"from Czech, from robota ‘forced labour’. The term was coined in K. Čapek's play R.U.R. ‘Rossum's Universal Robots’ (1920)."
A quick google says that Czech and Russian share about 40% of their vocabulary, so I'd say you're right to spot a connection.
Robot is a word made up by a Czech guy indeed. The word "robota" is common among many slavic languages. For example, in my language - polish - "robota" means job/work. For example "good job!" in polish is "dobra robota!".
Can someone recomend me a good self study book for learning russian? I'm a beginner.
I was told "что" was obligatory in sentences like these in written Russian, making the correct sentence "Ты думаешь, что он много работает?"
It is more obligatory in such environments than in English. However, when stating opinions in positive sentences, "Думаю" can be used without "что" and even without a pronoun oftentimes ("Хм.. Думаю, ты прав"~"Hm. I think you are right"). In less formal sentences "говорить/сказать" works like that, too.
Note that "that" is dropped in way too many cases in English. For example, in "Я не думаю, что он много работает." you can drop "я" but not "что".
Is the audio unnaturally fast or is this kind of elision to be expected?
Sound rather slow to my ear. I could tell you more if you detailed which part was hard to hear.
If the pronunciation of М in много is what seems strange to you, remember that /n/ and /m/ are both nasal sounds that may sound less distinct when placed next to each other. Russian labials are also less tense than the English ones; the lack of any puffs of air in /p/ is most notable for an English speaker (e.g., папа, потом, пицца, пусть).
What is strange is that the two words are bonded together....the second syllable of много is completely reduced....
If -го and ге ending are pronounced like -во and -ве, e.g его, него &t, should много be pronounced мно́во?
Nay. Only adjectival and adjective-like Genitive endings are read like that. Много is just a word ending in ого—actually, its "ogo" is traced all the way back to Proto-Indo-European (monogʰo/menogʰo). The English "many" was built from the same root.
Also, the word for "today" сего́дня is pronounced with a в. The archaic pronoun сей "this" has a paradigm similar to этот, тот and какой, so сего́ is pronounced /сиво/.
this sentence is hard to understand because mnogo rabotaet runs together with the robot voice
Is it correct that the pronunciation sounds more like 'mnogo/mnoga' as opposed to the 'mnovo/mnova' in similar constructions of '-ого', e.g. 'этого', 'Американского', 'Его'?
"Work hard" might be not the exact meaning, but don't you think this also doesn't apply here?
Много работает gets run together in the audio and sounds like one word, with много almost disappearing. Is that the way a native speaker would say it, or is that just an artifact of DuoLingo?
Am I just completely lost or are some syllables not pronounced sometimes. Most of the words I am hearing are the same words but sound different by the same speaker in other examples. Here I am not hearing много only ного and hear работе not работает. I can sort of hear it on the regular playback but when slowed down the pronunciation is way off to me.
What's the difference between много and очень?? I have them both as "a lot/very much"