"J'aime regarder jouer les enfants."
No, your construction does not work. It means "j'aime regarder les enfants (en train de) jouer", which is the equivalent of the continuous "playing" form. closer to your proposition, you can have : "j'aime regarder quand les enfants jouent" (when the children are playing).
Could you explain why two infinitive verbs work together here? Not knowing the rule/explanation, this looks like "I like to watch to play the children."
A number of verbs are possibly followed by another infinitive verb: j'aime faire, je regarde faire, je laisse faire, je veux faire, je peux faire, je dois faire... When two of them are combined, like in this example, you can have two infinitives one after another.
Note that "watch the children playing" uses "playing" in the gerund form, which is more rare in French and not used the same way as in English: "je regarde les enfants en écoutant de la musique" = I watch the children while listening to music.
But i think "jour les enfants "here means "play the children " and that seems not to make any sense...would you explain it ?
I hear you, I've never before seen three verbs strung together like this. Is this construction purely situational (depending on the verbs), or is there a general rule here?
There is another way to avoid a 3rd infinitive: "j'aime regarder les enfants qui jouent"
But the construction proposed indeed depends on the verbs, with the first one (the conjugated one) allowing the use of an infinitive (equivalent of "to Verb" or "Verb-ing" or "at/for/from Verb-ing))
Aah...I think I finally get it.
Until now, I didn't realize "regarder" is followed by an infinitive...so because of "aime", "regarder" keeps its infinitive form and because of "regarder", "jouer" keeps it infinitive form--is that right, Sitesurf?