"Ses petits-enfants sont nombreux."
Translation:His grandchildren are numerous.
Well, ask any normal speaking American and you will get that several means alot. It would not be considered as meaning a little. And, I promise you they won't go running for a dictionary to see if it says more than 2 but less than numerous. If we use it the wrong way, so be it. To us several means many. If someone learning English said to a native English speaker here, he had several grandchildren trying to convey that the man doesn't have many grandchildren, people woudn't understand it that way. Period.
About how many is numerous supposed to represent anyway? It represents like too many to count.
Sorry, we would not normally use the word numerous in this context anyway. The word is not down to earth enough for people talking about the amount of children or grandchildren one has.
Sorry, in my humble opinion, it would be best to accept several alternatives to numerous e.g., many, many many, a lot, loads, goo gobs (just kidding) and yes, several.
I think you are making an over generalization here about what "any normal speaking American" would say. What's more, the dictionaries disagree that several means many. Several means more than two, but not many. Numerous means many.
A couple = two
several = more than two, a few
numerous = many or a lot
While I agree that many should be accepted, I (as a normal speaking american) would confidently say that several is smaller than many. I would say my wife's grandparents have several grandkids, but if I said my grandparents have several grandkids, I would consider that trying to make the family sound smaller than it is.
If nothing else, numerous is meant to have the connotation that it is a large number. There are lots of English words that have that same implication, but several is certainly a small number.
Reminds me of the ill-defined border between oligo- and poly-peptides. But that's another story. I think where the dictionary definitions are particularly useful is in a situation where you use 'many' and 'several' in the same sentence and, as you have pointed out, rely on the fact that 'several' is always less than 'many.' Thus, 'I have many teeth and several of them are filled.'
That is another accepted translation. However, the best translation is the one that is closest in structure to the French sentence while still being grammatically correct. The reason we picked it as the best translation instead of a more natural one in English was to aide with the reverse translation when you take the English sentence and translate it back to French.