Translation:How are they?
Can someone please break down the meanings of the three "zen ma yáng"? I got that together they mean "how", but what could they mean separately?
怎么样 is a set phrase that means something like "How's it going?" or "How are you?" (but without specifying "you").
怎么 means "how". It's one word. (Like 什么 means "what".)
样 is hard for me to explain. It means something like way/type/kind of thing/manner of being.
Other examples of 样 include 一样 (literally "one kind") means "the same". 这样 (literally "this kind" or "this way") used to express things like "Oh, this is the way it is!"
Why is "他们怎么样" being marked as incorrect and being corrected to "她们怎么样" when this is a listening exercise? Is this a bug?
Contributors have to submit cases of identical pronunciation directly to staff to have them add the necessary additional versions for listening exercises. Listening exercises are still pretty new for Chinese, so I suspect they haven't made much or any progress on this task yet :(
Some same '她‘ or '他’ problem has been already fixed, and this one has not yet.
No they in the sentace refers to people if they as in inaminate objects or animals is它
In Chinese, 她 means "she/her", 他 means "he/him".
However, both 她们 and 他们 can only be translated into "they" in English. In addition, it has exact matches for the two words in French, as 她们 equals to "elles" and 他们 equals to "ils".
Both 她 and 他 own a pronunciation [tā], while both 她们 and 他们 own a pronunciation [tā men] (们 is read gently thus with no tone symbol above "men"). The pronunciations are exactly the same, respectively.
In fact, there are so many groups of characters owning the same pronunciations in Chinese. And that is one of the most amazing facts in Chinese which makes it easier to learn : D
[yī]: 一(one), 衣(clothes), 医(doctor), and many others
[qī]: 七(seven), 妻(wife), 期(period), and many others
The third person has three forms in singular and plural, one for male, one for female and another for animals (which is sometimes used for inanimate objects too, but this is rare).
For males we use:
他 — he
他们 — they (if all male, or mixed group)
For females we use:
她 — she
她们 — they (if all female)
And for animals we use:
它 — it (similar, but not the same as “it” in English)
它们 — they (if all animals)
Usually we don’t use personal pronouns for inanimate objects, we rather use demostrative pronouns like 这 (this) or 那 (that) and the right measure word.
怎么样 is "how" (question word), so it specifically needs an answer to "how", that will replace it in the answer. 你怎么样？我很好。(You how? I [am] good)
Are they okay? is a general question, that can be answered with "yes". You can ask it as "她们好吗？是。她们很好" （ They good [question word]? Yes. They [are] good.)
I got this wrong for answering “他们怎么样。” instead of "她们怎么样？“. I was using the keyboard instead of the word bank. Assuming the difference was 他 vs 他, is there anyway to tell the difference from the spoken form?
There's no way to tell the difference. It's a big problem with Duolingo if you want to practice typing in Chinese. Whenever I hear a ta1 I make sure to switch to word bank mode and quickly check if it's 他 or 她, then back to keyboard mode. I imagine this issue will be magnified when I get far enough to have to deal with 它 too.
I'm using typing and not word bank, so it only gave the audio cue. It marked "他们怎么样" incorrect, despite them sounding exactly the same.
i just typed 他们怎么样 as my answer for the listening exercise and was marked wrong! am i supposed to be able to tell which one it is by audio?
all of these sound too fast. Duolingo, can you have a feature that slows down the speech?
Oh, come on Duolingo! 他 and 她 are both pronounced ta in the first tone. You should consider both since you only asked to type in Chinese Characters the pronunciation without specifying the gender of the subject.
If 'How are they doing?' is acceptable then I would think "How are they going?' should also be acceptable. It is an informal way to ask how someone's life is progressing good/bad/ok, etc.
Interesting, in my dialect that only works with "it." "How are they going?" would only have the literal meaning of "By what means are they travelling?"
Same as piguy3. "How are they going" is not a phrasing that works in my dialect of English (US, East & West Coast).