How does this sentence work? I was going to ask 'is רצים an adjective here?', but no, then it would be 'running'. Are clauses allowed to be subjects of prepositions in Hebrew? I don't think they are in English (or Russian) (though in Russian I don't think they're allowed to be direct object either?)
I'm also learning, so take this with a grain of salt and wait for natives to confirm.
It's not exactly an adjective. In Biblical hebrew, that form (which is mostly the present tense in Modern Hebrew) was basically equivalent to the present progressive (i.e. the -ing form in English). So it's roughly equivalent to "running". When you say אני רץ, I think you're basically literally saying "I running".
No, it's not are; as noted I speak Russian, I'm totally used to languages without a present tense to be.
So, ok. "the children run" is a clause - it can be it's own sentence. 'ילדים רצים' is likewise. In English, you can, as shown above, say 'I watch the children run'. There 'the children run' seems to be the object of 'what' (like in 'I watch movies' the object would be 'movies').
But, as we see, in Hebrew "צופים" (unlike 'watch' in English) needs a preposition.
As far as I can tell, the clause thing would then be incorrect in English - you can't say 'I walk to the children run' or 'I am sitting beside the children run'. It would have to be 'the children running' (which is not a clause itself). (Though come to think of it, you also can't say 'I love the children run', so this seems to be more complicated somehow...).
But in the Hebrew sentence, since there's a preposition, this parallels the above mentioned sentences rather than the English 'I watch the children run'. So I'm asking how this works in Hebrew, since it seems to be different than English and I don't think we've learned this.
(Thank you for your responses everyone!)
I think you're onto something. It also accepts we watch the children running. On a similar exercise it does not accept I see the woman stand; the correct answer is I see the woman standing. So while it could be the different verbs for to watch (followed by a preposition in Hebrew) and to see (no preposition), my guess is that's basically interchangeable. (Native English speaker).
I'm not sure of the actual answer to your question about clauses in Hebrew.
What exactly are you looking for, the discussions? Ok open your browser and make sure it's in desktop site/mode/view. In desktop view you'll see at the very top from left to right: Duolingo, Home, discussion, labs. If you don't see this you're not in desktop view. If you can't figure it out let me know which browser you're using on what operating system (windows, Mac computer or smart device, android etc.) and I'll send you instructions.
Yes, the discrepancies in design of the sentence discussions between apps and web, and between iPhone & Android apps, seem to mirror the disorganization of DL's resources overall.
However, since I don't know what the app was like a year ago when you posted that comment, I'll just mention that a comment posted now to a sentence discussion in the Android app automatically enables the "Following Discussion" setting for that page, which is a bookmark to it. Unfortunately, that's useful only on the web (catch-22!): from the "Discuss" link to the main Duolingo Forum page, click on the "Followed" tab to access those pages.
Using מסתכל in terms of watching tv is interpreted as you are looking at the television as an object (and not looking at the screen and what it shows....) - more like "to look at the television". Therefore it's better using צופה in that case, unsless you do mean you are looking at the whole object.
צופה = watches
מסתכל = looks
As in every language, it takes time and practice to figure out which prepositions go with a particular verb, which is one of the reasons that prepositions are so difficult when learning a language. The preposition that goes with a verb in English is often not the same preposition in a foreign language (leaving aside the varieties of English). A person could make a list of verbs that take ב in Hebrew. For instance, "to touch" in Hebrew: החתול נוגע בנחש, "the cat touches the snake" (example derived from DL). Another verb "to watch": אנחנו מתבוננים בים, "we watch the sea." It doesn't mean that we watch while in the sea. "To choose" is another verb that we've seen in DL: אנחנו בוחרים בדרך, "we choose a path." The verb "to hurt": נפגעתי ברגלי, "I hurt my leg." The verb "to fail" also takes b: האשה נכשלת במבחן, "the woman fails the test." The verb to "use" takes b: אני משתמש בטלפון, "I am using the phone." Often טפל takes b: לטפל בנושאים, "to attend to matters." Sometimes the prep. in modern Hebrew is not the same as in ancient/classical Hebrew, possibly through the influence of European languages or Yiddish, depending on the case. Other verbs take other prepositions, such as "to be angry" in Hebrew takes the preposition ˁal: אני כועס עליך, "I am angry at you." "To be afraid of" in Hebrew takes m: הוא פוחד מהחושך, "he's afraid of the dark." Etc. Unfortunately, my little Dov Ben-Abba dictionary does not specify when a verb takes a particular preposition, so I have to try to keep track myself or find a dictionary that does.
The construction [verb of perception + direct object + participle of an action verb] seems very European to me, but I suppose this construction is quite common: אֲנִי שׁוֹמֵעַ אֶת הַגְּ֫בָרִים בָּאִים I hear the men coming or אֲנִי תַָּמִיד רוֹאֶה אֶת הַיַּלְדָּו קוֹרֵאת סְפָרִים I always see the girl reading books.