The interpretation of "aimer" is dependent on context. People may have learned it different ways in the past, but here is the convention used on Duolingo. You will also see this explained in the Tips & Notes.
- Aimer (with people or pets) means "love" (Je t'aime = I love you)
- Aimer bien (with people) means "like". (Je vous aime bien = I like you)
- Aimer (with things) means "like" (J'aime ce livre = I like this book)
- Adorer = love (or) adore (or) worship. Context will suggest which word fits best.
I see. So you were concerned that the translation shown at the top of the page uses "loves" instead of "adores". That translation is not the only one accepted nor is it the only correct translation. There can be many translations, but the key is to learn that "adorer" can mean "love", "adore", or even "worship" in the right context.
It's a great question. When we learn about son/sa/ses, etc., we learn that grammatically these words may be translated as either "his" or "her". That's true, but it's not at all random and we dont say, well it could be this or it could be that. It's time to peel the onion a little bit more.
- French speakers know that it is not arbitrary about his/her. They will understand what is being said based on the reference to the subject. So even though "ses enfants" could technically be either "his children" or "her children", when the subject is "elle", it would be understood as "she loves her children".
- If it was necessary to clearly state that "She loves his children", you would say "Elle aime ses enfants à lui". Note that the entire expression "ses enfants à lui" would be translated as "his children".
- If the sentence was "Il aime ses enfants", it would be understood as "he loves his children". "Il aime ses enfants à elle" would be understood as "he loves her children.
It's a good question and yes, there is a different pronunciation. The "s" at the end of "elles" would be joined to "adorent" with what is called a liaison. It will sound like a "Z" where the words run together. This audible clue will tell you the difference between "she" and "they". http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-liaisons.htm
The present continuous tense is often a viable alternative to give the English a natural feel. But some verbs don't work that way all the time. Specifically, "love" in this sense is not an action but an emotion. There are action verbs and stative verbs. One of the features of stative verbs (regarding thoughts, opinions, possession, senses and emotion) is that they are not used in continuous tenses. The use of stative verbs can be tricky and there are exceptions when a verb that is stative in one tense may be active in another tense. This will actually change the meaning. Verbs of sense are usually stative. Take a look at the verb "smell", for example.
- She smells roses. This is a state (not an action). There may or may not actually be any roses but she is picking up a scent of them (maybe it's air freshener, who knows?)
- She is smelling the roses. This is an action (not a state). She is perhaps in her garden bending over to bring a rose close to her nose so she can pick up the scent. Whether there is much of a scent, we don't know, but we know that she is actively smelling them.
That is because "ces enfants" and "ses enfants" sound alike and since you got the audio exercise (not the written exercise), Duo let it slide. The written sentence, however, was "ses enfants" and translates to "her children". So there is no inconsistency, just a little slack considering the audio could be understood either way.