"The horse is eating an apple."
Translation:Лошадь ест яблоко.
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This is an artefact of the decision by the creators of the Russian→English course to translate "the" as "этот/это/эта" in order to acquaint Russian speakers with the utility of English definitive articles. Some of the exercises from that course "leaked" into the reverse (i.e. this) course. Hence the unnecessary "эта".
So you are correct: "эта"="this/that" while "the" should be typically dropped in translation: it should be obvious which horse is eating that apple form the context.
Sometimes it accepts typos, ie. typing е in stead of э, but forgetting the "ь" marks the sentence wrong. I don't mind or anything, but I don’t really get what the ь even does. Spelling is hard. I keep writing "тш" in stead of "ч" as well, never going to get the difference between ч ш щ and ж, haha.
Ь indicates palatalization of the previous consonant, and is used in case a softening vowel cannot follow the aforementioned consonant. (If it's followed by another consonant or nothing.)
This is perfectly explained here: http://www.alphadictionary.com/rusgrammar/spelling.html
Edit: Oh, and, by the way, "есть" is the infinitive of eat, and has a similar effect to putting "to" in front of a verb in English.
The above is explained some way down this page: http://www.alphadictionary.com/rusgrammar/verb.html
This website is the business for concise, accurate explanations of Russian grammar: http://www.alphadictionary.com/rusgrammar/index.html
ч = ch, ш = sh
ж is like ш, but with added voice.
щ sounds like sh, ahem, in the beginning of the word here at 2:21 mark
ь ("soft sign") usually indicates that the preceding consonant is soft. It's difficult to describe the difference between hard and soft consonants, you should search for videos explaining it, e.g.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roevsN1zBl4. The difference between the Russian word нет and english "net" is pretty much that the sound 'n' in the Russian word is soft.
It will often accept typos, as long as the word typed isn't a different word. If I type buys but mean boys, it'll most likely be marked wrong; if I enter bopys, it'll probably just give me a typo message.
I assume it's the same in Russian, but my vocabulary isn't yet big enough to know valid words that are spelled similarly.
Not quite. Do not mix the indefinite/infinitive forms and the present tense of verbs.
The indefinite/infinitive form:
to eat = есть; to be = быть
Present tense, 3d person:
eats = ест; is = есть.
As for "to have", Russian has a somewhat unconventional way of expressing this idea: "I have X" = "у меня есть X", which literally translated into something like "X is by me". So still, "есть"="is" here.
В качестве законченного предложения, это звучит странно - не то время. Present Simple "eats" используется для описания обычных или повторяющихся действий. Поэтому нормально звучали бы "the horse eats apples" (лошадь ест яблоки) или "Every day the horse eats an apple" (каждый день лошадь съедает по яблоку). Ваш же вариант "the horse eats an apple" означает "обычно/регулярно лошадь ест яблоко. Согласитесь, это звучит странно.
Do you mean grammatical difference of difference in pronunciation?
In any case, ест is a present tense, 3d person, singular form of the verb есть (to eat).
I.e. ест = eats while есть = to eat.
However, есть can also be a present tense form of the verb быть (to be).
As for pronunciation, you have to train your ear: to native speakers "есть" and "ест" sound differently. Try forvo.com to hear how natives pronounce these words.
Well, yes they are different words, but I'll assume you are referring to pronunciation. Yes, they are pronounced differently. The difference is very subtle and hard to hear if you're not a native speaker (which I am not), or not used to listening for it. The difference is in palatalization of the letter т.
I have seen a lot of people asking about this kind of thing so I just wrote a post you can check out here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/27291227
Hope it helps!
I see that "apple" remains "yabloko" here and doesn't change
But as far as I know there is an accusative case in Russian (my previous comment should have been 'what happened with the accusative case here?')
I haven't googled much about it, and I guess there must be a lesson for it (I haven't checked), so don't bother explaining it to me for the moment, later I'll know :) (unless you want to)
The nominative forms look like this:
этот — masculine
это — neuter
эта — feminine
эти — plural (all genders)
(you can find the full chart on Wiktionary)
«Это» also doubles as “this” in the sense of “this is ...”, in which case it doesn't decline for gender.
Also, all those words start with the letter Э.
- Есть — to eat, ест — he/she eats (or is eating)
- Есть also can mean posession (e.g. у меня есть яблоко — I have an apple)
This exercise must have migrated from the English course for Russian speakers. Since Russian does not have articles, and they don't come naturally to Russian speakers, the creators of that course have made a decision to mark English "the" with Russian "этот/это/эта/эти". This is clearly not ideal, but I can see the rationale for this, which is explained (in Russian) here.
In any case, both translations (with and without "эта") are accepted here, so I am not sure what exactly you are objecting to.