I can only hear the 'в' in the normal speed audio, but not in the slowed-down version. I was able to tell it was meant to be there, because I could hear the 'е' at the end of 'группе', but this seems to be a rare case of the slow version being less distinct than normal speed. Can everyone else hear the 'в' at the beginning, in the slow version, or has it got cut off?
More precisely, the count Genitive plural used with numbers is человек. The form людей is used in other contexts (the Nominative plural is "люди"). It is also recommended with words много and мало (but not сколько and несколько), though not every speaker follows this last norm in actual speech.
That seems weird. So, the conversation would go like this:
- «Сколько там человек, на корабле?» спросил у лейтенанта генералиссимус .
- «Там много, много людей!», пьяный воин ответил. «Вы не представляете!»
- «Ну, давайте! Скажите мне, пожалуйста, сколько там человек?» спросил нетерпеливо разгневанный офицер
- «Там сорок человек! Это очень много людей, даже больше, чем у Вас рублей на банке!»
После только одного часа, его голова упала.
Whenever I use the microphone for reading exercises, it never recognizes the word сорок (or some other numbers for that matter), even if I pronounce it perfectly. I wanted to report it but I didn't get the option for it. Anyone else has this problem? It's a constant problem for me.
As a rule of thumb, I would say the literal translation is to be preferred, unless it would result in something no native speaker would ever say. "There are 40 people in the group" is just as natural in English as it is in Russian, so I see no reason to arbitrarily change it to: "The group has 40 people." After all, the Russian didn't use: "У группа (есть)...", which (please pardon any mistake) would be the Russian way of saying: "The group has...". So why replace what it actually says with something it doesn't, unless not doing so would result in a phrase that is unused or really weird in English?
Actually, we do concider these wordings equivalent—precisely because there is hardly any other way to say that in Russian. We do not use sentences like "У класса есть двадцать учеников" and rarely say something like "У моей комнаты белые стены". With enclosed spaces that have something inside and some other things that you'd use "in" with, it is almost always "В моей клмнате", "в группе".
"People" is already plural, it doesn't need an extra 's'.
You can have "peoples" plural, but that would be when you are talking about multiple nations or races, e.g. to say a country was home to many different peoples, or was conquered by many peoples. But in a group of 40 individuals, they're people, not peoples.
While "люди" is usually treated as a plural form of "человек", it's technically is a different word. And as such it's an uncountable noun (i.e. a mass noun), so you can't use it to, well, count people. You can say "много людей", but you can't say "сорок людей" because the latter doesn't make sense grammatically. Therefore "человек", even if normally it doesn't have the plural form, have to step up and fill the gap.
That does not make a lot of sense—after all, you can easily say сорок детей or even сорок суток and сорок ворот; finally, you can say десять молодых людей (but clearly not десять молодых человек).
Some nouns just have a different count form, like with год or many units (e.g., вольт).