"We are in America now."
Translation:Мы сейчас в Америке.
You can but it sounds unnatural. Consistent use of words like "here" and "now" at the end of the sentence sounds very English because in Russian they are rarely there. In this course we work in the area around the neutral word order that feels natural and needs no justification.
In colloquial speech сейчас and здесь are sometimes "appended" to the end of a sentence with a disemphasized falling intonation (as a last-moment remark from a speaker) but it is not what we teach here.
Is your girlfriend saying that Russian word order doesn't matter? Of is she saying it matters but both word order choices are valid depending on what you want to say?
If it the latter, then Duo has said, on this page no less, that they try to be consistent in their word order. That choice is keep the word order as neutral as possible.
In English you generally use tone of voice for emphasis as in:
The Bomb Squad is here meaning the significant take away from the sentence is that it is the bomb squad banging on the door not the chorus line from the local stage production.
The bomb squad is Here. draws attention the fact that the bomb squad is here rather than having left, as expected, for one of the many locations rumored to have bombs present.
Duo says Russian speakers use word order to place emphasis. They want students to learn how to use the neutral word order first when it is possible to make such a distinction.
Seems reasonable to me. Unless your Russian speaking girlfriend is saying Russian word order doesn't matter at all when it comes to intent.
Why instead? Теперь implies a contrast between what was and what is:
- Я теперь живу во Франкфурте. = I live in Frankfurt now (instead of the place where I lived before)
- Теперь давай откроем страницу 19. = Let's open page 19 now (now that we finished reading the page we had been reading)
- И что теперь делать? = So what shall we do now? (now that the situation changed in an unexpected way)
Сейчас is more about things that happen at the moment without looking into the past. English does not provide any contrast between these two uses, so most our sentences accept both if the sentence is vague enough.
In my dictionary, the first meaning given for the two words suggests that they are strictly synonymous when used with that meaning:
"сейчас 1. В настоящее время, теперь."
"теперь 1. В настоящее время, сейчас."
I think теперь is more formal because I frequently see it in the scientific literature and cannot remember ever seeing сейчас.
Also, сейчас has several other colloquial meanings listed in the dictionary, and I don't think теперь could always be substituted in the examples:
"2. Очень скоро, немедленно: Сейчас приду. Делай сейчас же!"
"3. Только что, недавно: Он сейчас здесь был."
"4. Сразу, с первого взгляда: Сейчас видно, в чём дело."
"5. Непосредственно рядом с чем-нибудь, следуя за чем-нибудь: Сейчас же за деревней начинается лес."
Finally, сейчас can be used ironically with the opposite meaning (like it won't happen):
"6. Насмешливое выражение уверенности в том, что чего-нибудь не произойдёт, не нужно и ждать: Будет хорошее угощение. --- Сейчас! (т.е. конечно не будет)."
It is very hard to explain basic concepts like "now" or "good". Explaining сейчас and теперь through one another in the dictionary should not be taken as evidence for anything in particular.
As for their formality levels, both сейчас and теперь are more popular in spoken speech than in academic writing and official correspondence. In speech теперь is less frequent than сейчас but still more frequent than теперь in academic writing. It might suggest a difference in formality levels, but there dos not seem to be one. There is, in fact, an easier explanation for the discrepancy:
- spoken speech has a steeper frequency distribution overall, i.e. a few hundred very common words are even more overused than in the language in general.
- сейчас is very commonly used in that "in a moment", "wait a sec" meaning in spoken speech. Not so much in writing.
- теперь is very commonly used to introduce your next point in longer articles ("Now we shall consider the last equation in more detail"). There is little need for such a device in spoken speech. Still, this use depends on the difference between сейчас and теперь very much: you cannot use сейчас this way. You can use "а сейчас" but it is more characteristic of free-style writing of a magazine article that of an objective official style.
Be very careful with "4. Сразу, с первого взгляда: Сейчас видно, в чём дело.". It does not sound right relative to the explanation provided, and, in fact, at least some modern dictionaries (the ones by Kuznetsov and the one by Evgeniyeva) do not have this entry. Even though it is marked as "colloquial" I wonder where you can find it in colloquial speech. To a denizen of Moscow it no longer sounds acceptable in this interpretation, be it in speech or in writing.
Some major semantic differences were laid out nicely in a corpus study I read a few months ago. It will take some time to find it, though Corpora are very interesting in that they even defy our own expectations. For example, it is widely accepted that тут and здесь mostly mean the same ("here"). However, careful study of the actual usage suggests that they mean the same differently :), otherwise it would be hard to justify how some contexts boost the frequency of only one of them.
Сейчас is more immediate than теперь. Теперь она живёт во Франции. Now she lives in France. She may have been there for ten years already, but perhaps you were talking about her from way back when, when she still lived in Russia. On the other hand, она сейчас в аэропорту -- she's there at this moment, and perhaps she's waiting for you to pick her up. :-) (By the way, "right now" is "прямо сейчас," lending even more immediacy.)
Regarding the 'correct' order. A native speaker may easily put 'Мы в Америке сейчас.' and be as confused for being marked wrong as a non-native one. The logic below which justifices otherwise is just casuistic. To a non-native speaker from a native speaker: there is a contextual difference between 'Мы сейчас в Америке.' and 'Мы в Америке сейчас.' but it's so subtle that on hearing the 'wrong' version I wouldn't even notice.
Of course most people in ordinary conversation don't care about such differences in emphasis in ordinary circumstances. That is true for both English and Russian.
That is very different from saying ....,..therefore don't bother learning how to use word order correctly, hardly anyone ever does, so just don't pay attention to the whole concept....... If you never engage in anything besides that ordinary level of conversation it might even be true. Still, that assumes that it will never be important to you or your audience to place emphasis to make your meaning clear.
Duo can teach word order or ignore it. They state that they choose to teach it by requiring neutral word order where possible. (at least at this point in the tree)
You have overcomplicated my message. And attributed with some words I've never said.
It's just a very funny situation. Non-native speakers come and ask: 'can I say this', native speakes reply: 'Yes, it's quite alright'. Then enters a teacher and says: 'No, no I don't allow this'. Why? Because of some rules we invented. But these are the rules of the language people want to learn, not some (random) rules of a site.
About the importance of the word order. Actually it's not a problem of Russian language but its advantage - liberal attitude to the word order. The students have much more problems to care of - cases, tenses, this crazy Cyrilic - before they even start thinking of these subtle differences in emphasis. The teachers, or specifacaly, DL moderators are those who have problems with the word order. Because it seems that the site was designed for one-to-one translations which suits quite well for the languages with a rigid word order but is not capable of tackling the combinatorical mutitude which the languages like Russian provide. So, there is no GRAND METHOD behind the restrictions as the teachers want us to beleive. Just a humble bug, a flaw in the design.
Either word order matters in Russian or it doesn't. If it matters and Duolingo says it does, then they are correct to teach it.
If word order in Russian doesn't matter as you seem to be saying, then Duolingo should not focus on it.
If it does matter but you don't think it is important then it isn't a flaw in the design or some such but is a choice about what to teach.
If it matters, I want to know how much it matters and how to manage that difference. Of course, you are free to ignore such issues in your own conversation, relying instead on your judgement of the frequency of the relative unimportance of the meaning of what you normally talk about.
Part of the problem from my point of view is that people get the understanding that Russian word order is flexible and take from that it doesn't much matter what the order is.
Actually, it seems likely it is the other way around. Because you can choose where to put words, their location becomes even more important. The word is in its location in your sentence because you chose to put it there not for some arbitrary rule.
If you put here at the beginning of the sentence it is because you believe that here should be the topic of the sentence. If you here at the end of the sentence that is because you believe that something else should be the topic of the sentence. Just because word order is flexible that doesn't make word order immaterial.
The utility of Duo teaching word order issues is demonstrated by the result. That is that any student following this page is now well aware of Russian word order, how it is derived, how much it matters to different people and whether they themselves should concern themselves with it.
No one reported Мы в Америке сейчас, so it was not accepted.
For the most part, we intentionally discourage English speakers to copy their word order directly into Russian when this word order is different from what natives use most of the time. The course is not designed for native speakers of Russian, so the goal was never to accept passable Russian. At the same time, "We right now are in US" would never be accepted in the course teaching English.
There is a way to add a comment on a particular answer (i.e. say that the word order is correct but there are more common ways to say the thing) but it requires us to actually have someone report it as a correct answer. I cannot just invent all kinds of В США мы находимся сейчас, Есть в Америке сейчас мы etc. and start commenting on their communicative advantages.
The only real flaw the system has is that there is indeed no indication of degree of correctness and no statistic on whether a user sticks to English-influenced phrasing much more common than a native speaker in the wild would. That would be a dream indeed, especially for Japanese where you would rather drop pronouns, but including them is not incorrect (just not something especially frequent IRL).
All of the following sentences are grammatically correct. In speech and messengers word order is a bit more varied than when you planned what you want to say. These are not all interchangeable or equally common, though:
- Мой друг давно дома.
- Мой друг дома давно.
- Дома мой друг давно.
- Дома давно мой друг.
- Давно дома мой друг.
- Давно мой друг дома.
- Друг мой давно дома.
- Друг мой дома давно.
- Дома друг мой давно.
- Давно друг мой дома.
- Давно дома друг мой.
- Дома давно друг мой.
- (?) Друг давно дома мой.
- (?) Дома друг давно мой.
Аме́рика is the name of the place. It is used as a subject of a sentence. The preposition в is used with two cases: Prepositional a.k.a. Locative (when you want to express place) or Accusative (when you want to express directional). For example :
- Я живу́ в Москве́. I live in Moscow.
- Я е́ду в Москву́. = I am going to Moscow (not on foot).
The name of the city is Москва́. Nouns like Америка, Мексика, Луизиана all follow the same pattern. Nouns like Испания, Калифорния, Италия, Франция, Германия, Англия are very similar but use -и instead of -е in their set of endings.