Well, I can't say how hard it is for a foreigner to tell the difference, but there is a clear difference of pronunciation between "le" and "les".
- "Les" is pronounced like "mes" or "tes" or "lait"
- "le" is pronounced like "je" or "te" or "me"
I tried the sentence, and heard correctly, but I admit it's not that easy to make the difference. I guess you'll get used to it with some practice ^^.
If you type some of the phrases (or copy and paste) into Google translate, you can hear them a bit better. The pronunciation here is more realistic, in terms of speech, but not always as clear. Also, after you hear it together, try the slow version. That sometimes (sometimes) works for me :) I did that a few times and used Google, and can hear the differences much more easily.
I translated this as 'The vegetables and the bread'. I'm just wondering if anyone else tried 'The vegetables and bread' instead? Does Duolingo accept that? I know in English a 'the' can carry in cases like that (i.e., in that sentence, it's implied that the 'the' applies to both 'vegetables' AND 'bread', even though it's not written out both times). But it doesn't work the same way in French, and 'bread' (with no 'the') is probably a slightly better English approximation of 'du pain' than of 'le pain'. I'm not sure I'm making a lot of sense at this point ... I'm just curious about how Duolingo addresses those awkward overlaps in English and French.
No, but it's unnecessary to add words that are not present when translating. "loaf" can be translated as "miche" or even "pain" itself in some cases. If you see "pain" alone, there's no reason to use "loaf of bread". You should use "bread", and you can try "loaf" alone, even though it's not really a common translation.
In other exercises they say you can't translate 'le pain' as 'the bread', but as 'loaf of bread'. Now it's correct, in this exercise. Interesting!