I am new to Swahili and am trying to make connections. I had "pole" in an earlier part of this lesson and put "sorry" as the answer. Duolingo marked it wrong and said it should have been "I am sorry for you." This time I was given "pole dada" so I put "I am sorry for you sister" but Duolingo marked it wrong and said it should be "sorry sister." Could someone who knows the difference tell me if this is a quirk in Duolingo or if it is actually that way that in one instance it means the whole phrase and in another it is only correct to put "sorry."
The course is in Beta. It's not yet complete and there are a lot of issues with the lack of alternative answers that have been entered so far.
What I can tell you is that pole is a word expressing regret for someone else's situation, whether big or small. If someone stubs their toe, you can say pole. If someone's relative dies, you can also say pole (probably with sana "very (much)" or something else to indicate a higher degree).
Saying pole is NOT apologising for something you have done, simply expressing regret/sympathy etc.
To apologise, you say samahani, which works for either "sorry" or "excuse me". This is not the one to say when someone has died ... unless you killed them.
For pole dada i put sorry sis, and it marked it incorrect. It claimed that the correct translation was sorry sister, but in english they are the same thing. I definitely think that my answer should have been accepted.
I disagree, as there are very few I would address with "sis", while "dada" is a common address to other women (related or not - generally those who don't look like mother yet/are younger).