Many comments here seem to be about the "strange" way a person tells their age in Spanish, e.g. "Tengo diez años" literally "I have ten years", instead of the English way, "I am ten years old". Native Spanish speakers might think the English way is strange. What I believe is that many of us are prejudiced to the way we have always heard things.
I agree. If a Spanish speaker were to say in English "I have ten years", we would think it sounds strange, even if we understand the intention.
But I do wonder if the answer "I have ten years" should be marked wrong? It does literally mean, "I have ten years". Should a literal translation actually be called wrong?
My reason for using Duolingo is to learn to understand SPANISH, not to learn to translate Spanish into perfect English. I already speak English, I want to understand Spanish. If the Spanish way of saying something is structurally different, so be it.
I know it's tricky. Some Spanish sentences, when translated literally, make really bad English or don't make sense in English. It just bothers me that a literally interpreted simple sentence is called "wrong" when it actually isn't.
In another question, I wrote an answer "It's the shoe of my mother". It said I was wrong, it should be "It's my mother's shoe", and I'm thinking, I'm trying to learn Spanish here, NOT English.
Considering that when you want to say something in Spanish, you will think of the English thing to say and then how to say it appropriately in Spanish, and if you are listening to someone speak in Spanish, you want to know the English meaning, not the literal word for word meaning, it is important to be able to translate both ways according to how each language structures something and their meaning. Otherwise you will hear people speak to you in Spanish and not get their actual meaning, only your literal English understanding.
'Tengo calor' - 'You have heat? Where? How do you HAVE heat?' It makes no sense in English so you have to know how to translate meaning, not literal word for word; that's not learning a language, it's learning to translate individual words.
That's why Duo marks it wrong because in English, that's not what the phrase means.
Yes, what you say makes sense. It's just that I actually find it useful to know what the words literally mean as well, so I understand how the concept is expressed in the target language. I continue to do that, but have learned not to do it for Duolingo answers. I'm not arguing the point anymore, I posted that six months ago, and I've since decided to just focus on the meaning and not fret too much about translations. Translations are temporary stepping stones to becoming fluent. I don't want to get stuck there.
Of course, that's why it's good to understand how we can translate meaning back and forth, you can't really have one without the other in language learning. And the good thing about Duo is that you can just hover over each word to find its specific meaning and then to figure how we would say the same in English.
I find that these threads are useful for people who have the same thoughts or questions - I often come to comment or question to find it's already been addressed and answered :)
Yes, It also helps me to know the "literal meaning" of phrases.
But then I should put it into good standard English, and not the English created by a strictly literal translation.
And on the other hand, I try to avoid substituting my own preferred words for the author's words.
French is the same using "avoir"/to have when speaking of age. When you think about, it actually makes more sense. What doea it mean "to be" 10 years old as opposed to having 10 years; like under your belt.
If you already know English, then you should use it in answering the questions, instead of translating word for word.
That is what Duolingo seems to prefer most of the time. And also what usually needs to be done if you don't want your answers to be marked as wrong.
I think that the different expression is interesting. I find it annoying that if I do a word for word translation that I get the question wrong though.
I wrote "I am ten years OF AGE" and was marked wrong, yet it means exactly the same as "I am ten years old".
Well, get out your whip, Skeets, and get whipping and force one of the Duolingo authors to include your pet sentence in the database so you wont have to think about how the provided English sentence is all you need to gain an understanding of the Spanish sentence which is the only thing you should be concerned about. But to heck with that when focusing on your own way to say stuff in Englidh is so much more fun than learning Spanish, eh?
See the comments just above, especially by EugeneTiffany, and the related comments.
Yours is not standard English. Not everything should be translated literally.
Any English teacher would correct you to the Duo answer.
Cant use numbers when it asks you type what was said. They are checking your spelling and hearing.
The correct answers have to be programed in. Its not a person marking it saying "thats not perfect but i understand what theyre saying"
Good for you. And good to see you benefiting by what Duolingo is teaching quite beyond many others here who are stuck om English.
Yeah that wolud make more sence to me, otherwise it's just "I have 10 years"... of what? Could someone please clarify?
It is expressed like this in some Romance languages. Instead of being a number of years old, they have a number of years on their tallies.
So how do you say in Spanish when you really want to say that you have 10 years left to finish/achieve something but you leave out the last part because you're talking in context?
It would be just the same: Tengo diez años (para escribir ese libro). But if you use years as the unit of time, it needs heavy context to work. Something like "Tienes treinta minutos" is much less ambiguous.
Tengo still means "I have", but Spanish handles talking about age in a different way than English. While in English you say "I am twenty years old", in Spanish you express it with "I have twenty years." That's all there is to it.
If you were saying "Soy veinte años", you would be claiming that you were a certain length of time. You would be understood, though.
I have come to realize that Duolingo often wants you to translate to the equivalent meaning in English, which isn't always the same as a literal translation. I think this is because, in order to speak the language, you need to eventually stop translating and just associate the meaning with the words.
Right! No English is involved when one is fluent.
The only PURPOSE of the English sentences is to provide us with an understanding of what the Spanish sentences mean.
Duolingo is not teaching us to become Translators.
Exactly I thought so too.. I even confirmed using estoy is correct when I translated it on Google translate
Google Translate is not a reliable translation service. If it were, we wouldn't need to learn languages.
Google Translate translates the English sentence with the proper Spanish counterpart, including tengo.
"Estoy diez años" is grammatically not possible. Estar doesn't take noun objects.
I understand there is a difference between the way things are said between languages, but I have a question....I was looking for soy but it wasn't there...how am I supposed to know when to use soy and when to use tengo (like if the selected words were not there)??
1) See the Duo tips at the beginning of the lesson. 2) Realize it's OK to be wrong so long as you learn from your mistake. Sometimes, begin wrong is more impactful.
Talking about age is pretty much the only time where you'd use a form of tener in Spanish to translate an expression that uses "to be" in English.
Duolingo is not fundamentally a language teaching service. The only thing it does is letting you practice translations over and over, and your duty is to find patterns in those translations that help you make sense of the language and use it. Unless you look it up somewhere else, you are not going to know in advance that expressions of age use tener in Spanish. But Duo has a simple built-in system to deal with that: guess, get it wrong, and it'll show you the correct answer. If that answer makes sense to you, you learn it, and if you're still confused, look into the comment section or do your own research.
Again, Duo does not busy itself with actual teaching lessons. It just throws you in the deep end and gives you some hints here and there. But in the end it's all about brute-force practice and little theory or explanation. That's what the comment section and the search engine of your choice are for. Don't be afraid of getting things wrong. That's how you learn.
If you answer a question, you should stay in the same tense as the question. The answer to "How long have you been with this company?" would be "I have been ten years" or, grammatically more sound, "I have been (here) for ten years." In Spanish that would be "He estado (aquí) por diez años".
But it's possible to translate "Tengo diez años" as "I have ten years" when it's about finishing a task:
- Debo encontrar una esposa. Tengo diez años (para esto). - I must find a wife. I have ten years (for this).
Why is it that "I have ten years" is wrong? We're learning SPANISH, not English
How are you going to learn Spanish if you don't also translate the meaning of the sentence into English? The primary meaning of the Spanish sentence it that it's talking about age. You don't express someone's age with "have" in English.
Duolingo (as well as most Spanish teaching materials) translate Spanish to the equivalent meaning in English, because they want you to associate that meaning with the Spanish words. A literal translation of the words often won't translate to the equivalent meaning in English.
I understand your frustration. I too, like to know what the words literally mean, especially in the beginning. But if you want to learn to speak Spanish, you'll eventually need to move away from translating completely, and just start associating the words in Spanish with the meaning in English. I suspect that is why most learning materials will give you the equivalent meaning in English, instead of the literal one.
It's very hard to learn Spanish if you don't even know/understand your own language.
I wrote "I am ten years old". Duo said oops that's wrong. It's "I am ten years old". What the f.....?
One BIG problem I am having with the Duo age things is that they accept the "Anos" without the tilde (that little wave mark above the n which makes it a nyuh sound).
THIS IS A CRITICAL DETAIL, and one that is hyper important for English peakers to learn.
"Yo tengo diez años" = "I have ten years (I am ten years old)" Without the tilde... "Yo tengo diez anos" = "I have ten ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤."
In English we'd either say, 'I am (I'm) ten years old' or, ' I am (I'm) ten' but not, 'I am ten years'.
I enjoy the way age is expressed in Spanish.
I am bothered by the way we're mandated to translate it. I'm bothered by not, at the very least, being granted the option of translating it more directly from - "Tengo diaz anos" into "I have ten years."
I'd also like to argue a second point: saying, "I have ten years" is more similar to saying "I am ten." or "I am ten years of age" ...2 common, alternative expressions. I feel strongly these options could be available, and that there's no reason to be stubborn over the matter considering it's already an incredibly rough translation.
If Duolingo encouraged people to translate literally, then it's not encouraging to translate naturally and with understanding of the intended message. It's the big difference between language learning apps and direct translation apps like Google translate. If I were unaware of this phrase's meaning in English, translated it verbatim and were marked correct, my understanding of the meaning of the phrase may not develop.
Yes, your alternative phrases are also used to express age in English, the first being very common, the second being more formal. It's not about Duo being stubborn, but building a database of translations. You could report those under 'My answer should be accepted'.
i wrote, "i am ten years old" marked wrong. only becuz i didn't capitalize the "I"????
Duo doesn't mark punctuation, I often don't punctuate (sheer laziness) in these exercises and am never marked for it. Perhaps a typo, or did you write the number 10 instead of the word? If you're sure you wrote it as above, just report it.
I'm confused. tengo means i have, right? Shouldnt it be "yo soy diez anos"?
Tengo means "I have" and in Spanish (and other Romance languages) you express age by saying that you "have a number of years".
"Yo soy diez años" would have you claim to be a length of time.