Translation:– Excuse me, where are the quarks? – They are over there.
Both should be accepted. Also the suggested translation should probably be "is" because that would be the correct translation in the most common contexts.
However, in the poem that lead to humans naming the fundamental building blocks of matter after curdled milk, "Three quarks" appears as a countable noun. So there is famous precedent for such treatment.
I first saw quark in Waltham Abbey Market. She had three kinds of quark. They did not have fruit, herbs, or spices in them. They had different amounts of fat in them.
She could have said she sold quarks and nobody would have reported her to the grammar police but the singular is more common.
Farmer cheese is just not very common in the US. Since it is a central and eastern European thing, it is sold in cities like New York with large communities. I never saw it in Washington DC, where I grew up and also lived later. But then, in the 1950s, yogurt was pretty much unknown in the hinterland, as were bagels. I went looking for bagels in a deli in a DC suburb back in 1960, and the owner had never heard of them.
I guess the point is that in this question in Finnish the plural is normal. How do you put that across by being idiomatically fastidious in English? Suppose Duo asked you to translate "Where is the quark?" as a food store question? How would you know the plural is preferred? That's the conundrum in Duo's two-way system. Maybe they should just avoid quark altogether. "Cheese" works better.
I used the keyboard to use the AMERICAN food translation ...
"Excuse me, where are the curds? They are over there."
and DL marked it wrong.
Will I be ruled incorrect elsewhere if I use "lift" instead of "elevator" or "trunk" (of a car) instead of "boot"? You need to address the UK-USA word equivalents!
nimporte-qui is wrong. There is no connection between the cheese and the sub-atomic particles. Apart from the obvious one that there are quarks in everything.
Murray Gellman invented the word "quork". It was changed to "quark" because of the line, "Three quarks for Muster Mark" in "Finegans Wake" by James Joyce.
The Oxford English Dictionary disagrees with you:
In view of the context (a grotesque chorus of various seabirds; ‘Muster Mark’ is King Marke, Tristan's uncle), quark here probably represents quawk n. (compare the β. forms at quawk n.).
Quawk has two meanings, neither of them dairy. 2. The harsh call of a night heron, duck, or other bird. 1. Chiefly U.S. regional. The black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax, which has a deep, hoarse call.
Unless you're talking about subatomic particles, "quark" is a mass noun. It makes as much sense to ask "where are the quarks" as to say "please hand me some of those airs." Yes, you can talk about different kinds of quark, but in order to do so, you have to (imagine this!) talk about different kinds of quark.
They're certainly sold as different things here in the UK, I'd imagine so in Finland too, where dairy products are a bigger thing. Terms differ from place to place and sometimes overlap, which makes things a bit more confusing, but as far as I'm aware...
rahka "quark" is like has the smooth texture of thick Greek yogurt:
whereas raejuusto "cottage cheese, curd cheese" is like hard lumps (curds) suspended in liquid (whey):
At first sight, to me anyway, they seem like very similar products, especially quark and fat-free Greek yogurt. Apparently though, quark is technically a kind of cheese made by warming soured milk to curdle it, which is then strained. Greek yogurt on the other hand is milk fermented with bacteria (to make yogurt), which is then strained. From what I've read, quark doesn't contain the lactic acid of Greek yogurt and is higher in protein.
The logic in this course is contradictory. Why has rahka been translated simply because a (barely-used) equivalent happens to exist, while in other cases where an approximate also exists, the argument has been made that the course aims to teach Finnish words and expressions.
Making this choice on a word where the Finnish is countable and the English is not only adds to the confusion. I think the only value of this sentence is to demonstrate that cultural disparity between what is and isn't countable.
Uncountable nouns in English (like milk, quark, bread) can be pluralised when you want to mean "different kinds of" e.g. if you're looking for the section of the supermarket that has the different kinds of soya/almond/coconut milk, it's possible to ask Where are all the different milks? or just Where are the milks?. It may not be as common as other ways of phrasing it in some places, but it's still grammatical.
This particular example about quarks is unusal to English ears because shops in English-speaking countries don't generally offer a large range of different kinds of quark, unlike in Finland. For this reason, "Where is the quark?" should be an acceptable answer along with "Where are the quarks?", although the latter helps the learner understand the Finnish construction more easily.
Is rahka a countable word or does this sentence imply multiple types of rahka?
And while I have no intention to join the debate what "quark" is commonly used enough to refer to such a thing in English, I sincerely hope for this type of sentence, not translating "rahka" can be considered correct. Not translating it does not impede the learning process, just like mämmi and lortsy.
I strongly disagree with the idea that "not translating rahka can be considered correct". Rahka is not anything specifically Finnish, unlike mämmi or salmiakki.
It would be exactly the same like not translating juusto or olut.
The fact that you do not know quark does not change anything :) We use quark several time a week as a basis of cheese spread(s), we put it into cheese cakes, we mix it with sugar and milk and cream or with jam - and we would never thought of calling it rahka. Believe me that it is nor Finnish specific! It is absolutely normal in e.g. Slavic cuisine, for which I can speak.
Not quite, its a cheese alright but one very early in its life also made from sourmilk. Cream cheese would be closest substitute although quark is more neutral tasting while cream cheese is more savory imo. Here is a link if you want to know more https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quark_(dairy_product)