Translation:My room does not have any windows.
So, and I hope I'm understanding this correctly, "ninguna" is simply a negative form of "any". Though unlike in English, where we abstain from double negative, in Spanish the double negative compliments itself and must match just like the gender must match between adjectives and nouns?
Saw you on TED talks and found your discussions very interesting. It's where I learned about Duolingo. Thanks for all your hard work and keep those good ideas flowing.
By the way, is there any chance that Duolingo is planning on expanding it's language courses. I am hoping to learn Filipino (Tagalog).
Luis, I love duolingo. It is a joy. I am getting through an eye injury where I needed to be sitting quietly upright...and it is exciting versus a hard time....and links so many people with each other to share languages when others are trying to divide the world or start wars. Bless you thoroughly.
PS: I would love to see a Lakota language on this site tho there is a site for it that may use similar techniques..I have not visited it. Your volunteers and you are changing the world. It's especially important in America where people can get rather insular....speaking as a person in the Midwest where people can get to thinking English is the world language and etc. But we have in the USA not only Spanish and other languages of immigrants but also a few hundred Indian languages struggling to keep alive their world view that really comes alive and lives in their language and supports culture and deep feelings.
Tagalog might also be a second for folks for travel but truly, culture in some cultures can keep language and culture roots clear and visible and living. and you are so helping. I have been just adoring this site.
Spanish doesn't have the same rules as English. Ningun, ninguno, and ninguna are usually singular in Spanish. You can translate these in various ways (both singular and plural in English):
My room doesn't have a window (Mi habitación no tiene una ventana.)
My room doesn't have windows (Mi habitación no tiene ventanas.)
My room has no windows (Mi habitación no tiene ventanas)
My room doesn't have any windows (Mi habitación no tiene ninguna ventana.)
The first three are easy to understand. The fourth is difficult for many people to get their heads around because it's usually singular in Spanish when you use ningun but plural is required in English with the word any with countable nouns.
we would only use it in a question ¨Does my room have any windows?¨. Your sentence has no negatives at all, it is totally positive, and as soon as you are saying that your room does have..... you will use ´some´ windows. (or a few, (a) window etc). ¨yes, my room has (some) windows.¨ And if you are using English to deny the existence you will say ¨not have any windowS¨with the plural. you are denying all the windows that could possibly be there. In the positive you can use any to select a particular thing. Eg. ¨any dog that comes here will be dyed pink and dressed in a tutu.¨
If you read interviews with the founder, he seems almost philosophically opposed to explaining grammar. So, I've found that I need to search for this information elsewhere.
"The very honest answer is that I, personally, don't like vocabulary, grammar or verb conjugation. My dream in life is to be able to teach you a language without you needing to read textbooks about indirect objects. In fact, I consider the use of grammar to be discriminatory against those who unfortunately didn't have a very good education in their own native language (which is the majority of the world's population). I think slapping 30 pages of grammar before every lesson is the easy way out -- instead we should strive for something that everybody can consume."
I was also confused by the use of "ninguna ventana" vs. "ningunas ventanas." http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/neg.htm<pre>
Ninguno(-a) is generally used in the singular. ¿Tienes algunos libros? No, no tengo ninguno. The plural of ninguno(-a) is used only when the noun it modifies exists only in plural, or is normally used in plural. Ningunas vacaciones a Alaska son completas sin una excursión a Mt. McKinley. No vacation to Alaska is complete without a trip to Mt. McKinley.</pre>
I hesitated about putting "My room does not have any windows at all" , treating «ninguna» as adding emphasis.
But I tried that in reverse on SpanishDict, which offered «Mi habitación no tiene ventana/ventanas en absoluto» so I thought I'd better quit while I was ahead!
Luis, may I add my own grateful thanks for this program. I spoke no Spanish at all prior to moving to Gran Canaria 18 months ago, yet Duolingo has already made me amazingly competent in the language, despite being nearly 70! You and your team have truly made an enormous contribution to the world.
I'm still mentally-massaging it, or I would try to explain. It is a nuance of the language apparently... ninguno/a is only used as a singular in these instances, and then you must use a singular noun, but it translates plural... At this level, I guess we just mush accept some things. I gave you a lingot because you asked my question!
I've noticed in a few sentences/exercises now that when it gives me '...ninguna ....' the word that follows 'ninguna' is in the singular form, but, when it is preceded by ninguna, it is referred to as plural (like here it is 'ninguna ventana'... "any windows"). Is my observation off or is it just another way on how Spanish grammar works?
You're wrong :-) you need to learn Spanish as it's spoken and not try to make it agree with English sentence structure. You need to learn what they say for the same idea. One that I know better but I always tend to say wrong in Spanish is I use Plarells when talking about "the people". In English we don't say the people is hungry, we say the people are hungry, using the plural. But in Spanish you would say la gente tiene hambre not la gente tienen hambre. These are some of the things you need to learn when you learn a language. Spanish English French and to some degree German all share a lot in common and so the sentence structure between them is pretty similar. But when you start getting into languages which are even further removed from English it becomes very clear very quickly that even if you had a word for word translation knowledge such as a dictionary provides you still would not be able to speak or understand the language because the way they use words are so different, You need to understand how they use grammar and things that appear idiomatic At first glance but more realistically reflect the way they think and use words.
For the record, I have taken three years of Spanish in high school of which I am currently still attending. Secondly, I see what you are saying but "la gente" is a singular noun used to represent a group of people such as a flock of geese. In this case that noun is singular but represents the multiple. Ventana and window both have plural and forms so for it to translate plural it should be plural, you see what I am saying? No disrespect intended.
Your logic makes perfect sense,, for English. However, that's not how Spanish is spoken. In English we say "did I have any calls?" and in Spanish you say "tuve alguna llamada?" Which you could say literally translates to mean "did I have any call?". It doesn't make sense grammatically by the laws of English, but it's not English. It's Spanish. That's the way they do it. If you want to learn Spanish you need to learn Spanish the way Spanish is spoken. the differences are interesting, and something you need to pay attention to, but neither Spanish nor English is wrong. As you start to achieve some level of fluency in Spanish you'll forget about the differences, and you'll think in Spanish, you'll think about the ideas you want to communicate and not how you're communicating them, and you'll say the right things, Just like when you're learning to drive a vehicle you think about the movements of the knobs and levers translating into movement of the car, but once you really know how to drive the vehicle you only think about where you want to go and the rest comes naturally.
If you learn a language even further away from English linguistically you'll see even more of those differences which don't make sense to the English speaking persons sense of language, but that's the way they do it and that's what you need to learn if you want to be fluent.
I understand everything except for the fact that the word in use is ventana. Is there any particular reason that ventana is not plural? Is it just a silly rule that makes it such? I know what you mean by difference due to the language such as the common double negative in Spanish, but I just do not get why it isn't plural in this situation. Is it just because?
Yes, and yes. Yes it's a "silly" rule, and yes, just "because". However, I don't think any rules are sillier than others. It seems strange to us because we are making the mistake of thinking in English grammar. To a Spaniard the English sounds wrong, and to them it's just a "silly" rule. :-)
Yes. Why in English do we attach an S to nouns to indicate plurality but we attach an S to verbs to indicate singularity as in he walks she walks etc? the only languages that follow sensible rules 100% of the time are the made-up languages that have been created in the 20th century. Regarding all of the mother tongues, you're always going to have trouble if you look for reason In the patterns and structure. Like a mountain a language is just there. It is what it is. If you want to learn the language you just need to learn all of those things that it contains. If you want to climb the mountain you need to climb the mountain the way that mountain is, not try to climate as though it some other mountain.
That's not how it works in English. You could say "a window", or "any windows". "A" is followed by a singular noun, while "any", in this context, must be followed by a plural noun (if it's countable).
The rules for using "any" are kind of confusing, but I hope this can shed some light on the subject: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv303.shtml
Simply put, where they would say "ninguna ventana" in Spanish, we would say "any windows" in English. It's not quite a literal translation, though, and I think that's the problem. The literal translation would be either "any window" or "no window", which would be incorrect because, in English, "window" must be pluralized in this context.
I am a little confused. As far as I know, ventana means window(singular) but DuoLingo marked it wrong, saying that Mi habitacion no tiene nunguna ventana means My room does not have any windows (plural) , rather than My room does not have any window (singular). Thank you for any explanations!