My answer of "I can never find good cooks" was rejected. Is that because this would be "Soha nem tudok találni jó szakácsokat"? Seems to be splitting hairs as my wife says no-one would say "Soha nem tudok találni jó szakácsokat".
Your wife is right, and your sentence should be accepted.
It's the same as with the verb "lát": "Nem látok semmit" -- "I don't/can't see anything."
Does someone know how long does it take to correct one example? grfields comment is one week old, but the answer "I can never find good cooks" is still marked as an error. P.S.: I'm just curious
Anywhere from days to months, depending on how active the course maintainers are, how many reports there are, and how much time they have to dedicate to going over reports.
Also, if the missing translation was not actually reported through the proper channel but just posted here on the discussion page, it could take forever as they may not have time to read all the sentence discussions.
This often comes up with Duo in different languages -- Duo overlooks the fact that in English we often use "can" as an auxillary verb with statements like "I can never get to sleep easily" whereas say it's "Ich schlafe nie einfach ein" "Je ne m'endors jamais facilement" etc without the auxillary. I have had many sentences marked wrong because Duo doesn't recognise the natural English translation
Why "soha" AND "nem"? In English that's a double negative. Is that just a quirk of Hungarian?
Yes. You will notice, frequently, that nem accompanies many "negative" words (making the literal translation a double negative in English)
Of course, it is not really a double negative, because I do not think you can omit nem here. My understanding, it is more like soha is modifying the kind of negation that nem is doing.
For example, you may use soha nincs in some other sentence, where now soha describes nincs: There is never ...
Or, Soha sem találok jó szakácsokat: I never find good cooks, either
if soha = never and nem = no, than the combo surely gives a double negative. However, your take makes me feel better but still with some lingering imbalance...
The problem only really arises when you try to assign meaning one-to one between English words and Hungarian.
It's worth noting that I believe this sort of construction is widely prevalent. Even in French you have to have a helper word of some kind with ne, like pas or jamais. And the Slavic languages are rife with this too.
And if you think the English way is the most logical, well, consider how bizarre this English sentence itself actually is: When do you find good cooks? I never find good cooks. So...I do actually find good cooks? But the adverb never describing when means that this finding good cooks event somehow exists outside of the time-space continuum?
An equally logical way of thinking about it is that the action find does not happen, should be negated, and an appropriate adverb describing the when of the not finding good cooks happens.
"Soha nem" or "soha sem" should be handled as an expression translated something like "never ever"
Chef is strictly the head chef but there are sous chefs and others under them. "cook" has a mildly negative, military or working class connotation in some minds and it would be more normal and perhaps polite to say chef.
Where is this? Here (New Zealand), a "chef" is the head cook - and has specific regognized training. A small restaurant would have only one (if any) but might have several cooks. In a every day situation - such as at the Hungarian Club - there will be a "cook" never a "chef"