There is an implied "condition" in the statement/question... either you may, or you may not in this example. Most if not all the Modal verbs (which are auxiliary) tend to have or imply "condition" or "under what condition"... English examples would be should, could, can, must, may, etc.
Dear biertopf - or somebody else who cares to explain: How to translate the differences between "ich darf", "ich durfte" and "ich dürfte" in the context of our sentence?
I think that "Darf ich etwas sagen?" would be "May I say something?" "Durfte ich etwas sagen?" - "May I have said something?", like in some past occasion were it could have been appropriate for the person to say something, but he/she said nothing.
I think that, as a native English speaker, dürfte as a subjunctive would be better translated as a past tense in English as well. So 'could I...' or 'might I...' or 'would I...'. It just seems strange to translate a German past tense subjunctive as an English present tense subjunctive.
I think there is something wrong with the translation of the sentence : Dürfte ich etwas sagen . It says dürfte ich etwas sagen and when you write it, it marks it wrong, but write the same sentence of : Dürfte ich etwas sagen . Please check this sentence and open the path . Vielen Dank für ihre hilfe .
That is not true. @margaritaguese. American English “can” is exactly the same as the British English “can”.
i.e. Both can be used colloquially to mean “may” e.g. when I ask my friend “can I drive” that is the informal way to say “will you let me drive/may I drive”. Can does not exactly mean may! It is just used in place of it in an informal setting.
It is synonymous but it is not the same.
The use of may / can is totally down to the way you were brought up and how you choose to use the word to the people you talk to. It has nothing to do with the factual root meaning of the word in either American English or British English. As the similarities and differences in American English and British English from "can" and "may" are identical.
I can run fast. Why?
1) (ability to perform the action) Because I am fit, Because I have good genetics, Because I have been training,
2) Because I have been given permission to.
I may run fast. Why?
1) Because I have been given permission to.
2) Because I have been performing well recently (future conditional answer).
In this Duolingo question the synonymous meaning of “to be allowed to do something” of both “can” and “may” work in translated meaning but one is more polite that the other.
as @biertopf said, in expanse, the root Dorf and Kann have two lineages of meaning. Wie im das prufe, ein Mann kann etwas sagen, aber bedeutest nicht dass Man durfte etwas sagen. Honestly I haven't been speaking German since this course, I had been speaking a related Language, Yiddish; although Yiddish uses Dorf and Kann in complete parallel usage.