Why not, "what is the price for these apples?" ... "What are the prices for these apples?" sounds a little strange to my ear. Like each of the apples has a separate price tag.
The German sounds all right to me. Of course I would have said: "Was kosten diese Äpfel?" but that is not the point here. Probably the price tags differ when you buy a different quantity. 1,80 per Kg, 3,40 in a bag of 2 Kg etc.
Was sind die __ für diese Äpfel?
The answer is "Preise", the plural of "(der) Preis", probably because there are different kinds of apples. The HoneyCrisps are more expensive than the Fujis, etc. You know Duo wants the plural because it's "Was sind die...." In this context, "What are the prices of these apples?" is a better English translation, because "What do these apples cost?" sounds like we're back to a single price.
Grammatically there is no ambiguity here. The verb sind requires a plural subject. The plural of der Preis is die Preise. The speculation is only about the context that led to the question Was sind die Preise für diese Äpfel? A likely answer is that different apples have different prices. Not many vendors or supermarkets sell only one kind of apple.
Whether you like it or not, the lack of specificity in languages like English and German will force questions to be ambiguous. What is not ambiguous is the list of potential translations. There's no point in objecting to ambiguity, since it was decided by the formation of the languages themselves.
I am taking it as meaning, "What are the prices for these [different kinds of] apples". Maybe, the Gala apples are a bit more expensive than the Fiji apples, and Golden Delicious are the cheapest. But, it's obvious that we are not talking about the price for a group of apples, so we must be talking about various types of apples.
But, I'm curious if this is a common way to ask this kind of question in native German? Would Germans say, "What ARE the prices of [something]" or, "What IS the price of [something]"?
If you mean "What is the price of these apples?" is now accepted, that's too bad. It's a fine English sentence, but an inaccurate translation. The situation in which the original sentence arises has prices (plural), from which it's obvious there must be a variety of apples to choose from at different prices. Duolingo doesn't advance a student's learning by accepting inaccurate translations.
Like most markets, if you purchase a bunch it is usually cheaper. One has one price, a bunch has another price. Or more simply, there may be more than one type of apple for sale.
Now this is confusing.
The German phase is currently "was sind die Preise für diese Äpfel?" and the English translation is "what do these apples cost?"
What confuses me is "die Preise" (the prices - in plural!) in German.
Can you say also "was ist der Preis für diese Äpfel?" in German?
Because if you would use the plural form in English "what are the prices of these apples" then it would change the meaning of the question and you might get answers like "the price at XZ Superstore is 4,99 but you can buy the same apples at a cheaper price at A&B Market".
That's wrong, in german we say "Was kosten diese Äpfel" or "Wie hoch ist der Preis für diese Äpfel", nobody says "Was sind die Preise für diese Äpfel".
would, "how much do these apples cost" not work here? I got the translation correct but it seems a bit forced
It isn't quite the same question. For example, you could also say "What do you want for these apples?" "What are they asking for these apples?" and so on, but the German question is specifically asking for the prices.
It is sort of the same question though? I would expect someone to tell me the price of something if I asked how much it cost & I'm a native English Speaker?
The person is asking about the prices (plural), because presumably there are different kinds of apples, some varieties more expensive than others. An English translation that better conveys the German question would be "What are the prices of these apples?"
Because it is plural.
der Apfel = 1 apple (nominative case) den Apfel = 1 apple (accusative) dem Apfel = 1 apple (dative)
die Äpfel = more than one apple (nominative)
and so on. Here's one source that explains it - http://www.crodict.com/nouns/german/Apfel.html - or you can google German noun declensions.
I think the bit that confused me is the 'diese' bit. I thought it would be diesen as Aepfel is plural. Am I missing something?
It would only be "diesen" if it were dative plural - which it isn't.
Here's the table with the declanations of "dieser".
The preposition "für" takes accusative, the apples are in plural, hence "diese": was sind die Preise für diese Äpfel?.
If is was singular, then it would be "diesen": was ist der Preis für diesen Apfel?".
"What are the prices for these apples?" should be accepted, and if it's not, please report.
How can you tell a difference between singular and plural apple in German?
The pronunciation of "a" is a bit different from "ä".
Also, the article "diese" in this case lets you know it's plural.
You have to listen for the difference in the vowel sound.
The difference in the article should be clearer, even to an untrained ear. If it were singular, it would be "diesen Apfel."
in plural it sounds exactly like english apple, added just f, in singular instead of ''æ'' sound we have just ''a''
Duolingo tells me to pay attention to the accents, yet does not allow me to put an umlaut over a capital A.
The easiest option is to use the full-sized web interface of DL, because the German special letters
Ä Ö Ü´ß
should be visible right under the text area where you type your answer. You can just click on these letters for inserting them into your text.
If you are using a DL app on a mobile device then it is not so easy any more., You must find the way to configure the German keyboard on your device. But even this can be done :)
That is exactly where they are missing. (I do use the full-size web interface.) The accented capital letters are not shown, only the lower-case letters.
Oh, I didn't notice at first that the lower case letters "ä ö ü" are shown to you. There should be also an upwards (or downwards) arrow to the left of the German letters. This arrow switches between the upper case and lower case input.
I tried to resize my browser window and noticed that if you make it narrower than 720 pixels then the German letters just vanish from the user interface. Maybe you are using a tablet with a small screen? If yes then try to use the tablet in landscape mode, not in the portrate mode.
Would this be another example where the genitive case could be used? z.B. Was sind die Preise diesen Äpfel?
Why does duo say this is incorrect: ''what are the prices for these apples?''
Maybe because “what are the prices of these apples” is more common than “....for these apples”. In the example given by a contributor about comparing prices between different supermarkets, you could use either ‘for’ or ‘of’. Maybe the person has a list of prices of different types of apples in different supermarkets and you want to know the prices for these particular ones. It seems however to be complicating matters a bit for what should be a simple sentence
Different supermarkets were mentioned in one comment, but that's not what's happening here. You can't ask in one supermarket about the prices in other supermarkets. Anyway, Duo rejects "What are the prices for/of these apples?" because whoever could add more answers to the list of correct answers hasn't gotten around to it or doesn't realize that this is a perfectly reasonable translation. It's what many native English-speakers would say, if there are different varieties of apples at the given store and the prices are not posted. (This rarely happens in the U.S.)
I've encountered this before, with the answer given as "what are the prices for these apples. "
I translated this literally as "What are the prices for the apples?" Unusual for a Brit to say price in the plural but not incorrect if there are different types. So I was miffed when I got the red mark!
This is refreshing after the nitpicking of responses to other questions where a near literal translation and attention to words used is required
Der Preis: singular. Die Preise: plural. The implication is that there is more than one price - probably because there is more than one type of apple on offer.
There is a difference between a cost and a price, they are not interchangeable in most situations and substitution of one with another is a gross mistake
The German sentence itself is unacceptable: The apples should have only one price, hence "Was sind..." is "unnatural."