no lawyers, no lawyer: isn't that the same thing?
So this is a small matter, but has been bothering me consistently for some time. I am a native speaker of neither English nor German, and i'm starting to suspect that it matters here.
Duolingo seems (to me) unnecessarily strict about respecting the number in translating sentences like this one:
"Die Person hat keine Rechtsanwälte." <> "The person doesn't have lawyers."
It would refuse "The person doesn't have a lawyer" in this example. Is there really a distinction in meaning, or emphasis, in either of these sentences, in German and/or in English? Or is it just not practical/too difficult to have DL accept singular for plural, and vice versa, in this particular context?
Ya, it drove me a little nuts at times too. There were times it felt a little strict - that the English should be accepted either way because we would say something with either singular or plural and it makes little actual difference. With these types of questions I just learned to give DL what it wanted so I could just move on. I imagine it would drive you even more nuts if you weren't a native English speaker. But also, sometimes DL was right and I needed to watch these sentences a bit more carefully. Don't let it get you down!
Thanks for the cheer up :)
Any one to confirm that German also doesn't make a substantial difference in meaning between singular and plural, in this context?
There is no substantial difference in German either, but in my opinion there is a slight one, because the usage of singular or plural indicates what you would consider to be normal, e.g. I think a poor person would not say: "Ich habe keine Autos." (I have no cars). But I think the same goes for English.
The same goes for English. I don't myself consider "The person doesn't have a lawyer" and "The person doesn't have lawyers" to mean the same thing, since like you said, the first implies they are in want of one, and the second that they are in want of many. Probably really depends on the context though. I think duo is right for being strict in most cases. Honesty, when I get it wrong it isn't because I am thinking about the subtle differences. It is because I forgot the German plural ending by mistake. But I'm a native English speaker, so that might be different for others.