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.
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.
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. :)
"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."
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 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.
Nice one (even if mostly answered before). Obviously, you can't disregard it in Duolingo's question, as that's the text you're supposed to translate. But more in general: Why does the Dutch use a verb in front of both "honger" en "zwak"? The reason for that is that "honger" and "zwak" are not the same type of word. The no-clue translation would be: "The deer has hunger and is weak." Let's make it less dramatic and say "The deer has an appetite." That way, you can clearly see that this part is about a noun. Hence, to have/"hebben" is used for it. On the other hand, "The deer is cold" shows cold to be an adjective, and the same goes for weak/"zwak". This is why for those to be/"zijn"/"is" is used. "The dear has an appetite and is cold." requires both "has" and "is". For "Het hert heeft honger en is zwak." the situation is similar. If you were to disregard "is", you'd change "zwak" into a noun: "Het hert heeft honger en zwak.": "The deer has a appetite and weak."
Short answer: Yes, it is necessary.