"The children are many" is a bit poetic. "There are many children" is accepted, although that would be more along the line of "il y a de nombreux enfants". If you pause and think about it, you will recognize (or recognise) that the meanings of the two sentences are a bit different. So be careful to examine what the meaning is first and then make your translation based on that meaning, not a common expression you may be used to.
if I ever heard someone use the phase "the children are many" I would have to assume they weren't a native English speaker. Nothing at all wrong with that (i.e. not being a native speaker - heck, that's what I entend to be in France), but it does make it hard to second guess what I actually have to write down to get it "right"!
It may not make sense to your ear, but that is because it isn't used in everyday English. Probably no one is the 20th or 21st centuries would say or write a sentence in that way. That said, it is grammatically correct. Check out google at https://www.google.ca/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant=1=2=UTF-8#q=numerous
Unfortunately 2nd guessing D is part of the learning process. It is a computer after all.. I wrote "the children are numerous" in that vein fully expecting to be told the 'correct' answer is the more general "children are numerous". Both are correct depending on context But that is an old gripe I have about D. There are usually several different correct answers when translating French into English.
Another big gripe I have with D is that it doesn't seem to take account of current spoken French, eg, using inversion to ask a question is now seldom heard. Direct statements with voice inflection being more normal, or if polite, using que, est-ce and qu'est-ce.... to introduce a Q.
Though it uses a robotic voice for its audio, Duolingo is not a computer. The answers must be accepted and the sentences created by humans.
There are almost always several translations for any given sentence into another language due to the existence of synonyms and multiple meanings of words or different possible ways to structure a sentence.
Your other gripe about Duolingo not taking into account current spoken French is first of all false, and secondly silly, being that one of Duolingo's primary purposes is to translate documents and instruct people so that they can be translated. If the documents are all going to have the inversion form, it is highly appropriate for the site to use that form in its sentences more commonly than the others.
Only an idiot would think I meant Duolingo when I said it was a computer. I was of course referring to the "robotic voice".
And silly me for being 'false?' (incorrect English!) YOU may be doing Duolingo to translate documents, and it may be wanting us to translate documents. Me, I am doing Duolingo to learn how to speak French better.
Tsk, tsk, no need to be so rude. My point is that regardless of what you use Duolingo for, one of its primary purposes is to produce translations of webpages/documents. Thus, it is to be expected that it teaches less colloquial speech/writing in many instances. Rather than complaining about it fulfilling its purpose, you may find that another site suits you better.
Well my, my, my, you are a joker. You don't even know when you are being rude. Does "silly" and "false" (wrong english!) ring a bell? And you write: "Thus, it is to be expected that it teaches less colloquial speech/writing in many instances. "
If that is true Duolingo should stop promoting itself as an all round language site. It was what drew to it in the beginning. And yes I have found a site more apt for my needs.
That's fine-- I think sounds eloquent, you think it sounds stilted. Let's agree to disagree on that. What I don't understand is why people are upset that Duolingo would consider "the children are many" correct, because it is absolutely correct.
I still agree with Duolingo, however that "there are many children" is not a correct translation of "les enfants sont nombreux." There is a different construction for that in French ("il y a..."), just as in English.
I guess the question is whether the difference between "il y a.." and "les enfants sont nombreux" in French is similar to the difference between "there are many children' and "the children are many". That is, does the french "les enfant sont nombreux" carry the same sort of poetic connotation as "the children are many" does in english?
Nope, I'd say they're both very wide of the mark for normal, spoken English. Poetic phrasing is all very well, and it's fine if Duolingo accepts those as alternates, but if people are studying here to learn to speak in a natural way, then 'There are many children' is the way to go.
I've heard "nous sommes nombreux aujourd'hui" from my francisation teacher several times (the number of students fluctuates since we don't all share the same class times together), so the sentence structure itself isn't odd. I haven't heard it used in any other context, however.
I agree with you, lemoeg. I'm also a native English speaker and I've used phrases like this before, although less often than phrases like "there are many children." I tend to say things like "the answers are numerous" (I doubt I'd use this construction to talk about children) to refer to something where there is no specific number to assign and possibly an ever-increasing value.
I will admit, I tend to use several phrases which, although grammatically correct, tend to make my peers think I'm from some long-forgotten generation. Just because it's not regularly heard of, doesn't make it wrong. And just because it is regularly heard, doesn't mean it's been accepted as officially correct (yet. Languages are alive and therefore change.)
The most common English example I can think of right now is sentences that end in the word "to." "Who do I send the letter to?" while often heard, is "more correct" when phrased as "To whom do I send the letter?" One does sound a little old-timey, but is 100% correct, where as the other is only correct depending on to whom you are talking. ;)
Its really not wrong. While your extended discussion of the differences between "there are" constructions and adjectival constructions in English is correct, the issue is not with English alone, but with translating from French into English. The fact is, in French, "les enfants sont nombreux" and many other such phrases do indeed mean exactly what we in English would mean if we were to say "there are many children." The issue is not what would it mean if we translated the French phrase word-for-word into English, but what does the phrase mean in the mind of a French speaker. As an illustration, my standard English-to-French dictionary (Oxford Hachette), when giving the French equivalent of the English phrase "there were too many of them," lists only "ils etaient trop nombreux."
But "There are a lot of children" or "There are many children" are not accurate translations. Dyolingo is combining phrases - in this case "the children" and "are many" to see if you're paying attention and can modify your adjectives to suit your nouns. It's not a tourist phrase book, not is it asking for an artistic interpretation - its simply asking you to translate this sentence. Think of it as "the children are legion" and channel your inner Milton.
I'm not sure it should. It's closer to the French «Il y a beaucoup d'enfants.» Yes, when expressing this concept, English speakers are more likely to say "There are a lot of children" but perhaps the French are more likely to say «Il y a beaucoup d'enfants.» If this is just as odd a way to say it in French, then I think there's nothing surprising about an odd English translation.
But is that the right criteria? One of the best ways to determine if a translation is acceptable here is to ask "Does it back-translate?" "There are many children," it seems to me, back-translates to «Il y a beaucoup d'enfants», not our sentence. That suggests to me that it shouldn't be accepted. After all, this might be an odd way to put the notion in French too, which makes translating it with stilted English perfectly appropriate.
I put 'There are many children.' And it was accepted. Trust me I am learning French so I can understand the French meaning behind the words however I work with children everyday and I have never said 'the children are numerous' in English. I'm far more likely to say 'There are so many children here ' or 'Quite a lot of children are here' or even 'We are outnumbered by children' Knowing I can acceptably say 'les enfants sont nombreux' in French meaning 'the children are numerous' is great. However whenever it comes to translating French to English I prefer to type sentences that actually ring true to my ears and I feel Duolingo should be able to understand that need.
I got this french sentence and needed to choose between three english trnaslations. Previously when given "enfants" for a similar sentence, choices "children" and "boys' was excepted, in fact I got it wrong for not putting "boys". Now I choose boys along with children and get it marked wrong?
I would say 'The children are numerous' would be the best translation. While it sounds a bit stuffy it is far better than 'The children are many' (which, regardless of what anyone says, or the fact that yes it is technically proper grammar, just sounds ridiculous) As others have said, the issue in that lies with the fact that «Il y a» is the French term for "There is" and it's (I imagine) a distinction they want to make sure we understand.
That would be "these/those are numerous children" which would mean something different, and would be about as common in French as it is in English. The sentence given us describes the quantity of children whereas "ce sont nombreux enfants" is describing what "these/those" are.
Also don't forget that it is "ce sont" rather than "ces sont."