I answered "The birds are in the tree.". Since this is counted as wrong, yet "Birds are in the tree." is correct, I'm assuming that word order here indicates an indefinite subject. Is this a correct understanding, or simply a Beta-Stage problem that needs addressed? Thanks!
Great! I checked it out and the examples you listed there were both a great help and seem to confirm this definite/indefinite subject idea. Here's an explanation I found under Russian Grammar from our reliable friend Professor Wikipedia.
"There are no definite or indefinite articles (such as the, a, an in English) in the Russian language. The sense of a noun is determined from the context in which it appears. ... Word order may also be used for this purpose, compare "В ко́мнату вбежа́л ма́льчик" ("Into the room rushed a boy") and "Ма́льчик вбежа́л в ко́мнату" ("The boy rushed into the room")."
Professor Wikipedia is absolutely right. :) Hope we helped to resolve your confusion!
I answered "in the tree are birds" and it told me it was wrong. Not very pretty I admit but is it grammatically incorrect English?
I'd say, there are birds in the tree, but it's something a child might say. Most adults would never say it.
ok I seriously have no idea when to use "the" and "a". Why is "there are birds on a tree" not accepted? The sentence is not clearly pointing any particular tree. I know in Slavic languages it is hard to establish this, since we dont use anything similar to distinguish nouns like in Germanic languages. Its just getting frustrating for me in these lessons :D :D Its probably a stupid idea but couldnt in these cases Duo accept both cases with definete and indefinete nouns? I dont know about Russian, but I know for sure that in Slovak and Czech and as far as I know in Polish too, the word order is not important in the sense of making the noun definete or indefinete. But maybe Im wrong. But as a native speaker of Slavic language I find this just as putting Germanic language grammar mindsetting into language where this aspect does purely just not exist. Correct me if Im wrong please.
I am a native Polish speaker and I can confirm that there are no distinguishing nouns so without context there is no way of telling which tree we are talking about.
See above; in English, you would virtually never say that anything (or anybody) is ON a tree, always in.
Even if the bird is sitting on the very top, on the tallest little branch, in English -- it's still IN the tree.