"Non bevo né tè né caffè" and "Bevo tè o caffè" have completely different meanings. At the first sentence, the person doesn't drink either one, and at the second, the person drinks both.
The thing is, in romantic languages (and I don't say this as an Italian but as a Portuguese speaker xD) there's no such thing as "double negatives" for all I can remember. If one uses the word non together with some negative conjuction or such the negative is only emphasised, as Procrastinans said. Thus, it's totally optional when you're gonna do a "double negative" or not. The meaning is not gonna realy change
It may have to do with "né" meaning both "neither" and "either"(according to the mouse-over definition that Duolingo provides), which would change the meaning entirely. But I'm not sure. I find it rather confusing, myself. Perhaps the "non" makes the difference between saying "I drink either tea or black coffee" and "I drink neither tea nor black coffee." I think that without the 'non', you're open to drinking either one. Anyone with more expertise care to illuminate this point? When does "né" mean 'neither', and when does it mean 'either'?
If it is wrong, that misconception has been around a long time in English. With teachers even giving examples of this, perhaps to reinforce the correct way to say it. I agree that the correct way to state the positive is not by use of double negatives. http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/double_negative.htm http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/grammar/doubneg.html http://www.englishleap.com/common-mistakes/double-negatives
I have mistakes on a regular basis that I think are fairly attributed to the quality (or rather the lack thereof) of the artificial voice. It clips some of the shorter words so much they go by without being heard at the regular speed, and barely can tell at the slower.
Nota bene: not complaining too much for what is a spectacular FREE product that is doing an amazing job of teaching me italian.
I think that this is actually a feature of real speech (rather than the super-clear speech that language users are usually granted) not a bug of the programme: Words merge together in speech and little connecting words, which are unstressed and clear from context (to a native speaker) become almost inaudible (in fact).
The accents mean stress that vowel, but honestly, although Duo keeps telling me I am not paying attention when I ignore the left-facing accents, the truth is that I have never seen OR used the left facing accent in Italian, only the right facing one. So I asked mio sposo who IS Italian, and also took proper Italian in University for 3 years, whether or not I should be worrying about that left facing accent. His verdict? No. It may have been used donkey's years ago, in very formal Italian, but it has fallen out of usage.
In standard Italian, they have different pronunciations, e.g. pèsca (/ˈpɛska/) means 'peach' and pésca (/ˈpeska/) means fishing, and tè means 'tea' while te (pronounced like té) means 'you'. In most dialects, however, there is barely any distinction and it's just spelling.
Duolingo make up your mind! Why is: It is neither tea nor black coffee". CORRECT? AND: SHE EATS NEITHER CHICKEN NOR FISH"= INCORRECT? IN ENGLISH IF I SAY "I eat NEITHER chicken NOR fish" is AS CORRECT as if I say: I don't eat NEITHER chicken NOR fish=DUOLING'S CHOISE, And on the next sentence DUOLINGO "switches ", and changes it's mind! IN BOTH INSTANCES THE SENTENCES ARE CORRECT! AND 'DON'' IS NOT NEEDED!!!! SINCE NEITHER AND NOR ARE very clear
a) Never ever heard an Italian speak as quickly as a New Yorker b) Spoke so fast I could not remember what he said c) Spoke so fast I could not even clearly hear the middle of the sentence d) What happened to La Dolce Vita? I took shorthand so I know how to remember sentences, this is just too darn fast!