"What is the man doing?"
Translation:Kion faras la viro?
I am finding Duolingo most unhelpful. It has just asked me to translate "What is the man doing?" into Esperanto. I got the translation wrong and that is not what is annoying me. What is annoying me that it says the correct answer is, "Kion la viro estas faranta?" That is annoying because this answer is obviously introducing a verb construction Duolingo has not yet taught me. How can I be expected to use a verb construction I do not know? To compound matters when I clicked on discuss the Esperanto translation is "Kion faras la viro?" That translation of the answer I can understand. So why is that not the translation given when I was being tested? Why two different translations?
The initial translation given to you is closest to what you input, whereas the one in the discussion is the most common sentence for the given meaning. Both options work the same, though.
Because the present tense in Esperanto (-as) can be translated to both the present simple (e.g., I go) and present continuous (e.g., I am going) in English. If you really want or need to specify that the action is happening at this very moment, then you can use esti together with a present participle: Kion la viro estas faranta?
I believe that this will be explained more thoroughly in ‘Education’ in the tree.
The -n is just the accusative case. The difference between kio and kiu can be difficult. The former is more abstract than the latter. For instance, the former cannot be plural, because it can encapsulate anything, be it singular or plural. The latter generally refers to a specific thing (or things: kiuj) or person(s). Compare the following sentences:
Li pruntis al mi libron, kiu estas bona.
Li pruntis al mi libron, kio estas bona.
Both sentences can be translated as “He lent me a book, which is good.” However, there is a difference in meaning. In the first case kiu refers only to the book, meaning that the book lent out is a good book. In the second sentence kio refers to the entire action of lending: The fact that he lent me a book is good; whether the book is good or not is not mentioned.
Sorry to bring this to the fore all these years later, but I got to wondering how this Kio/Kiu difference might influence the answer to the exercise. If "kion" is asking what the man is doing, is it asking about his actions? If so, would "kiun" be asking about his goals or intentions (the deeper subject)? This seems to be very nuanced.