You are correct that it is short for 'ili trovis ŝin esti kulpa', which explains why 'kulpa' doesn't take the accusative. The same as in "Mi opinias lin (esti) bona". I believe there's an example of this in PMEG (la Plena Manlibro de Esperanta Gramatiko) but I'm not finding it at the moment.
Remember that not all transitive verbs need a direct object, even if they can take one. Like "mi kantas" (I sing/I am singing) is a complete sentence, but "mi kantas melodion" (I sing a melody/I am singing a melody) is more explicit. But you are right that "trovi" doesn't make much sense without one. If you just say "mi trovas" it sounds like an incomplete thought. So, yes, a subclause is a fine replacement. So, yes, "Ili trovis ke ŝi estas kulpa" is completely valid. If you feel weird leaving off the object it's also valid to say "Ili trovis tion, ke ŝi estas kulpa."
Good eye, but this is a slightly different use than you're used to seeing. We've discussed it a bit in the above comments, but I found an example in PMEG (http://bertilow.com/pmeg/gramatiko/specialaj_priskriboj/perverba/objekto.html).
Contrast these two sentences:
- Vi farbas la domon ruĝan. (= Vi farbas la ruĝan domon.)
- Vi farbas la domon ruĝa. = Vi farbas la domon tiel, ke ĝi fariĝas ruĝa.
In the first example, both the noun and the adjective get the accusative as you're used to. You're painting the red house; before you started painting it, the house was red (although it's not stated whether it will remain so after the painting).
In the second example, you're painting the house red; you're making the house red with paint (though it's not stated what color it was beforehand).
That makes sense, thanks!
Your response got me thinking more about it, and I think I can add a little more clarification. Consider the English sentences:
- We painted the red door.
- We painted the door green.
- We painted the red door green.
When translating to Esperanto, if you were to use the words "ruĝan" and "verdan" for "red" and "green" respectively, how would you know which was the old color and which was the new color?
In English, we know which is which because of the word order. (That is, the old color comes before the noun; the new color comes after.) But given Esperanto's freer word order, we can't depend on word order itself, so we have to mark one color with "-n", and leave the other unmarked:
- Ni farbis la ruĝan pordon. (We painted the red door.)
- Ni farbis la pordon verda. (We painted the door green.)
- Ni farbis la ruĝan pordon verda. (We painted the red door green.)
Using both "ruĝan" and "verdan" in this last case would make the sentence "We painted the red green door" which is not what we want, and is also confusing.
This distinction is important when we use the verb "to name":
- Esperanto: Ni nomis nian bebon Bela.
- English: We named our baby Bella.
The name is the baby is not "Bela." Adding an "n" to "Bela" creates an adjective out of what's supposed to be a noun:
- Esperanto: Ni nomis nian bebon belan.
- English: We named our beautiful baby.
"Voki" ("to call") also works the same way:
- Esperanto: Mi vokis la knabon feliĉan.
- English: I called the happy boy.
- Another English translation: I called the lucky boy.
- Esperanto: Mi vokis la knabon feliĉa.
- English: I called the boy happy.
- Another English translation: I called the boy lucky.
So, back to the original sentence "Ili trovis ŝin kulpa." Let's modify it slightly to "Ili trovis la virinon kulpa" ("They found the woman guilty"). As is, it reads like this:
- Esperanto: Ili trovis la virinon kulpa.
- English: They found the woman (to be) guilty.
But add an "n" to "kulpa," and the meaning changes:
- Esperanto: Ili trovis la virinon kulpan.
- English: They found the guilty woman.
For that matter, you could change "kulpa" to "kulpe." Now we get a different meaning:
- Esperanto: Ili trovis la virinon kulpe.
- English: They guiltily found the woman.
We can even use all three forms in one sentence:
- Esperanto: Ili trovis la virinon kulpan kulpa kulpe.
- English: They guiltily found the guilty woman (to be) guilty.
(Can you see which form of "kulpa" corresponds to which form of "guilty"?)
Thanks again, traevoli. Your response was very helpful.
Yes, all of this is sound. However, in your final example, it would be better if the adverb preceded the verb, so your example sentence "Ili trovis la virinon kulpan kulpa kulpe," would be better as "Ili kulpe trovis la virinon kulpan kulpa." For emphasis, it might be even better as "Ili kulpe trovis la kulpan virinon kulpa."
Thank you for the reply.
I did listen very closely & carefully, many times, but it always sounded the same. That is why I began to report it. And it was always the same male voice as I have/had been hearing all along.
It possibly could have something to do with the voice being sampled into a computer program that generates the pronunciation elements & assembles them into sentences.
I hope that Duolingo will look into this and try to correct the problem since this is not the only occasion I have encountered mispronunciations during the lessons. And in case this might be somehow related to my computer, I'm using a Mabook Pro with Mavericks plus Safari. Cheers!
That is so strange. My GPS assembles words from phonemes (which often garbles them), and most of the courses on Duolingo produce audio with text-to-speech (which is anything but perfect). But this particular course (and the Esperanto course for Spanish speakers) was recorded by a human who speaks the language fluently and with a neutral accent. So I'm at a lost to explain why it's not coming through correctly on your end.
I agree, it's very strange. As you say, this was a human voice recording the sentences directly, and the pronunciation is always spot on as far as I can tell, this phrase being no exception on my end. I have no idea how the problem described by epicatt2 could have come about.