Okay, I'm trying to make sense of this. In English, "never mind" means "don't worry about it" or "make nothing of it." I think in this case "make nothing of it" is the linking meaning.
S1: I forgot my phone at home! Turn the car around. S2: Okay. Will do. S1: Actually, make nothing of it. We have yours.
In English, we wouldn't say "make nothing of it." We would just say "never mind." In German, "Das macht nichts" would literally translate to "it/that/this makes nothing." That translation is closest to "make nothing of it" which becomes "never mind" in English.
My argument with Duolingo is that since this isn't an idiom lesson. There should be some sort of exposure to this aside from randomly in a lesson. A simple fix would be introducing this in the tip area for the lesson.
So far I've seen this phrase in a speaking exercise only. You can't expect all idioms in any language to be literally translated into English, there's always background info in many of them. Again, you get a meaning of a full phrase, not just word by word. I've been recently using this app and what it clearly does is just to provide resourceful guidelines. That means that you still have to do the side work for example, by using other different verbs to get familiar with the inflections, make your own vocabulary of words and idioms related to the lessons and so on. Duolingo isnt a proper full course unfortunately, yet
I agree completely. It's very frustrating when I get sayings like this that have some of the vocabulary involved in the section it's on, but make absolutely no sense given what I've been told to understand about the section this is on. In fact, I believe sayings like this would be more useful on the "Phrases" section at the very beginning of the tree than it would be here of all places!
It's an idiom (a non-literal phrase). Such phrases are commonly used in day-to-day communication, so it helps to learn them. I understand it can feel 'unfair' the first time you encounter one without warning, though. Just use it as motivation to memorise it as a whole sentence!
My problem is to understand the difference between "Das macht nichts" and "Das macht nichts aus". Duolingo says the first means "Never mind" and the second means "That doesn't make a difference". But to me, both those translations mean "It doesn't matter". Is there really a difference?