Is старики only used about old men, or is it also the plural of a generally older person (regardless gender)? And is старка (or старца, I don't know) an old woman?
Старики can be used to refer to 'old people' in general, when speaking about both old men and old women. 'Old woman' is стару́ха, but it feels even less polite than 'старик' somehow.
In general, I think «стари́к» is not too polite either. I'd usually say «пожилы́е лю́ди», «лю́ди в во́зрасте» or probably even «лю́ди поста́рше» (although this one is probably too euphemistic: 'people a bit older') instead. Even «ста́рые лю́ди» sounds a bit more polite than «старики́».
Agreed completely. The word might be used, however, in phrases like Даже старики не помнят такого снегопада (even old people don't remember such a snowfall). Старуха is definitely a derogatory term, tend not to use it if you don't dislike a person very much).
Thanks a lot! I guess the politeness level must be the same as the Danish word "gamle". It's not nice to say, especially not directly speaking to someone. :)
There's a reduced but noticeable А after ст.
The real problem with this sentence is the intonation: it is seriously wrong. Also, the pronounciation of Б is unnatural.
Is there a difference between the pronunciation of -ит and -ят? It is difficult to me to recognize which ending should I type.
Only when they're stressed. So, in лю́бит /'lʲubʲɪt/ and лю́бят /'lʲubʲɪt/ the difference is not audible (except in extra-careful pronounciation or some dialects), but in боли́т /bɐ'lʲit/ and боля́т /bɐ'lʲat/ it's audible.
My variant was "The elders love to read". I didn't report it as I'm not sure whether I'm right or not. The Longman Dictionary says about elders: "a social group who is important and respected because they are old". I guess it's not completely synonymous to "старики"... Though, people in russian villages can say "старики" about the oldest people living there, who know a lot and in general are respected. Would "the elderly" ("people who are old" - Longman again) work better? Would Duolingo accept that? Has anyone tried? Should "elders" work too?
I have the same doubt. My variant was "Elders love to read", and it was considered wrong because of "elders".
Well, elders is polite and respectful. (As is elderly, though less so.) And according to the above comments from native speakers, старики is not polite at all.
So elders/the elderly seems indeed wrong to me.
«Любить» is only translated ‘to love’ when it refers to people. When «любить» refers to things and activities, it is translated ‘like’.