apprendre / enseigner / apprendre à

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by charlie2, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. charlie2 Senior Member

    I am sure there must be a simple answer to that, but I have never grasped the difference.
    I know that "enseigner" is to teach. Is it right also to say:
    "J'apprends qqchose a qqn." for " I teach someone something."
    Does "apprendre" also mean "learn" ?

    Moderator note: multiple threads merged to create this one
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2013
  2. Benjy

    Benjy Senior Member

    Milton Keynes, UK
    English - English
    je lui ai appris à lire for example.. i dont really know what the difference between the two verbs is in all honesty, the appropriate one to use in a givin situation is something i just learnt over time =[ try searching the forum, im sure we've had threads on this before

    after careful winnowing of the forum.....

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2013
  3. fetchezlavache

    fetchezlavache Senior Member

    metz, france
    enseigner can only work one way : knowledge goes from teacher to pupil

    apprendre words both ways, knowledge goes from pupil to teacher, and also from teacher to pupil.
  4. tchev

    tchev Senior Member

    Dublin, Ireland
    France, French
    enseigner = to teach, but is generally more related to education (school, university...)
    j'enseigne les maths à l'université = I teach mathematics at the university
    je vais t'enseigner les maths = I'll teach you mathematics (from a to z, long class hours ahead)

    apprendre = to learn
    j'apprends les maths à l'université = I learn mathematics at the university

    apprendre à quelqu'un = to teach someone
    je vais t'apprendre à faire tes lacets = I'll teach you how to lace your shoes (no need for long courses here)
  5. charlie2 Senior Member

    Et donc,
    J'ai appris a faire mes lacets quand j'etais bebe.
    Ma mere m'a appris a faire les lacets. (m = a moi)
    Mon professeur m'enseigne le francais. (m = me )
    Tout ca, c'est correct?
    Another question:
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2009
  6. emma42 Senior Member

    North East USA
    British English
    Bonsoir tout le monde.

    J'entends que "apprendre" veut dire "to learn" dans la plupart de cas, mais est-ce qu'on peut l'utiliser comme "to teach" quelquefois?

    Est-ce que quelqu'un peut m'expliquer dans quelles situations on utiliserait "apprendre" pour "teach"? Quelques exemples s'il vous plait?

    Merci d'avance.
  7. anangelaway

    anangelaway Senior Member

    Dans ce cas-là Emma, ce serait 'faire apprendre', voici une définition :

    Source - TLFi

    Voici des exemples trouvés :
    - Grandgousier décide de lui faire apprendre les lettres latines par un théologien réputé, Thubal Holoferne.
    - Comment faire apprendre des connaissances abstraites.

    J'ai trouvé également ce site qui peut t'interésser :
  8. emma42 Senior Member

    North East USA
    British English
    Merci anangelaway. Angel, j'ai sauvé (?) ce site pour l'étudier plus tard. Je suis trop fatiguée! Merci.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2013
  9. vince Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    I recall hearing instances where "apprendre" by itself means to teach
    How about "je vais t'apprendre à nager" or "Je vais t'enseigner à nager"? My suspicion was that "apprendre quelque chose à quelqu'un" meant to teach someone a skill whereas enseigner is for teaching a subject matter (i.e. school)? or does one of them always work in place of the other?
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 19, 2013
  10. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    One instance I myself use "apprendre" to mean "to teach" is when I say:

    "On m'a appris que.." - "I was taught that.."
  11. Gil Senior Member

    Français, Canada
    Exemples tirés du Petit Robert:
  12. emma42 Senior Member

    North East USA
    British English
    Thank you, mes amis. And thanks, vince, for "enregistrer".
  13. meltem Senior Member

    Lyon, FRANCE
    I've always wondered why while speaking english some French and Dutch people (and maybe some other nationalities I don't know) use "to learn" in the sense of "to teach" like "he learnt me" because it sounds very funny to me. I think this should be the answer.
  14. uman Senior Member

    Phoenix, Arizona, USA
    English; USA
    I have heard native English speakers do that, but it's not considered "correct English" and many people look down on it as "low-class speech".
  15. utomow New Member

    Hi all,

    I just learn french for about 6 months and get very enthusiast.

    I want to know what is the difference between the verbes:
    "apprendre à and enseigner"

    When do we use apprendre à and when do we use enseigner?

    Many thanks in advance.

  16. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    :) Bienvenue au forum, utomow.

    In short:

    Apprendre - to learn.
    Enseigner - to teach.
  17. utomow New Member

    Hi Pete,

    thanks for the prompt response, I actually know "apprendre" alone means to learn. But when I check on my English-French dictionary the word "teach", it shows up with 2 translations: one is "enseigner" and the other "apprendre à". Checking with word reference also gives these two results.

  18. poliphili

    poliphili Senior Member

    Oxford, OH
    Here's one distinction: On apprend à quelqu'un à faire quelque chose. On enseigne à quelqu'un une doctrine (la grammaire, l'histoire...).
    Ex. Jane apprend à Jack le foxtrot.
    Jane enseigne à Jack l'anglais.

    Je peux t'apprendre à faire du vélo, mais je ne t'enseigne pas à faire du vélo.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2009
  19. utomow New Member

    Hi Phil,

    please correct me if I am wrong in summarizing your reply:

    So, apprendre à is used when one teaches a skill (how to drive, to solder, to saw etc.) to someone and enseigner is used when one teaches a lesson (math, physic, biology etc.) to someone.

    Thanks in advance.

  20. pointvirgule

    pointvirgule Senior Member

    Mtl, QC
    langue française
    That's a good way to look at it, although in real life the distinction is not always that clear cut. For instance, elle m'a appris le français is attested by the Larousse dictionary.
  21. poliphili

    poliphili Senior Member

    Oxford, OH
    I agree, it isn't all that clear cut. But "apprendre à" is broader (skills and fields of knowledge). It's "enseigner" that I would never use for skills, only fields of knowledge.

  22. utomow New Member

    Thanks a lot guys,

    At least I know the difference although it is not that "clear cut". But at least I have some guidance and hopefully as time goes by I could pick up the senses of these verbs.

    Merci beaucoup!
  23. Mauricet Senior Member

    near Grenoble
    French - France
    Apprendre (+ noun) is broader (skills ans fields of knowledge) : J'apprends la cuisine, les mathématiques et le code de la route (I learn) ; Elle m'apprend la cuisine, les mathématiques ... (she teaches me).

    Apprendre à (+ verb) is for skills only : J'apprends à nager et à conduire (I learn how to swim and drive) ; Elle m'apprend à cuisiner (She teaches me how to cook).
  24. iddoc New Member

    Dallas, TX
    English - American
    As a beginning french language student, could someone tell what would be the best way to translate the phrase, "I am trying to learn French better."

    Could one say, "J'essaye de mieux appprendre français" or "J'essaye m'enseigner français"? Or some other way?
  25. florence a Senior Member

    J'essaie de faire des progrès en français.
  26. Guill Senior Member

    Français - France
    J'essaie d'améliorer mon français.
  27. DeeleyM New Member

    Gold Coast, Australia
    English - Australian
    I understand these 2 verbs can mean the same thing; to that right? Are there specific instances where each is to be used, or can they be interchanged ramdomly?

  28. monsieurp_ Member

    Graz, Austria

    They don't mean the same thing.

    J'apprends le Français - I learn French

    J'enseigne le Français - I teach French
  29. misterk Moderator

    Boston, MA, USA
    Apprendre can mean "to teach", in this construction: apprendre quelque chose à quelqu'un (to teach something to someone).

    If you look up enseigner in the WR dictionary, the first few discussion threads deal with the apprendre/enseigner distinction. See if they help.
  30. DeeleyM New Member

    Gold Coast, Australia
    English - Australian
    Thankyou for the suggestion. I've also looked at Laura Lawless' explanation, and I must say I've become even more confused! :confused: (I failed her test miserably). But I WILL!!, very soon, get to understand when to use the different verbes (for 'to teach').

    I'm wondering if, in the meantime, I accidentally got mixed up and said/wrote...for e.g.

    'je vais éduquer mon fils à skier', or 'Chantal enseigner la guitare à mon ami'...would my attempts be understood by French speakers??? ...just interested.

    D :)

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