The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Пить does have these connotations is some combinations but here it is an unlikely interpretation («пить» is just a generic everyday word). "Моя мама хочет выпить", on the other hand, would strongly suggest things stronger than apple juice.
On the contrary, if you use «попить», it will mean just drinking water or something else because you are thirsty, leaving out any connotations of alchohol whatsoever (unless beer is what that person usually drinks instead of tea anyway).
Prefixes? They modify the meaning but the exact change is hard to predict, since they are very general. The resulting verb will usually be perfective (but you still have to be careful).
For verbs that mean activities without a well-defined point of no return, по-verbs will often create a verb that means doing that activity for some time or to some extent (e.g., спать→поспать, работать→поработать, играть→поиграть, and also есть→поесть, пить→попить).
Do not think about all of this too hard until you are more familiar with perfective/imperfective verbs.
I'd say it should be accepted (as indeed it is) because it's exactly what the Russian says.
Also, if your mother is in hospital following an operation for example, it's highly likely that "my mother wants to drink" means she's dehydrated and thirsty. Context and all that.
Of course you're right that without context, the first most natural assumption would be that she wants a large gin, that being said.
Disagree big time! At least it can be translated into: my mom needs to drink. And by the way, not everyone is alcoholic and we shouldn't assume a drink automatically means alcohol. I walk into any restaurant in America and I'm asked "what would you like to DRINK, sir?" in places where they don't serve alcohol. I don't assume a drink refers to alcohol and my answer wouldn't be always: miller light, please!
Well that's different. If someone says "what would you like to drink that can be anything sure" but saying "I need a drink" or "you need a drink" refers to alcohol. If you want something that not that than you simply say "I need water" or something else. Conclusion, "a drink" sounds like alcohol where as "something to drink" or " a beverage" displays anything drinkable
Ok but you can also say "I need a drink" without thinking of alcohol. I say it after exercising or hiking. You can also say it to a server in a restaurant. The "something to" drink can be implied when it comes to collequial speech because people are lazy with their words, especially when talking to someone they know. Context clues are important in text. In my opinion, this sentence sounds like alcohol because "need" was used instead of "want". "I want a drink" could mean any drink while "I need a drink" is usually what someone says if they want alcohol.
But пить is a verb here. There are Russian nouns for "a drink" but not being a native speaker I can't say which one would work here. But пить is definitely "to drink" not "a drink." As to whether, "My mother wants to drink," is good English, I can think of a few circumstances where one might say it, but it's not a common phrase. But since when are the things Duo wants you to translate always common phrases? The correct answer when you do multiple choice is, "My mother is thirsty," which I'd argue isn't the same as, "My mother wants to drink," so clearly there are shades of meaning in the Russian not present in the English. Fwiw, Google translates, "My mother is thirsty," as "моя мама хочет пить."
Exactly. On every other occasion duolingo is very pedantic about these small differences, and they should be when teaching a language.
When at a bar you might want to order a drink even though you aren't thirsty.
When on a deserted island with only a few bottles of water left, you might be thirsty but do not want to drink the water yet.
In either case translation would be wrong
From my understanding, 'a drink' would imply singular?? Surely poor old mum can have a couple drinks, even a few. x) Still trying to wrap my head around it all myself, I put 'a drink' and was wrong just now. The implication of 'one drink' was the only reason I could think of, for it being wrong.
The translation is in fact "My mother wants to drink", but by extension it means also "My mom is thirsty" (that is, if a person is thirsty, it means he wants to drink, and vice versa). Both translations should be correct, but Duolingo counts only the extended translation. Why? Dunno.