Since I first came across the usage in this example 2 months ago I have been exposed to the notion of French use of le/ la to mean all examples of something which is the way way that Duo determines la to have been used in this phrase.
English: I like the soup (meaning the soup on the table, menu etc.)
French: J'aime la soupe. (very specific, the soup on the table, menu etc.)
There is another way to speak of soup which is to say: I like soup, any soup, all soup where there is no soup on the table, in fact there isn't any soup anywhere really but just the general idea of soup. Since French requires an article for most nouns and they don't have a general type article they have decided to use le/ la with a different meaning to serve that function.
I like soup (all soup, the idea of soup). Note the lack of an article makes it general.
J'aime la soupe. (all soup, the idea of soup). French requires an article. Absent anything else. la.
How can you tell which use is intended? Context.
Without any context, as this phrase is, you can't.
Why does Duo take the heart away if we can't be sure? I can't speak for Duo but I can tell you that the consequence of losing a heart for me was to spend a lot of time in the comments section reading explanations, following suggested links and doing my own research to arrive at my current understanding (for whatever that is worth).
Had Duo taken my use of la to be specific and thus included in the translation, as being correct I would have been that much longer before discovering that there is another widespread, different use of la/ le.
What you say is correct in general but not in this case or those that are similar to it. You cannot use du/de la in direct connection to an appreciation verb. You can use du/de la with an action verb in conjunction with an appreciation verb but not when expressing only appreciation.
J'aime la soupe = correct
J'aime de la soupe = appreciation verb plus de la = incorrect.
J'aime boire de la soupe = correct
Verbs that express appreciation.
I guess the French notion is that if you like/appreciate something, you either do or you don't. No, sort of like. If you want to quantify or limit your appreciation, you use a different construction. ....I like certain chocolates, I like particular wines...... Otherwise, you like them all or just the one you are talking about. General or specific but not du/de la/some.
you can't drop the "la." for a general like of a thing, you always need the definite article. "j'aime la soupe" means "i like soup," in the most general sense of the word "soup." If you wanted to say you like the soup from this particular meal, you would say "j'aime cette soupe," meaning "i like this soup." all of the words in french referring to like/dislike (aimer, adorer, detester, etc.) require a definite article to express general like/dislike of a thing.
You're right. You can say "J'aime cette soupe", but if your mum made a special soup for you, and you say "Maman, j'aime la soupe", it would be easy to understand you don't talk about soup in general, but a particular soup, a definite one, your mum's soup. You won't say "J'ai aimé cette soupe" to your mother, but simply "J'ai aimé la soupe!" (implied: the soup you made this evening)
I'm sorry I didn't make self clear. I don't mean to drop the la from the French. I mean why does Duo drop the la when translating it to English.
Cette seems too specific for what I'm getting at. I like the Navy is different from I like this Navy. I'm surprised to read what you say when suggesting that when the French are asked if they want the salad or the soup they would respond with I want this soup even if they didn't know what the soup was.
"J'aime" can be "I like" or "I love", depending on the context.
When you say "aimer" with a person, it's "to love" in general. J'aime ce garçon = I love this boy. When you use "aimer" with object, it's "to like". J'aime le chocolat = I like chocolate.
"Adorer" is another thing, it's always stronger than "aimer".
"Love" is too strong a word for describing appreciation for "soup" as concerns the verb "aimer". "Aimer" only means "love" when referring to people or pets . If you want to say that you love the soup, you would say "J'adore la soupe". See here for a thorough explanation. http://www.duolingo.com/comment/736970
Actually I just found the discussion - after a google search - it is two comments up from your post!! ThanKwee explained it clearly and posted a link to one of Remy's posts, which is also worth reading. It is always a good idea to read the whole comments section before posting a question, because often the question has been asked (and answered) before. You can always post a thank you or give an up-vote to the person who gave the answer so they know it has helped :)
Yes, that's incorrect. The contraction is mandatory. Read here to learn more about contractions in French. http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-contractions.htm
It is hard to say the words je and aime close together without them running into each other. This is called a vowel collision, where the last letter of one word is a vowel which is then followed by a vowel as the first letter of the next word. To avoid the collision, some words are contracted by placing an apostrophe to show the deletion of the unnecessary vowel, much as it is done in English.
I am going to = I"m going to. The difference is that in French you must contract to avoid the collision. In English it is optional.
In this case it is:
Je aime = vowel collision which must be contracted
Je aime is contracted to J'aime
Jaime does not have the apostrophe and is incorrect.
English isn't (is not) has the apostrophe to show the deleted vowel.
isnt (is not) does not have the apostrophe and is incorrect.
Other words have the same vowel collision and use the apostrophe to join them together. Some other vowel collisions are handled in a different way because of special circumstances.
I have found that if the "typo word" exists in the target language, it is not usually marked as a typo, and you lose a heart. This is because DL has no way of knowing whether you actually think that aimer means to lime, as in lime the lawn in the summer, or lime the walls or catch something with birdlime etc.
If the word you type accidentally (with a typo) doesn't exist, then usually it will be counted as a typo and you won't lose a heart (eg perhaps if you had written I libe/lile the soup, it would have been a typo.
I thought that "J'aime la soupe." could translate to "I would like the soup." (I typed the contraction "I'd like the soup." Is this wrong, and if so can someone explain it?
If anyone does German, is that like the difference between "Ich mag ... (I like)" and "Ich möchte ... (I would like)"?
Right. I see what you were getting at. In English, in the right context, saying that you like the soup is an indication that would like to have it. You are offered a choice, one of which is soup, and you respond with .....I like the soup.
That is a social custom type of speech for which I do not have the answer. It is a good question though! It seems likely that it would be true in French as well but maybe not. I hope a native French speaker can answer it.
But what if "I" like the SANDWICH M_O_R_E?!?!? Would that matter? I think this is a very opinionated question! Anyone else? Why is the CORRECT ANSWER: "J'aime la soupe" (English: I like soup) and why is "J'aime la sandwich" WRONG or INCORRECT????? Please help!!! -Thanks and Hope to hear from s_o_m_e_o_n_e soon!!