"Les enfants mangent des bananes."
Translation:The children are eating bananas.
Duo is making it clear that there are standard words and there are informal words.
- l'enfant = child (standard word)
- le gamin, la gamine = kid (informal word)
Many people are always in an informal speech mode so this may be disheartening (no pun intended).
Do we have to pronounce the "s" because I couldn't hear them or maybe is just my ear?
Only the liaison "lay zonfon" - the other 3 (at the end of enfants, ded and bananes are silent). Although, note that des is pronounced similar to "day".
In English, we say "the children eat bananas" in a general sense, as in they like bananas and are willing to eat them. If we say "the children are eating bananas," we are describing a specific activity happening right now. Are there different ways to express these two ideas in French, or is that just done by context?
The French sentence is the same for both meanings since French has no Continuous Present tense. In French, if you want to emphasize that the action is going on at this very moment, you could say "les enfants sont en train de manger des bananes". Otherwise, the French present tense may be translated as either "the children eat" or "the children are eating".
It seems to insist on “children” for enfants and doesn’t allow “kids.” I assume it’s telling us that enfants does not include the casual sense of the English “kids.”
"Kids" is an informal word in English which has its own counterpart in French: gamin(e)s. Some people are always in an informal mode of speech and may not recognize that there are differences in both languages.
- l'enfant = the child
- le gamin, la gamine = the kid (informal for "a child"), not to be confused with « un chevreau » (a young goat).
You are referring to partitive articles (du, de la, des) which refer to an unspecified amount of something. Be careful not to confuse them with "of the". For example:
- du pain = bread or "some" bread. The French refers to an unspecified amount of bread. The "some" is almost always omitted in English, but the partitive article is required in French when this meaning is intended.
- de la viande = meat. Same explanation but this is an example of a feminine gender noun.
- "des" is used before plural nouns when there are more than one, but an unspecified number.
Most plural nouns sound identical to the singular nouns in French. So we have to listen to the article and learn to distinguish "le/la" (singular definite article) from "les" (plural definite article). The indefinite articles are "un/une" (singular) and "des" (plural).