"The girl knows the school teachers."
Translation:La niña conoce a las maestras de la escuela.
Spanish does that with places. It's like when in English we say, "I'm going to the store" or "I'm going to the hospital." Which store? Which hospital? Why don't you say, "I'm going to store" or "I'm going to hospital," just as we would say, "I'm going to church" or "I'm going to school." It's just convention. Well, in Spanish, you always have the definite article:
Voy a la tienda -> I am going to the store
Voy al hospital -> I am going to the hospital
Voy a la igelsia -> I am going to church
Voy a la escuela -> I am going to school
The "the store" thing is prior knowledge—the speaker is referring to a specific store, therefore definite article. http://blog.janicehardy.com/2010/11/view-to-skill-understanding-point-of.html
I understand that it is a specific place. So is "going to church." You know exactly what church you're going to, but don't clarify it with 'the.' My point is that you need to clarify that it's a specific place unlike English. When I say, "the school teachers," I don't specify which school. In Spanish, you do need to express which school, "los maestros de la escuela" or "los maestros de las escuelas," if they're teachers from many schools. The point of my comment is that places that aren't proper nouns always need articles preceding them.
"Going to church" involves a mass noun, not a specific location (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-marking_in_English#Zero_article)
Maestras de escuela does mean school teachers, but adding the article to escuela makes it a group of teachers from a specific school, it that weren't the case, I think it would be phrased differently, at least in Latin America, the word maestro on its own means 'school teacher'.
Yes, i first wrote a las maestras, and was corrected to a las maestras de la escuela. In my mind, teachers and school teachers meant the same, but not to duo. I guess we could have been talking about drivers education teachers, or ... yeah, thats all i got. I think, if duo wanted de la escuela, the english should have been the school's teachers, and google translate agrees with me, but im sure neither of us are native spanish speakers, so what do we know?
You only use "a" in front of the object if the object is a person (by actual name or a description, such as "el maestro")--and sometimes if the object is a pet. (An object is who or what has something being done to them following the verb) Ex: Yo conozco a David muy bien (add "a" because the object is David and David is a person). Ex 2: David conoce el parque. (Park is the object and is not a person, so no "a".)
It is the personal "a." The personal a is used before direct objects that have personal qualities. For example, I know José = Conozco a José
While not all teachers are necessarily school teachers, it's perfectly okay to use "maestro/a " to mean "schoolteacher" (one word). It can also mean "master," "professor" and other similar roles. That said, the phrase "las maestras de la escuela " is more specific than simply "schoolteachers."
A good English language reference for understanding the way "maestro " is used is SpanishDict.