"– Who are the people looking for a black pony? – We are."
Translation:– Ketkä etsivät mustaa ponia? – Me.
I think TheWordPunk meant that the sentence shouldn't have included "the people" ... so "Who is looking for a black pony?" I agree with them - "the people" is kind of superfluous / redundant. I mean, it's unlikely to be a flock of geese looking for the black pony, is it?
I am not saying that "who" or "who are" are less common. But there is difference between being common, redundant and unnatural. Anyway, "Who are the people you were talking to" doesn't seem too odd to me, either. And on the other hand, this is Duolingo. It wouldn't be any surprise to me if at some point Duo asked us to translate "who are the geese" hahaha
... but, at least in literature, who might refer to, for example, a pack of wolves, without being odd. Anyhow, it is DL here using "the people" as a mistranslation to empasize that a plural form has been used in the Finnish. That's suboptimal, but unless they find a way of marking up "who" as singular or plural it seems hard to avoid this messy solution.
And to make it extra clear, I'd like to add that any verb used in an answer should correspond to the verb used in the question. "We are" can be used as the answer in the English translation firstly because "are" is the finite verb in the verb phrase "are looking" that was used in the question, and secondly because "are" can be used as an intransitive verb, meaning that it doesn't require an object. "Olemme", on the other hand, doesn't correspond to the verb used in the question, which is "etsivät". A more fitting verb would be "etsimme", but it's a transitive verb, so using it without an object would be about as odd as saying "we are looking", which sounds like an unfinished sentence.
Thank you for this response...i keep putting "etsimme" and getting this wrong due to other sections teaching us that this is how to do it .
Ex: (Korjaatko autoa? -Korjaan.)
I still don't really understand what you mean by "transitive verb" but at least there's a logical reason. :)
Some verbs require a target for the action that they express, and those verbs are transitive verbs. For instance, one can't look for something without there being something to look for, so "to look for" would be transitive, whereas one can be without targetting something/someone with the action of being, so "are" can be intransitive.
The formation here is different in Finnish and English. The Finnish question can't be answered with Olemme, because that's not what is being asked here. I'll try to clarify by adding what's missing from the exchange:
Who are the people looking for a black pony? We are (the people looking for a black pony)
Ketkä etsivät mustaa ponia? Me (etsimme mustaa ponia)