I couldn't understand and make out a single word the lady was saying, I keep mistaking in these questions because it's really tough to understand.
I understand it can be difficult, and the voice is not perfect. However with my native Dutch ears I can understand it perfectly. So all I can advise you to do is, keep on trying, use the slow voice (turtle icon) if you need it. And try to just keep on listening and speaking yourself (for instance you can repeat all sentences out loud), you'll get more used to it over time. Also you don't have to limit yourself to Duolingo, you can e.g. listen to Dutch music.
Dutch music? Could you please advice something? I thought there are DJs only.
Right now a bunch of DJs and Within Temptation are best known internationally indeed. But there is a lot more, most of it only well known in the Netherlands and Belgium.
There have been quite a few threads on Dutch music, so you can find a lot of tips here. A good tip for Dutch learners is Eefje de Visser.
Yes, it could. It's an interesting one: The version with the verb mentioned twice is closer to the original, as that also uses two verbs. But the reason for those two verbs in the original is that they are not the same. With other characteristics, the situation might have been different: "Het hert is koud en zwak." (The deer is cold and weak.)
Should we stay close to the original, and thereby reveal a characteristic of the original language, or should we strive for what would have been said if this had been written in English, even though not as close to the original that way.
I believe the typical usage in Dutch is to say someone "has hunger" or "has thirst" rather than "is hungry" or "is thirsty." So you would say "Hij/zij/het heeft honger."
As an addition, one can also say 'hij/zij/het is hongerig/dorstig'. However, 'heeft honger/dorst' is used more often.
In the word "zwak," my native English brain is perceiving more of an English "w" sound than a "v" sound here. Until now I've been accustomed to pronouncing the Dutch "w" as closer to the English "v."
Is there a difference here or are my ears playing tricks on me? Also, is there a good general rule to keep in mind?
The Dutch 'w' does not sound like the English 'w'. But imo, it doesn't sound like the English 'v' either.
Look at this:
Looking at IPA, the Dutch 'w' does not sound like the English 'w'.
According to wikipedia, /ʋ/ is pronounced like an English w, with the teeth and lips held in the position used to articulate the letter V.
For this sentence, Ruben pronounces 'zwak' just fine, like a native. :)
Why isn't "het dier heeft honger en zwaak is" not a valid answer? Does that word order only apply in certain sentances?
Obviously, "deer" and "dier" are related, but currently English "deer" refers to a few specific types of animal, while Dutch "dier" is the word for any animal.
A sentence should start with a capital and end in a full stop (or one of the other end marks).
"Het dier" would be any animal, rather than just a "deer".
"Zwak" is spelt with one "a", rather than two.
The word order in a statement has doesn't change halfway through. The verb comes immediately after the subject; it does so in "Het dier heeft honger." and in "Het dier is zwak."; it also does so when these two sentences are combined: "Het dier heeft honger en is zwak."
You're supposed to translate to English, rather than to Dutch.
"Het hert heeft honger en het is zwak." (The deer "has hunger" and it is weak.)
As "is zwak" is descriptive while "has hunger" is an action (of sorts), these unequal parts shouldn't have been shortened together; they should have been combined as separate parts with each part having its own subject and verb.
This is the type of sentence as "He is tall and went to the cinema."