There are two Dutch words here that are quite similar: - "het jong", "de jongen" (the cub, the cubs; young of any animal) - "de jongen", "de jongens" (the boy, the boys; young human male) For the singular "jong", the "-en" indicates the plural. For the singular "jongen" the "-s" indicates the plural.
"Lezen" is indeed the infinitive form, but also the indicative (regular) form for plural subjects. Here's the conjugation table for the present simple:
- Ik lees - I read
- Jij leest - You (singular) read
- Hij/Zij/Het leest - He/She/It reads
- Wij lezen - We read
- Jullie lezen - You (plural) read
- Zij lezen - They read
Though it may not look like it, "lezen" is a regular verb (in the present simple, at least) and follows the conjugation rules listed here. The changes you see above, like the z switching to an s and the doubling of the vowels, are due to the Dutch spelling rules.
"Laeser" is definitely not a Dutch word. The "ae" diphthong is not used at all in modern Dutch.
Jongen (boy) is the child version of man (man). I dont think duo knows other vorms, but you can say: jongeman (young man) kerel (Guy, more for man), vent (also guy like). Put "tje" behind a word and you make it "smaller" for example: kereltje (little guy) or ventje (also little guy)
I'm confused. Everywhere I check s and z in Dutch are alveolar fricatives. But in a lot of words I listen to they definitely sound different (including the TTS here). It sounds a bit like post-alveolar (ʃ and ʒ) or even retroflex (ʂ and ʐ). They are especially almost indistinguishably similar to the Slavic consonants (like Polish sz and ż since they are laminal and softer than the audios on Wikipedia). I'm surprised that I didn't find any comment about how weird they sound. I couldn't find anything explaining it. How should I pronounce them? Why do they sound different?
"De kranten". (The newspapers.)
Not recommended for beginners: "Nieuws" is indeed like "news" in English, and they may even have the same origin, though in both languages grammatical treatment is rare. Let's try "rood" (red). Rood is an adjective. It can occasionally be used independently: "De boot is rood." (The boat is red.); "het is rood." (it is red); "er drijft iets roods" usually the most abstract form language descriptions include; "dat roods zinkt" (that red thing is sinking). Where English in the last case will often use a dummy noun, in Dutch it's possible to use the adjective independently. It's not impossible to do the same in English, but by far the most common example is: "nieuws". "De boodschap is nieuw." (The message is new.); "het is nieuw." (it is new); "er wordt iets nieuws verteld" (something new is being told); "dat nieuws is vergeten" (that news is forgottten).