It's because French requires an article (le, la, les, de, des, un, une, and others) even if you aren't trying to say "the". Most of the time, like in this instance, les just means in general. << J'aime les chats >> for instance can mean "I like cats in general" unless you've been discussing specific cats.
The definite article in French is always used with uncountable and plural nouns when have a general meaning. When they refer to a limited amoun, the partitive articles (du/de la/des) are used. Compare these sentences:
J'aime le pain = i like bread (bread in general)
Je mange du pain = i eat bread ("some" bread, a limited amount of bread)
Following the same logic, you have to say "J'aime les hommes calmes" = "i like calm men (in general), and "J'aime hommes calmes" is ismply ungrammatical.
One thing you should also remember is that unlike in English, nouns in French are almost always followed by some kind of determiner, so if there's nothing before a noun, there's a good chance it's a mistake, and the way English and French use articles is also quite different and articles often don't match when translating.
I had the same problem. Thanks for the explanation. When I replay it, I can hear the Z sound in the fast version but not in the slow version. I guess we need to refer to the slow version for clarification and then listen to the faster version to get used to hearing it as it would be spoken in conversation.
I wonder if you read the above notes clearly? You need to NOT have the article, that is leave it off in English. An article in French (it seems from rest of discussion) means all of a thing, or all those things in general, e.g. men in general. Unlike in English where the article implies a specific one of those things e.g. either a specific man or a specific group of men that is already known. SO if you used NO ARTICLE in English, and you still got it marked wrong, then I guess you should report it. However if you USED THE ARTICLE in English, then you did in fact get it wrong.
If another comment (which I can't find) is correct, the issue here is simply the use of the preference verb "aimer" (... "adorer" and "péférer" are two other examples of preference verbs) instead of any other verb (e.g., "manger"). That is:
J'aime les haricots == I like beans in general
J'aime des haricots == I like some beans (but not necessarily generally)
Je mange les haricots == I eat the (specific set of) beans (i.e., not generally)
Je mange des haricots == I eat beans (either some or generally)
Having said all of that, the excellent DeepL translation service, which has never made a single error in my experience with it, claims that your answer, "J'aime des hommes calmes" should be accepted by DuoLingo as a very reasonable translation of "I like calm men" (generally)!
In the phrase pronunciation, you can hear the "les" as les (IPA) but in the slow version it is: le.
This confused me. (Made the error...)
The first impulse when you aren't certain, is to slow things down--which results in this data error.
I suspect that this is causing me the same error in other places, as I frequently cannot discriminate this and similar -es type endings.
Or are there also cases where they actually are pronounced identically?
In either case, it would be fairly simple to add the ability to slow the actual phrase audio down, as well as the ability to hear the individual words.
Can't say if it's plural?? When you listen to it fast you can hear "leZomm", when you want to hear it slowly, she will say Le and homme which implies it is written seperately, because singular man is L'homme -just one word. I kept having problems with it, so now hopefully I'll remember the difference :D