Since your kind request was so nicely put, I have disabled the audio for that sentence. Therefore it will no longer be proposed in dictation so that nobody will have to make the effort of remembering that the sentence is in singular.
Duolingo is currently working on a better system to identify homophones and accept correct alternatives. It seems it is not an easy task and most of the time, the system still compares your (singular/plural) proposal to the written original (plural/singular) sentence.
Apparently, we still have to be patient...
Wouldn't "to them" imply that the direct objects are people? It seems like "She listens to them" would be better translated as "Elle leur écoute" as a pluralization of "Elle lui écoute" (She listens to him/her). "Elle les écoute" seems more like "She listens to those" since les is just the plural of le or la and "Elle l'écoute" would mean "She listens to that/it."
No, it does not work like that, because "écouter" is a transitive verb (no preposition need for the direct object)
"Les" can stand for human beings, animals or things.
- elle écoute son père => elle l'écoute
- elle écoute ses parents => elle les écoute
- elle écoute la mésange => elle l'écoute (checkadee)
- elle écoute un discours or une chanson => elle l'écoute (a speech or a song)
- elle écoute les musiques => elle les écoute
All transitive verbs (no preposition needed) will get the direct object in front of the verb, when that object is a pronoun.
"lui/leur" are indirect objects when the verb is constructed with preposition "à"
elle donne un livre => elle le donne (she gives it)
elle donne un livre à son père => elle le lui donne (she gives it to him)
thank you, that all makes sense, but the thing I don't get about this sentence in particular is that is seems like it should take a preposition after "écoute". "she listens TO them", so to me, a more correct translation should be "elle lui écoute". to me, "elle les ecoute" means "she listens them" which doesn't make any sense without the preposition. Is it simply that you can't think of it in this sense, of literal translations?
Thanks for teaching me this verb, Aasa. Still, one sometimes may hear a parent complain: 'I've already told my son a hundred times to be home by midnight, but he just never listens!' [implying 'a failure to obey the parent'] So I was wondering whether the French also use écouter in this particular sense.
"les" is a direct object pronoun, meaning that the verb "écouter" is directly transitive: its object does not need a preposition.
whenever a direct or indirect object (with preposition à) is a pronoun, it is placed in front of the verb:
- je les écoute
- je leur parle (verb = parler à)