To what extent is double marking used? Is it mandatory or just very common?
I would go with very common. Let's say that we talk about just the girls. Noi le spionam. Or just some boys. Noi îi spionăm. But if we have girls and women saying just "Noi le spionăm" is not enough, we have to specify whom (pe cine?). I think they put all this double marking to make it easy for the translation from Romanian to English. It would be enough to say in Romanian "Le spionăm" Le shows me it is about a feminine plural person and the ending of the verb, spionăm, shows me it is about us. But if I want to translate it in English I do not know on whom we are spying without context.
my understanding is that the 'le' here is mandatory, whereas of course specifying "pe fete" is not. but taking out the 'le' would not work. it's very common, and may seem redundant to many.
the definite form is generally not used in prepositional phrases, except sometimes after 'cu'. @potestasity has an excellent note on this somewhere, which I'll try to find...
That is my understanding too. And in fact this is a common feature of languages in the Balkan Sprachbund, or 'Language Area'.
Hi Thomas_Slo. I'm not exactly sure why it is "fete" and not "fetele". But I think that the "le" for them and the "pe" for on means the "fetele" isn't necessary. "Le" would also give the context for "fete" to mean "the girls" and not just "girls". However, it might just be a feature of the language, as PaulMinden in the comments above states that "the definite form is generally not used in prepositional phrases, except sometimes after 'cu'. " Hope this helps!
Hello and thank you for your input. I think I can get used to the fact that no definite article is used after any (?) preposition. But does that mean that the Romainian language fails to distinguish between "We spy on girls (as in girls in general) and "We spy on the girls" (that we talked about)?
Thomas_Slo, thank you for making me brush up my grammar! The sentence is Noi (we) le (them) spionăm (spy) pe (a preposition asked by the Acusative Case— on) fete (girls). In this sentence "pe fete" is the direct object required by the Acusative Case. "Pe cine spionăm? Whom are we spying" "Pe fete". To use "fetele/the girls" we would say "Noi spionăm fetele". In both examples it could be in general (we spy every girl) or in particular (we spy the girls that we all, speaker and listener, know). There is a third option, but requires an additional word to describe the girls "Noi le spionăm pe fetele frumoase/deștepte" (beautiful/wise). About prepositions: they are an unflexible part of the spoken language that link an attribute or a direct object with the part that determines it. You can have a definite article after a preposition as in the third option from above, but it need more words to describe it : Mă (I) îndrept (am going) spre (toward) parcul (the park) bunicilor (grandparents'). Hope it helps!
So "noi spionam fetele" is correct as well... or I misunderstood something?
Hi. So in this sentence, "le" is connected to the fact the there are girls (plural) "pe fete" being spied on, while "spionam" is connected to we "Noi". And "le" means them and is mandatory, as I gathered from the other comments. So literally, it is: we them spy on the girls? So, does the mandatory part always follow the pronoun, or is it that it must always come before the verb? I've noticed how the possessive determiners always come after what is being possessed. Is this a similar thing?
I don't know about this being "a similar thing", except to suggest that it is more a matter of word order in sentence structure. But your "literal" translation does sound approximate though "we [on] them spy on the girls." may be a more full rendition of your attempt.
My partner, a native Romanian, says that this is a mistake by Duo. Fete is girls, and fetele is the girls. Therefore they should not mark it incorrect when we write in English "we spy on girls"