Translation:Một cô gái
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No offense but that's a rather difficult explanation to accept. In other courses, words with varying meanings all get accepted. For example, "fille" in French gets both "girl" and "daughter" for meanings, so why not the case when we're dealing with the same case for Vietnamese?
That is an explanation, yes, but it doesn't directly answer my question. On the one hand, I appreciate that Duolingo tries to simplify things for the beginning learner. On the other, this simplification is at the expense of disregarding a word's meaning and usage. Your explanation is great, but as an answer, it seems to boil down to "we think it's confusing so we're ignoring it."
So far as I can tell (went through the placement only, haven't done the lessons yet), this course skews northern/middle of the country. However, as a southerner, I simply wouldn't use "cô" unless in something like "quý cô." Now, I am aware that taught languages tend to "official" (or rather, most commonly recognized) versions - Beijing Chinese, Parisian French, etc - so if that's the case, just ignore me. I recognize that my southern speech does give grief to a good deal of the country. :)
Because both involve classifier "con". "con gai" as "daughter" contains "con" as classifier for "child", so literally it means "female child". In other case, "con gai" for "girl" would mean classifier "con" being classifier for "human" and gai for "female". that then literally means "female human".
If only everything is that straightforward like the French course...
In general, there is no specific age range for pronouns like "cô". But I can say that "cô" does not represent a middle aged lady. At least, it does not always. It gets a bit complicated as this:
For instance, I am from 10 to 18 years old (estimated), and you are from 19 to 25 (estimated). The person you call "cô" would be mid-40s, therefore, I would use "bác". So to you, "cô" is a middle aged lady. Additionally, at my age, I would call a lady who is about 20 to 30 years old "cô" while you will use "chị" or "bạn" or "em" respectively for whoever older, same age or younger than you.
In response to your comment in other sentence, "cô" does not strictly mean "aunt". It varies regionally and even changes depending on family's preference.
The term "cô gái" indicates a young girl (I would say from 16 to 25 though there is no specific age range). "Cô gái" is not commonly used in daily conversation but you will see more in written form. Try enter "cô gái" on Google search, it will display lots of, not only texts but song titles.
Don't you contradict yourself a bit here by discrediting the use of co gai in day to day Vietnamese? Sure you don't have to teach the 'con gai' spelling, but people who type it shouldn't have it marked incorrect.
Sure it's not the official dialect, but if you're an expat working in the south and you only here con gai all-day-every-day it's just going to make you think Duolingo's Viet course isn't useful, or relevant to actual Viet.
"Don't you contradict yourself a bit here by discrediting the use of co gai in day to day Vietnamese?" => Can you please elaborate?
"Sure you don't have to teach the 'con gai' spelling, but people who type it shouldn't have it marked incorrect" => Here is the problem: if I accept "con gái", in order to be consistent with the article "a" in the English sentence, the answer would be một con gái, which does not sound right at all. Now if I accept the answer con gái only, ignoring translating the article "a", someone will criticize me and my team for not being consistent. So which one would you want me to go with?
It is not about the northern or southern dialect, it's about verbal or written form of Vietnamese language. Eventually, there is not a clear line between what is being used in written, what is being used in verbal form. To be more complicated, certain words like this one "cô gái" is used in poetry, in-movie conversation, speech, song lyrics but the Vietnamese have the tendency to avoid this word in daily use because they feel it is formal.
Having said that, the answer database already accepted "một cô gái". What's the point are you trying to make here?
I'd guess that "em gái" isn't accepted for the same reason "bé gái" isn't accepted - implications of youth. That said, I agree it should be accepted. I've been called "em gái" often enough, and I wouldn't be considered young except by the very old - my niece and nephew thinks I'm positively ancient!