In sentences like "This is #" or "These are #", you use ONLY the unchanging это regardless of the gender and number of what follows.
However, when "this" is used before a noun (in a position where you could use "my" or "your", not mine or yours), it behaves like any other adjectives. To be more exact, it conforms to reflect the gender/number/case of the noun (following a roughly adjectival pattern of endings).
- Russian has no gender distinction in plural, so, by all rights, instead of "gender and number" we should use gunber ... Maybe. Some day.
Duolingo also has another audio clip of this and it is completely un-recognizable, but there is no option to report it if one gets that one wrong. So I feel this might be adequate to post here. Native russian speakers also listened to the "other" sound-byte and were perplexed. The audio for this phrase was a little better, but we already had fore-knowledge of the phrase from the "WTF is that" audio clip.
Noun: m anim (genitive льва, nominative plural львы, genitive plural львов)
From Proto-Slavic *lьvъ, likely a borrowing from a Germanic language, ultimately from Latin leo, from Ancient Greek λέων (léōn).
Many ancient languages possessed similar words for lion, including Akkadian labbu (reconstructed to Proto-Semitic *labiʾ-, whence Arabicلَبُؤَة (labuʾa, “lioness”) and Hebrewלָבִיא (lāḇīʾ, "lioness")) and Egyptian rw. It is unclear which of them are related and who borrowed from whom. The ultimate source is likely not Indo-European, however.
About the pronunciation (consonant clusters), would a native Russian understand what was meant if you said something like 'левы' instead of 'львы', at least if it's in context? I'm not intending to learn things wrong, just interested in what you would understand (but consider weird) and what would just be totally unintelligible?
I know the British commentators liked pronouncing Даниил Квят (racing driver) approximately as "Ки́виэт", he was probably used to it but I wonder what other Russians would think that is?
Это is singular neuter determiner (это молоко, "this milk"), but also is the invariable equivalent of "this is/these are" (so, это львы means "these are lions", and not *"these lions", which would be written instead эти львы [because эти is the plural determiner for all genders]).