Translation:When are you going to ask them about their vacation?
I wonder if the usage of las here is similar to the usage described in the lightbulb in the Routines 3 section. https://www.duolingo.com/skill/es/Routines-3/tips. DL say's it's specific to body parts, but my wife, a native spanish speaker, says that 'las' sounds correct to her. She can't explain why though.
You are not wrong, Eliza. This is simply a plural noun (always). Alec, you might compare las vacaciones to the way we use "pants" in English. Yes, we refer to "a pair of pants", but we also just say "I need to put on pants" or "some pants", etc. It just isn't as obvious to us because the direct article "the" doesn't change with plural nouns in English.
Guillermo, I don't agree that Americans would say "their vacation". Americans would say " When are you going to ask THEM about vacation? " There is nothing in that sentence that eludes to THEIR VACATION, only VACATION. The "les" refers to asking THEM in this sentence. There is no indication of THEIR in this sentence that I can see, but I am not a Native Spanish speaker either, so I would have to have an explanation as to why THEIR was included in the answer. I haven't seen it explained where I can understand it yet, as well as many others here.
How about it MODS? Can you folks give us a reference or tell us why?
You're already conversing with a MOD. How many do you need?
I think you're wrong here, but I admit I have no empirical data. Just like you, I'm expressing my general sense of what is typical usage in English. Without "their" in English, one has no way of knowing whose vacation would have been the subject of the question. And I should add that there are many instances where Spanish doesn't bother with possessive pronouns. (Look at how Spanish refers to maladies or parts of the body. I'm not saying those rules apply here, just that Spanish is comfortable referring to "the hand" where in English we almost always say "his" or "her" hand.)
If you want to communicate with a course writer (not the same thing as a MOD, usually), you can use the Response Menu at the prompt itself.
You're being overly literal and expecting on-line translators to replicate DL answers out of context.
Compare to the English sentence: "When are you going to tell us about vacation?" Any fluent English speaker would know the question concerned either (a) a recent vacation, or (b) an upcoming vacation. Yes, of course, one could ask about "your vacation", but "your" isn't necessary to understand the question.
You will find lots of examples in Spanish where a simple direct article is used in place of a possessive pronoun. Ex. Tengo dolor en la cabeza. "I have a headache." Spanish doesn't usually say "in my head"; "in the head" suffices.
(martha349768 points out that my original sentence had the wrong verb form. I appreciate the correction, which I have made to my example. martha also points out that the more common way to say the same thing is Me duele la cabeza. In this construction, the direct article is still used instead of a possessive pronoun, but la cabeza becomes the subject, not the direct object.)
Technically, I don't think your "cabeza" example is quite correct.
I could be wrong (NOT a native Spanish speaker) ... but I think the example sentence should be either "Tengo dolor en la cabeza." or "Me duele la cabeza."
My comment does not, however, speak at all to the question of using a definite article vs. a possessive pronoun (sorry!!).
Thank you for the correction, Martha. I am sure you are right. I'm going to fix my post and include a note that you pointed out the error.
Please correct me any time I err. I'm a student here, too, and appreciate the "teaching". Please accept a lingot as my "thank you."
In my version of DL, this question provided a list of words from which to select the correct answer. However, the word "them" was not one of the provided words. So, I said "when are you going to ask about their vacation." For this I was marked wrong. How can I select a word which is not listed as an option? Obviously, I have reported this but that won't give be back the health star DL has stolen. I have lost many health points because of keyboard errors and obvious typos but this takes the cake.