Haha, 'demoralizing' is pretty much the word. But as frustrating as it is at the moment, I'm running through the lessons noting down every single sentence I'm encountering. I think decoding this at the end of it all would offer a lot of insights (which I hope to share back on the forum).
Hope you do keep at it though!
I'll second that hope...this is a crazy-making test on a lesson we really have to learn elsewhere, and a fairly advanced one at that. Duolingo would be well-advised to move it to later in the game, and think hard about how to introduce these little broken-off bits of language.
Like, how about teaching reflexive verbs FIRST? And the imperative? Oh well, I'm taking a little comfort from knowing I'm not alone in my confusion!
These crazy words are very similar in Spanish, my native language. They are so useful that I can't imagine the language without them. But they are really hard to learn and user correctly....for me it is even harder to look for the exact translation in English. Don't get demoralised, it is not you, the lesson is really hard.
Not demoralizing, just frustrating. Unfortunately, lessons like this anger us, and doing so stick in our brains as well or better than common phrases. I probably grumble as much as anyone about Duolingo, but after 3 months I can read, write, and comprehend basic Italian, which I could not do in January. For a self taught language program, it works pretty darn good despite the occasionally annoying phrases and clitics.
"Si" can be intended as either impersonal or reflexive: in the first case (duolingo's solution) it's "tonight people drink" (i.e. we're going to drink), in the latter (your solution) it's "he drinks himself", which in Italian only makes sense with an object, i.e. "si beve un amaro" (he drinks himself a bitter, i.e. he drinks a bitter).
Okay, I understand that, from the point of view of the impersonal: literally, "tonight it drinks itself," so why isn't "tonight they (will be) drink(ing)" acceptable? Especially since an earlier question was "how do you cook pork" and "si cucina" refers to the pork and not the cook.... This part is confusing without that explanation. Thanks in advance....
Heh, I like that, I might steal it for my profile :P
"He" is too specific, given that the subject is impersonal; it could be anyone (one/you) or everyone (people), and if I consider myself in the group that everyone can be translated as "we". It's a bit of a stretch, I know, but it's very common in some contexts, for instance "si parte" (we're going / it's starting) has some 1.470 million hits on google. Another is "si sa"; everyone knows, i.e. you know as well as me.
I see I'm not the only one having serious issues with this unit, though I'm a native spanish speaker and these are very similar to italian, I can't even imagine for native english speakers.. But, to be honest, I also had a bad time when trying to learn prepositions and personal pronouns, and after many tries now I can understand them better, I guess it will be the same with this unit, get used to it. =)
"people are truly competitive race, we think we are the best..." see how the "we" in the sentence refers more to a person in the sociaty than "we" as group of people. it can be translated to " tonight one drinks". that is "si" in italian- the refering to everyone so the word "on" in french- "allor on dans" mean "now everyone dances"- "now we dance"
The only problem I see is that you've created a context with the first part of your sentence above. There is no context in the example here. If Duolingo had said, "Noi abbiamo lavorato tutto il giorno; stasera si beve," one would easily have translated it the way they do. However....
What? that's crazy. Isn't ci the reflexive verb for us / ourselves? It seems the closer meaning of this sentene is 'tonight one drinks'. If this is an idiom and cannot be translated literally, then this sentence should definitely not be in this section where we are trying to learn precisely what these pronouns mean .. or duo has to solve the 'idiom-out-of-the-blue' problem. I would rather have 20 more sentences that make simple use of the pronouns in this section ..