This is a special usage of the present tense in Italian. The key is to notice 'da' in the sentence + a present tense verb. These are translated as: ...have been (verb)...since (or for) (time expression. According to my reference grammar (De Rome) this is a common usage in Italian, so you have to learn to recognize it. Da quanto tempo sei qui? Sono qui da un mese. How long have you been here? I have been here for a month.
If the action is STILL continuing from the past ......English is past tense but Italian is present tense.
I've lived in Italy for 2 years = Vivo in Italia da 2 anni........the present tense is used...... but if the action is not continuing to the present......the past tense is used.
I lived in Italy for 2 years = Ho vissuto in Italia per 2 anni.......note that 'da' has now been replaced by 'per' to mean 'for'
And, technically, it's not in the past tense in English. The "have" in the English sentence is in present tense. The use of "had" in the English sentence would make it past. (The English sentence does include "perfect" aspect.) But, most importantly, as others have pointed it out, the verb's tense/aspect in the English sentence may not match the verb tense/aspect in Italian when describing the same event.
Fernando 'We are together for thirty years:' is a corruption of the English language. When you refer to the past and include the present, you must use the present perfect tense. If you say, 'we are together for thirty years', you are no doubt translating directly from Italian, French, Spanish, or Greek,but you are not speaking English correctly.
To summarise some of the very helpful comments here and answer some of the questions:
Duolingo works by trial and error. You don't get 'taught' anything. You find out by guessing and making mistakes. One of the responses here suggests that psychologists agree that the frustration you feel on this type of 'mistake' actually aids your learning. It hurts but you have learnt something. Get over it.
This sentence is an example of big difference between English and Italian. It may be the first time you have met it. Italians use the present tense a lot more than the English. It is explained using more technical terms by others here but basically, if it started in the past and is still happening we use the "present perfect" ie We have been together for ..... However the Italians use the present tense hence Stiamo (present 'we' form of Stare.) This may come up again when you are learning the future tense. If I were to say that I will go on holiday this year, it hasn't started yet and is happening in the future so that is future for the English but the Italians would say vado in vacanza quest'anno. I go on holiday. They only use future tense for things that will happen quite a long way off or for emphasis. (correct me if I'm wrong native speakers)
There now, you made a mistake, got angry with duolingo and you've learnt something, maybe two things. Have nice day.
Oh, and that word Stare as opposed to Essere? Well I'm still working that one out. My best attempt is that essere = to be, whilst stare = to BE. Not quite remain or stay but more than just being.
Has anyone else had any problems with "click the microphone and say" on this sentence? I have had this one about 5 times now and cannot get this one right. I don't have the problem with other sentences. I don't always get it marked correct the first go, but usually the second time round, I have corrected whatever it was I was mispronouncing. But not having much luck with this one.
Just got it again and got it wrong. I think you may be onto something. I think I'm concentrating to get the double consonant in "anni" right and perhaps pausing between trent' and anni instead of running them in. Hope this comes up again so I can see if that is my problem. Thanks for your reply :)
It is apparently the first person plural of "stare", not "essere": http://italian.about.com/library/verb/blverb_stare.htm
I figured out a hack that seems to get me credit for this response!! I get the thing to prompt me for the pronunciation, and then I say RENT. At that point the TRENT' portion of trent'anni lights up in blue. I then say the whole phrase to get all of the other words in the sentence to light up in blue. Then I submit, and the system gives me credit for the response. What a cluster ❤❤❤❤.
The audio refuses to recognise my voice when I say "trent'anni" no matter how often I say it. I get every other spoken exercise right, and being stubborn decided to keep going till DUO understands the perfectly normally pronounced "Trent'anni" Thirty or so tries later I gave up after reporting 6 0r 7 times. You win Duo!!!!!!
There is a problem with the recording. When asked to repeat the phrase, Duo does not recognised the final part "trent'anni". I even recorded Duo to play it back and still it does not recognise or register. This is not the first time that Duo does not recognise these words. I remember a similar occurence in a previous lesson. I had flagged it then and again now.
I have had several problems with the computer not registering part of a spoken exercise. Yesterday I repeated some very simple words about 10 times, each time being counted as wrong. It was the last exercise in the lesson, but in the end I had to abandon the whole lesson. Very frustrating.
I had exactly the same experience yet I never have a problem with any of the other speaking exercises. There is clearly something wrong with this exercise in this unit. I had to abandon the lesson as Duo refused to accept trent'anni. I hope you reported it each of the ten times you failed.