"Is your son intact" is given as a correct solution - is this really correct English?
Is it correct - yes, there's nothing wrong grammatically. Is it normal - no. I might say it but I say all sorts of random abnormal things. I've never heard anyone else say this. It shouldn't be a suggested translation, I'm not even sure it should be accepted.
Grammatically, of course it's correct. What I should written is, "is this really how it would be normally expressed in English". I get where "intact" is coming from, but in this case "unharmed" would sound better since it's referring to a person.
I agree with these comments. In English, objects can survive intact, but people never do - they survive unharmed, or in one piece.
Doesn't sound too strange to me, given a context of some accident. Although "in one piece" is what I would personally use instead of "intact".
Most people would more likely say "in one piece", "intact" still sounds a bit odd but it does make more sense in that context.
If someone asked me: "Is your son intact?" It is such an odd phrasing, that I would interpret it as meaning "Has your son been circumcised?"
I come from a farm background, and "intact" in reference to a male means that there has been no castration. A bull is "intact" while a steer is not. Nothing whatever to do with "okay" or "unhurt." Really bad sentence in the English version.
Here's my mnemonic for цел: Recall the film Marathon Man where the character "Szell" asks "is it safe?"
As I have already written in response to another comment in this formum, цел" does not mean safe. It literally means either "in one piece" or "intact" - choose the one that fits the context.
"Цел" is a short form of "целый" - an adjective meaning "whole" or "intact".
"Safe" (adjective) in Russian is either "безопасный" (if you describe someone or something that does not pose danger to you: this car is safe) or "в безопасности" (if you describe the state of not being in danger: I am safe here).
Is this only used in circumstances where injury is a possibility (e.g. the son is a soldier, or there has been an accident)?
Or can it be used as a more general expression of concern?
e.g. "Is your son alright? He seems a bit tense."
Yes, it used in circumstances where injury is possible. Not in "Is your son alright? He seems a bit tense."
"In one piece" is used in many languages, if you think of it.
I'm surprised I haven't seen more comments about "alright" being used in this translation. I'm a native English speaker in the US, and it was drilled into me in school that it was "all right", not "alright".
Informal, but not necessarily wrong. It probably shouldn't be used in writing - but Duo is a hardly a purveyor of formal writing style.