"Ese pastel, lo quiero para mi cumpleaños."
Translation:That cake, I want it for my birthday.
You can say "Lo quiero ese pastel para mi cumpleaños", too. So there are two ways to say basically the same thing. Since there's a comma after "Lo quiero", It puts some emphasis there. I like the suggested translation which keeps the same emphasis.
Both work, and normally I I'd use your phrasing in English. But i can also see scenarios where I'd use the Duo phrasing.
Actually you wouldn't use the lo in your syntax. Although the indirect object pronoun is always used, the direct object pronoun is only used when the direct object is either absent or put before the verb. This particular syntax that Duo is using here is not standard written English, but you will hear it conversationally. But the REASON Duo is phrasing sentences this way is so you know the gender of the it, because you just mentioned the item. Therefore in THESE sentences, Duo doesn't have to accept either lo or la for it, because it is specified.
Lexxy, yes, I see these (awkward-in-English) sentences as exactly that: a way to see if we can come up with the correct direct object pronouns. There are some much more natural-sounding (in English) ones I've seen along the way, along the lines of 'This car is expensive, and I'm not buying it.'
Think of it as the literal "It (is that) cake that I want for my birthday" -> "I want that cake for my birthday." Spanish syntax requires an object pronoun even when the direct object is a noun. Otherwise, it just doesn't sound right (is not colloquial) to a native Spanish speaker.
I swear I must live in a different world from many people on Duo. People are always saying that no one would ever say in English things that I at least hear all the time, if not say. I certainly didn't think twice about the syntax when I did the exercise, but when I saw your comment and re-read the sentence, I heard my father's voice. Let me paint a picture. If I had been tasting wedding cakes with my father and he really liked one, he might say THAT cake, I want for my BIRTHDAY. But any scenario when you are choosing among like things for different purposes, you are likely to start the sentence with this or that. Changes in syntax like this simply change the focus a little.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the sentence grammatically. "That cake" is essentially an appositive, predefining it. Your mindset is too much on standard written language rules and conventions. If you were in a grocery store or bakery and someone pointed at a cake while saying this sentence, it wouldn't even occur to you to wonder if it were grammatically correct. That's the register that Duo is aiming for. The every day speech that is perfectly grammatical, but not necessarily the type of concise, effective language that you would use in writing.
I have no specific claim to knowledge, but it looks like cumpleaños is a portmanteau word from the verb cumplir = "to achieve" and the plural noun años and has come to be used as the way to describe the anniversary of the birth of a person in the same way that "birthday(s)" has come to be used in English.
Exactly. This actually is the most common type of "palabra compuesta" (compound word) in Spanish. You certainly have seen a couple more, but this seems to be an area where new words are being coined a lot.
The formula is that you take the third person singular form of a verb and a noun, generally in the plural. The resultant nouns are all masculine, even if the noun portion is a feminine noun, and the majority of them which do contain plural noun forms, don't change between singular and plural.
Among the ones most commonly used are a couple that use the verb parar in the beginning. Most English speakers initially assume that this is the preposition para (for) , but it's actually stop.
Para+aguas, Stops waters paraaguas - umbrella
Para+brisas, stops breezes Parabrisas - windshield
Para+caídas, stops falls Paracaides - parachute
Abre+latas, opens cans Abrelatas can opener
Lava+platos, washes dishes Lavaplatos dishwasher (or some places kitchen sink)
Quita+manchas, removes stains Quitamancha stain remover
And lots more
In Spanish it isn't. This is actually Duo trying to "teach" another rule. Spanish regularly uses clitic doubling with indirect objects. You've probably seen that an indirect object pronoun is often used even when the indirect object is specified. With direct objects it does not generally happen, but this sentence is an example of the only place it is required. Whenever the direct object precedes the verb, you must also include the direct object pronoun. I don't presume to know the "why's" of language, but it does help interpret the sentence considering that in Spanish determining the subject from the direct object can sometimes be difficult for a new speaker.
This happens from time to time. Actually it happens quite frequently to someone, but only occasionally for any one user. It's not generally related to the exercise itself. I think it's related to data corruption across the internet on a busy system. But occasionally it will be related to your session, so you will have to exit and go back in. A warning though - the answer they show you as correct may be different from what you answered - occasionally strangely different. The way Duo selects which accepted answer to show is also glitchy. But you can often tell what answers should be accepted in here, and the answer above the comments is the currently preferred answer for the most part. But always report the problem as you did. A hasty edit of the database can also affect an accepted error if they forget a comma, etc.