Barn is a single-syllable neuter noun. These pluralize without changing their spelling. Other examples include "hus" (house/s), "dyr" (animal/s), and "år" (year/s).
But how to differentiate between singular and plural in this case? I typed writes a letter and it was accepted, but DL suggested writes letters. How would I be able to tell the difference within this sentence?
You don't know if they write one or several letters in the Norwegian sentence. So both ought to be accepted. However, since several grandchildren (barnebarna) are writing, you would think they each write one letter. Barnebarnet skriver et brev, barnebarna skriver (flere) brev.
Did DL really accept 'The grandCHILDREN WRITES a letter'? The grandchildren (barna) is plural so 'writes' is not correct.
'However, since several grandchildren (barnebarna) are writing, you would think they each write one letter'. Yes, that's what I thought as well and that was my answer the first time that I did the exercise.
I must confess that I can't remember if I wrote 'writes a letter', but you are correct, that would not be a proper sentence. So I think I wrote: The grandchildren write a letter. But that still doesn't make it clear how to know if they wrote 1 or several letters if you look at the sentence. I think that 'barnebarna skriver (flere) brev' as you said would make more sense.
Barnebarna and barnebarnet sound identical (when the robot says them), and there are no other clues as to the number of grandchildren writing letters.
In "real" life, I agree. But the differences in the robot's pronunciation are a little too subtle for me to distinguish.
Liv, one of the very few robots to ever be accused of being too subtle. :)
Luckily for you, real life is what counts - as long as you can live down a few tricky listening exercises, that is.
"The former ends with an "ah" sound, and the latter with an "eh" sound." Does this apply to all ei words?
Oh, all these words where singular is the same as the plural are PROPERLY annoying.
To think all this time I thought the plural form was brever. Now I can how wrong it looks XD