Translation:We had produced a lot of cheese.
The accent is there to break up the dipthong. When you have an "i" and an "a" together, it creates a dipthong - where something that would usually be two syllables gets pronounced as one.
"i" + "a" = a "ya" sound. (Sorry I can't think of a Spanish word to use as a good example)
Without the written accent, "habiamos" would sound more like "habyamos" instead of "hab-i-AM-os"
The emphasis should be on the "am" because words that end in "s" have the accent on the 2nd to last syllable. The written accent over the "i" makes this possible by breaking up what would otherwise be a dipthong.
That is an excellent link! The pertinent paragraph, in case anyone wants to see it in a hurry, is this:
"In some words, a strong and weak vowel or two weak vowels don't merge together but instead form separate syllables. In those cases, a written accent over the weak vowel is used to show the distinction. A common example is the name María. Without the accent mark, the name would be pronounced much like MAHR-yah. In effect, the accent mark turns the i into a strong vowel. Other words where an accent mark is used to keep a weak vowel from becoming part of a diphthong include río, heroína, dúo and país."
In all their examples, the accent is on the accented syllable (at least, I think so!) so I'm guessing that habíamos is a less-than-common exception.
I had this question too, and think there is a little more nuance than what was said earlier. The rule seems to be that the accent means that that letter gets the stress, which would indicate pronunciation as ha-BI-a-mos. My friend from Nicaragua agrees. However, I think in the course of conversation, the stress can be softened, so the word ends up coming out with less stress on the "i". Here are sample audio files from another site: http://forvo.com/word/hab%C3%ADamos/ and http://forvo.com/word/hab%C3%ADa Also, in later exercises the "i" is stressed more.
If the speaker and group are female, would she always use "Nosotras", or is it something she does if she wants to convey that it's an all female group?
Would she be wrong (or thought to be intentionally misleading the listener) if she were to use "Nosotros", or is the masculine always an acceptable default?
I'm not quite knowledgeable about the use of "many" and "much", so I just tried to write "many cheese". It was not accepted, but I've also seen it's counterexample downwoted here in this comment section, that is "much cheese". So I'm confused now. Which of them is correct? I would have thought that "many" is reasonable, because you produce those huge round things, called cheese, which is obviously countable. Any help?
"Many" only goes with a countable, plural noun. "Cheese" is mostly a mass noun, so you'd normally say "much cheese" (or "a lot of cheese"), referring to it as a single unit. You can also say "many cheeses" if you want to talk about different kinds of cheese.
The huge round things are not called "cheese", but they are "wheels". If you want to talk about multiple of those portions, you have to include the proper unit name: "many wheels of cheese", "many loaves of bread", "many bowls of soup", and so on.