That doesn't stop people from complaining, as you might have noticed. (I'm fine with the jokes, however.) A lot of folks seem to want sentences that they might actually use. As someone pointed out elsewhere, Duolingo is not a phrasebook. I think that surprising or silly sentences are equally useful in learning Spanish as boring sentences.
yea, and they dont even use phrases that are that silly or anyway! Like they could say stuff like "where did your monkey put my cargo ship?" THAT is something id consider surprising or silly. The phrases people complain about seem pretty normal to me, just not something youde hear in your daily life if the scenerio didnt apply to you or anyone you know.
My understanding is that this structure is grammatically acceptable but rarely used. It is most common to immediately follow the question word with the verb.
From an English perspective it may help to remember that the subject is already contained in the Spanish verb conjugation, so what follows can be treated as additional information: "¿Dónde vive tu esposo?" can be read as "Where does he live (your husband)?"
The sentence might be unusual, but there is nothing clunky about it. Grammatically, it is completely correct and natural in both Spanish and English. I might have said this myself, since I have known couples with jobs that require that the husband and wife live in different places.
Just because you have never heard anyone say this does not mean that there is anything wrong with the sentence.
Nope, it's just this particular speaker. The "o" in Spanish is clearly an "o" sound, and nothing like "aw" (it just doesn't end in a closed "oo" like the English "o" does). I am very familiar with Spanish pronunciation, and I often can't tell whether the female voice is saying an unstressed "o" or "a". I never have this problem with the male voice.
This made me think. Some questions end in a rising tone, and others do not. Questions that start with "do" or "did" seem to end in a rising tone more often than questions that start with "where", "who", "what", "why", and "when". And sometimes the highest tone is on a verb in the middle, as in "Why did you call him?"
But I am just realizing that a lot of questions don't sound like questions if you just listen to the tone.
Another way to look at it, in English, is questions that seek a yes/no answer, versus those that seek more information. The former normally have a rising tone, whereas the latter normally don't. Generally this will follow the "do" versus "interrogative" pattern, but not always. For example:
Do you drink beer? (rises in tone) Do you drink beer or wine? (doesn't rise in tone).
This difference can also be explained in a way that corresponds with Spanish. Yes/no questions in English can be asked in statement form, whereas questions that seek more information cannot. So:
You drink beer? (acceptable) You drink beer or wine? (unacceptable)
It's possible that, historically, statement form questions adopted a rising tone to differentiate them from statements. At the same time, questions using interrogatives wouldn't have required this method of differentiation.
With Spanish the same interrogatives and lack of raised tone seems to exist, as does the raised tone with statement form questions. Unlike English, however, Spanish can use statement form questions to seek more information. So:
¿Bebes cerveza? (raised tone) ¿Bebes cerveza o vino? (raised tone)
It seems logical that Spanish should use a raised tone for both questions because otherwise they would be audibly indistinguishable from statements.
A general rule could apply to both languages: If a question is in, or could be in, statement form, then the tone should rise, but otherwise it need not.
NOTE: There will be many exceptions and situations where tone and stresses will vary, for example, when interrogatives are used standalone they normally rise in tone in both languages. The above is just a broad generalisation.
Very interesting, thanks. I had never really thought about this before and so hadn't really identified the patterns.
One of the odd things that I have noticed in Duolingo is the audio clips of words that are supposed to end questions. I imagine that these words are recorded twice--once as they are usually said, and once to end a question. What's funny is that the male voice is inept in pronouncing the question-ending variants--he pronounces them with an exaggerated rising tone that is usually on the wrong part of the word and is very silly sounding. Especially when the word is a proper name.
That's not correct in English except possibly in poetry*.
I'm a native American English speaker, and we would always say "Where does your husband live?"
*For an example of this poetic use of placing the verb before the subject, here are some lines from the traditional Welsh folksong "The Ash Grove":
Still glows the bright sunshine o'er valley and mountain, / Still warbles the blackbird its note from the tree; / Still trembles the moonbeam on streamlet and fountain, / But what are the beauties of nature to me? /
As Sassfb says, whenever a verb follows "where" the standard structure adds the helping verb "do" conjugated to the subject, then follows the subject with the verb in the infinitive.
The exception is the verb "be". In that case alone the helping verb "do" is not included, and the verb "be" is conjugated to the subject: Where is your husband? not Where does your husband be?
It's just the way English works: if you have a sentence that uses a question word and a form of "do", the word order is Question word + Do/does + subject + verb. That is why the order for this sentence is Where + does + your husband + live.
There is a discussion of these kinds of sentences on this page: https://grammar.cl/Present/Do_Does.htm
I think a lot of sentences in Duolingo are not meant to be ones that we would actually use. I think the course developers want the course to be enjoyable and entertaining as well as informative, so they put some odd examples in for fun. For example, there was one collection that had farm animals doing the cooking and cleaning.
"Tu" and "su" are possessive adjectives.
"Tu" is "your" for the pronoun "tú" (familiar, singular).
"Su" is used for lots of pronouns: it is "your" for the pronoun "usted" (formal, singular), "your" for the pronoun "ustedes" (formal plural), and also "his", "her", and "their".
This site has a lot of information about Spanish possessive adjectives: https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/possessive-adjectives-in-spanish