learning languages, as in the examples you give. It's a shame that more people don't learn a little linguistics. Also, yes, the Duo voice is not always correct. Cheers!
"les" sounds like "leh" with a clear eh sound. "Le" sounds almost like "loh" because in french, when the "e" has no accent and is not followed by s, it has a very closed pronunciation. Like trying to shape your lips like you're about to say "oh" but while keeping that shape say "eh" instead. That's somewhat the sound of an unaccented e, something between an "oh" and an "eh", but going more towards the "oh".
Aimer can be "like" or "love", it depends. When you say "j'aime les robes", you mean "like", unless you say "j'adore les robes", that is strong. When you say "J'aime Jean" it's stronger than the "aime" in "j'aime les robes", if you want to say "I like John" you would say "J'aime bien Jean", "aimer bien" has a lesser stength than "aimer", you can say also "J'aime bien les robes". *** aimer bien < aimer < adorer
I would say that "j'aime les robes" is too short a sentence to really make a definite statement of the degree of sentiment involved in it. It is true that like and love are both translated by aimer, but only context would tell how much you "aimes" something or someone.
- "J'aime mon fils" is certainly stronger than "j'aime le lait"
- "J'aime la soupe" is a general statement about the fact that you like the taste of it.
- "J'aime bien la soupe" can have a different meaning if you add "but not everyday" than "I eat some every day".
I had trouble with this one too, but mostly because the audio is extremely indistinct at standard speed. To summarize:
J'aime les (lay/leh) robes. = I like the dresses. (Definite article. The correct answer here.)
J'aime des (day/deh) robes. = I like (some) dresses. (Indefinite article/partitive case. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_articles_and_determiners.)
J'aime mes robes. = I like my dresses. (Possessive.)
The latter is what I thought I heard here at standard speed, since the 'm' of 'J'aime' sort of slurs into the next word.
Eh, c'est la vie...
Why not just 'I like dresses'? I know it says 'les', but apparently that is used to signify a plural that does not refer to all items, but only to some items. For example, according to a previous question, 'I like red dresses' translates to 'J'aime les/des robes rouges'. You insert 'les' even though there is no 'the' in the English sentence. I'm still pretty confused about this issue.
That's correct too, with or without 'the'. It depends on the context, either dresses in general (no 'the') or specific ones (you're seeing, talking about,...). Either way, you must use 'les' in French.
But if you mean 'I love dresses' as in 'some dresses but not all of them', then in French it would be 'Jaime des robes'.
No, "I love dresses" is a generality in French, to be constructed with article "les". Not only because it means dresses in general, but also because all appreciation verbs (aimer, détester, adorer, préférer, apprécier, haïr) are naturally constructed with definite article le, la or les.
That is not really true as a rule and no help at all.
- "J'aime des robes de chez Chanel, mais je préfère leurs jupes" : grammatically correct and natural, even though you'd probably say 'J'aime certaines robes de chez Chanel" to be more precise.
Anyway it's not that appreciation verbs are 'naturally' constructed with "les" (there's no such grammar rule), but just that most of the time saying "I like / love / prefer..." will mean a generality - but not necessarily.
On the other hand what about thoses examples without verbs like that :
Dresses are womens clothes
She says dresses are not made for her
In both cases you'll use 'les' in French.
At the end of the day the idea of generality is more important and virtually 100% true (basic sentences at this levels).
To which extent does your comment help learners exactly?
Indeed we would say "j'aime certaines robes de chez Chanel" and not des robes.
A generality is a notion that derives from the meaning of sentences, notably with appreciation verbs: j'aime les robes indeed means j'aime les robes, en général.
That concept of generality used with appreciatioin verbs is a way to help learners grab the difference of meaning and construction between partitive and non partitive cases and the appropriate use of articles. It seems to be working for most learners, but if you have something else to propose that would be better, please be my guest.
Generalities, as I wrote already a number of times and on related threads, are not exclusively linked with appreciation verbs. They are often universal truths or adages, or statements recognized as "general": les chats voient la nuit, les hommes sont plus forts que les femmes, etc.
There was no point explaining the latter on this very thread: when learners ask a question on a specific sentence, I reply with comments that are specific to the sentence.
My first answer was very specific to the initial question - your comment about appreciation verbs led me to develop more, in order to show that it's not true - again, as a rule.You will use "le/la/les" most of the time with those verbs because you will probably mean a generality, but -again- not necessarily.
The example I gave is totally correct, French is my mother tongue and there are hundreds of examples I could give you with "apprecitation verbs + indefinite article".
J'aime des robes dans ce magasin / Il y a des robes que j'adore dans ce magasin = "There are (some) dresses I love in this shop"
J'aime bien un peu de jazz de temps en temps, mais pas tous les jours = I like some jazz now and then, but not every day.
Tu préfères quoi pour Noël, des jeux ou des livres? Je préfère des jeux!!! I prefer books!
J'apprécie une critique si elle est justifiée = I appreciate a critic when it's justified.
If you tell me those examples are wrong (in French, sorry if my English is not accurate), then you either lie, haven't properly learned French or we strongly misunderstood each other.
The rule of generality applies with those verbs too. In ENGLISH though, you'll have to be more precise and use 'some' to imply 'not all of', otherwise it can mean 'all of them'. If you insist on saying "J'aime certaines robes ici", then you really mean 'certain ones, a few of them, specific ones', whereas "J'aime des robes ici" rather means that sometimes you see dresses that you like here.
What you said, although not wrong per se, can be misleading. No offense. X
@yossing. I like red dresses= j'aimes les robes rouges (and not "des robes rouges") I like SOME red dresses = J'aime des robes rouges, but you would rather say "j'aime certaines robes rouges, because j'aime des robes is UNNATURAL. @ElGusso No, "j'aime des robes",can't be translated by "I love dresses". J'aime des robes (but it's better to say: j'aime certaines robes): I love SOME dresses. I love dresses= J'aime LES robes.
J'aime les robes = is a general meaning (I like dresses in general) OR is not a general meaning, (I like the dresses I saw), it depends on the context. In this sentence, they didn't specify if "the" dresses are definite, i.e known, why they are known (is it the dresses that I say or my aunt's dresses?) or if they talk generally, for all the dresses. Elgusso, no offenses, but I can' believe your a French native and you consider "j'aime des robes" as grammatically correct. It is not in my opinion, I agree with Sitesurf. Some people may use it, it doesn't mean it's grammatically correct, the correct form is to use "certains/certaines", I could find some French lessons where it is explained, but it's a useless debate.
Believe or not, I am a native French speaker. :-) No offense taken by the way, how can you tell online?!? ;-)
Read my comments again, I agree and confirm that "j'aime des robes" without a context doesn't SOUND NATURAL but:
it's not a grammatical mistake per se;
it can be used with other words in the sentence, and/or phrased otherwise, without using "certaines" which is more specific. Example (already given): "Dans ce magasin, il y a des robes que j'aime / que j'adore", i.e. "In this shop, there are dresses that I like / love The expression "il y a... que..." makes it sound more natural and it is COMMONLY used, but in principle, it is the same as "dans ce magasin, j'aime des robes".
It's just that "psychologically" (if I may say so), there's a sort of paradox between "aimer quelque chose" and the article "des" which is undetermined (if you say you love something, it's generally determined).
- and indeed, the issue here is more about "aimer" than "les / des xxxx" as "the / no-article / some xxx", because of what I've just written above. But grammatically, it is important to know that "j'aime des robes" could mean, IN A CERTAIN CONTEXT, "I like dresses" - even though it's not likely to be used as such.
To illustrate this, just change the verb "aimer":
- je porte des robes = I wear dresses.
You'd never say (to speak generally), "je porte les robes"; only in a certain context / another meaning (again!) could you say that (e.g. "Je porte les robes, toi tu portes les vestes" or whatever; then it would be "the" in English: "I wear/carry the dresses, you wear/carry the jackets").
So it is useless to say "No that is wrong", because all those subtleties of context / meaning will come little by little to the learners; whereas they need to know from the very beginning that there is no "absolute right or wrong", no absolute translation to that question of "les / des". Because then you could have lost and confused learners who, like on another discussion, do not understand why "Il parle des sandwichs" can mean "He's talking about the sandwiches" and not "He's talking about sandwiches" (as they've learned that "des" is "no article" in English).
Finally, the original sentence here "J'aime les robes":
without a context and "naturally", it would be "I like dresses".
but "I like the dresses" is not a grammatical mistake (again, imagine you're in a shop, you hate all they're selling except one thing, "It's all rubbish.... ooooh! But I like the dresses!!"
It's not about "je porte des robes", it's about using "des" after "aimer", and it's a very common beginners mistake. I don't think you should encourage them to say unnatural sentence like this, it shocks the ear. You're right, in some very particular cases, according to a very specific context,you can say that, but it's not about particular cases, it's about learning what it sounds correct and what is not. Encourage people who pass a test to say "J'aime des robes" instead of "J'aime certaines robes", and you will see they won't say you "thanks".
So, basically and very roughly (but please read other posts):
with OBJECTS, CONCEPTS, etc.:
I like [dogs / philosophy / spaghetti] = J'aime [les chiens / la philosophie / les spaghetti]
I love [same examples] = J'adore [mêmes exemples]
I like him / her = Je l'aime bien (from "Je le/la aime bien" ---> "le/la" before a vowel both become " L' ")
I love him / her (as in "He/She is so cool / my idol!") = Je l'adore
I love him / her (as in "I'm in love with him/her) = Je l'aime
Of course, you have lots of synonyms/variations with other verbs, just as in English. These are the basic, direct, translations.
Robe, the different meanings: 1/ long feminine dress (elle a une robe, she has a dress) 2/ an animal fur (la robe du chat est noire, the cat's fur is black) 3/color of the vine (le vin a une robe rouge, the wine has a red robe) 4/ the advocate or judge's clothe (le juge a un robe noire, the judge has a black robe)
Sooo question (sorry to ask you yet another question lol):
Love is adore and like is aimer, from what I undrestand... But in French can you LOVE objects? Like in Spanish amar doesn't work for notebooks or cars, it would be encantar... So I don't know if there's another word in French for love, or if you can just love objects and people the same like English? haha Sorry that's a funny way to put it, but that's my question!
Just like in every language, words have more than one meaning depending on the context and even the tone in which they're pronounced. There is a song called "Je t'aime", if you go listen to it you will know immediately that she's not talking about "liking", it's something more. So that one can be used for both. J'adore, for what I know, is stronger that the previous one but can also be used with objects or activities. So, maybe j'aime manger would be I like eating, and j'adore manger would be I love eating. But if someone looks at you in the eye and whispers "je t'aime" and then kisses you, I'm fairly sure you can asume that person loves you.
Check this cool dictionary with some examples:
(copy-paste the URL I think clicking them is not working well)
You have two separate words in English "love and like" while in French, there is only one "aimer". To express the difference of sentiment, you will generally use adverbs in French : "je l'aime beaucoup" is "I like him (very much)". "je l'aime profondément" is "I love him/her (deeply".
You don't only have one word, as written above, there is "adorer" which -depending on intonation, context, etc.- has generally a weaker meaning than the English "to adore". Example, you will never say "I adore waking up early on holiday!", rather "I love waking up early...". Whereas in French, it won't sound weird to say "J'adore me lever tôt pendant les vacances". So in this case, "J'aime les robes" is in principle and without any context "I like dresses", but imagine a person (let's say, a French Paris Hilton, no pun intended) saying "Oooooh, j'aaaaaaaaaaaaaime les robes!", you could of course translate this as "I looooove dresses!". On the other hand, "I love you" (with violins, candles and the rest) is definitely "Je t'aime", since "Je t'adore" is either more friendly or more revering, again depending on HOW and to whom you say it. Imagine that bunch of funny, crazy friends to whom you could say "Oh I love you guys!", well in French you could say "Oh, je vous aime les gars!" but "Oh, je vous adore les gars!" will sound lighter in its form while as strong in meaning. Put simply, "aimer" with objects is quite neutral, whereas with people it (generally) takes that ô so romantic, I-am-talking-serious-kinda dimension...
Sometimes people say, "I'm crazy about...." It means they like it a lot something like "adorer" or "aimer beaucoup": but I don't know if "I'm crazy about.." literally word for word into French would have the same meaning as in English. I have a penpal in France who seldom writes to me anymore. Many years ago in 1973 when I first started writing to her, she tried writing to me in English and ended one of her letters "Better friendless" and I felt very sad about that. Then later I realized she meant "Bien amicalement". She usually ended her letters with "bien amicalement".
I couldn't understand her English at all so I told her to write in French. At the time she wanted to use "tu" for "you" but I told her that I didn't know the verb conjugations for "tu" and in school I was still learning French and we used "vous" in school. So regardless of the rules about "tu" and "vous", decades later, once in awhile she emails me and we still use "vous". One of the reasons why I'm doing French practice is I never use French in my daily life and my penpal only writes a short email once every couple years. I can understand her but can't write what I want to. I used the Google Translator sometimes when I replied to her so I could say more what I wanted to say. They say, "Use it or lose it".
For words that begin with h or a vowel, the 's' in 'les' will be pronounced. For feminine words, you can tell that it is plural because if it was singular, 'la' would be used. For normal masculine nouns, you'll have to listen out for the conjugation of the verb. If it's 'sont', it's plural. If it's 'est', it's singular.
The google translation as suggested earlier in this column clearly says "la robe" with an "a(h)" sound and "les robes" with a "e(h)" sound, and no "s" sound as noted. In my ears, the Duolingo speaker makes "la" and "les" sound identical, even when I crank up the sound level.
It depends what or who you like/love:
He loves his wife = il aime sa femme
He likes his colleagues = il aime bien ses collègues
He likes red dresses = il aime les robes rouges
He likes chocolate a lot = il aime beaucoup le chocolat
He loves chocolate = il adore le chocolat
Note that you can nuance the degree of "liking" with adverbs to complement "aimer": un peu, beaucoup, passionnément, à la folie, énormément, etc.
That is another meaning, not the kind of coat you'd wear (generally in winter etc.) ; that would be definitely "un manteau", and absolutely not "une robe".
But 'the coat of an animal' is "la ROBE d'un animal", and strictly in that context, as far as I know.
Also, "la robe d'un vin" is "the colour of a wine" (or its texture, I am never sure of what it refers to, I'm not much of an oenologist...).
It's because the dictionnary doesn't give the context. the words "coat" and "robe". are not interchangeable as the written definition seems to mean. Look at this: http://www.ikonet.com/fr/ledictionnairevisuel/images/qc/exemples-de-robes-52932.jpg Sometimes the barriers are blurry between the concept of "robe" and "coat", but in French, you can't use a "un manteau" for "une robe" and "une robe" for "un manteau". If you say "une robe", all French will understand a lawyer robe or a feminine dress, it you say manteau, it is already something like this: http://goo.gl/chX23e There is also: une cape: http://goo.gl/GSqTla une toge: http://goo.gl/XxbXOB une tunique: http://goo.gl/iavk05
Don't feel too bad about it. Physiologically, our ears and palate kind of "freeze" around the age of 10-12. That means that learning languages should be done before that age to be sure you hear all sounds and can reproduce them with your mouth. If you have a good musical ear (if you sing well, in other words), that is an advantage. If you are a good accent imitator, good for you. If not, work on sounds as advised by Andrew8510 and do your best!
it's not very optimistic! That's true it's hard to have a good accent in a foreign language, but having a bad accent doesn't prevent you from learning and speaking a language. If it was the case, I won't be able to speak English with my friends. :-) To have no accent at all, you have to live several years in a country, and only some people manage to get rid their foreign accent, but it doesn't matter.
I know you might find this a bit ridiculous, but there is a children's song about the pronunciation of the french "r". I found this page which refers to it, http://kiboomukidssongs.com/french-songs-and-lyrics-la-lettre-r/ I am also helped by the sentence "la robe rouge, les robes marron, le garçon rich, les garçons riches" when I listen to it in Google Translate. Marron means brown in french.But I will agree with Sitesurf and note listening to the french news online is the best way to improve your listening skills. I like listening to the french channel TV5 Monde, I really like all the accents I hear there, though I sometimes don't understand very young people using slang language or people from the French country. Try watching TV5 here http://www.free-tivi.net/europe/play/19/TV5-Monde. Hope that helps.
No entiendo, porque "Les" siendo del femenino y "Robes" siendo masculino van juntos, es decir, al ser "Robes" una palabra de genero femenino no se supone que debería ser "La" como en los demás casos, por ejemplo: "La femme", "La pomme", cuando se hace excepción a esta regla?