Really? In this case it makes perfect sense! I'm stuck and lost in the jungle. It's dark. I'm scared. I started hearing a noise a few minutes ago, and it seems to come closer. I'm freaking out, because "I'm hearing an animal"!! -- I really think it should be an acceptable answer. I reported it.
It has always been weird to me to accept both translations, if I want to say "hearing" I would just use present continuous, I believe it makes more sense, also because sometimes DL takes as incorrect to translate in present simple which I believe is never incorrect (for verbs in present simple).
to use "hear" in a continuous tense has a fairly specific place. it would still make sense to use it here, but it makes me think more of two people having an argument, and one person says "all i am hearing is excuses," or "what i'm hearing is that you're..." - the meaning becomes kind of akin with "understanding."
It means that many French people have a very poor grammar (syntax, conjugation, spelling, etc...). Often, they don't know how words are written but to avoid showing their lack of education by mis-liaising words, they don't liaise at all.
Example: 80 euros reads: quatre-vingts euros, where you should have a Z liaison with word euros. Since "vingt" does not always have an -s ending and some people don't know the rule, they want to avoid pronouncing vingt-Z if it should be vingt-T. Therefore, they say: quatre-VIN euros.
From your mouth to God's ears. :-) I also had wondered how good the French are at their own language. Realistically, I never truly thought so, but I always tended to think that native French speakers were better at their language than native English speakers are at ours. But if everyone spoke and wrote English perfectly, I wouldn't have a job. Someday I'd like to meet a French editor.
Is that so?.
I am not a native speaker of neither English nor French, so I may very well be wrong. But if I say "I can hear an animal" in English, it may very well mean that I am hearing an animal right now, whereas I think the French "Je peux entendre un animal" means that I am able to hear an animal, but I don't hear one now. If it is correct that "I can hear an animal" can mean "I am hearing an animal right now", I think it may be used as a translation of "J'entends un animal", in addition to "I hear an animal" and "I am hearing an animal".
Actually, I find that Duolingo seems to prefer literal translations to translations that may be more idiomatically correct.
English speakers miss-use the word "can" frequently.
The sentence "I can hear an animal" should technically mean "I am able to hear an animal." However, you are correct in that we frequently do say "I can hear an animal" when we intend to mean "I am currently hearing an animal."
More often the issue with "can" is a miss-use of ability versus permission. "Can I use the bathroom?" actually means "Am I capable of using the bathroom?" but it gets used nearly 100% of the time. We should be saying "May I use the bathroom?"
Unless you have purchased the idiom lesson Duo just came out with, I would stick to more literal translations as well.
May I disagree? 'Can' is used to compensate for the lack of a continuous form (or to emphasize "at this moment") of sense verbs such as hear, ie., "I am hearing a car" is wrong, so instead we use "I hear a car"; but to emphasize urgency to the listener we say "I can hear a car" (pay attention and you will hear it, too).
Can is used for both: ABILITY: Can I ride a bike = Am I able to? and PERMISSION (when we're not being formal and we expect the answer to be positive): Can I ride my bike? (Am I allowed to? May I?)
Why do you say, "I am hearing a car!" is wrong? Just curious! Also, my understanding has always been that using "can" for permission was incorrect, not informal! ... I wonder again, if it's a matter of English grammar changing over time and from country to country, or if in this case either you or I are wrong about this.
I have been 'arguing' your (@hellefs) cause for a while now, on this forum. In English is very natural to say: I can hear, I can see etc, as an equivalent to French' J'entends. Je vois. Pity DL is not at all aware of this and doesn't want to learn. Or perhaps things just need to be kept simple here...
What I suggest to Duolingo is that as long as we are learning French not English, if the English translation is not perfect in grammar but commonly understood the same way the French text should be understood, it means that the French text is translated correctly but expressed in English in an informal way. So it should be accepted with a note about the English grammar mistake. Who agrees with me??
One of the difficulties with your suggestion is that if DL accepts a translation that is not grammatically correct English but then 'notes' the mistake - then DL is teaching English - further arguments will develop on whether DL explanation of the mistake is correct.
Also how bad would the English sentence have to be before you would draw the line?
I would say that if a literal translation gives an awkward - but grammatically correct - English sentence then it should be accepted - but an incorrect sentence should not be accepted as a valid translation.
Further there are many learners using the French lessons who are not native speakers of English - it would be extremely confusing and unfair on them as they would not be able to judge if they had understood the French sentence properly.
St.Brieux and Ingrid Schuler, below are some links that may help in describing the difference between stative verbs and action (or dynamic) verbs: http://www.slideshare.net/eoiaviles/verbs-of-the-senses http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/grammar-reference/stative-verbs http://esl.about.com/od/grammarstructures/a/g_stative.htm I do apologise about not being able to format this reply.
I've been translating many of these present tense verbs with the progressive tense, because the present sounds stiff and unnatural to me, i. e.: he writes a letter vs. he is writing a letter. Here, though, the progressive seems to my English-speaker's ears to simply emphasize the immediacy of the idea.
In most cases the French present tense can be translated into either the English simple present or present progressive. However "to hear" is a stative verb and so can not be used in the English present progressive when the ordinary meaning of "to hear" is intended. So the only opption in this case is "I hear an animal".
It is true that we often hear people say "I am hearing X", sometimes to emphasise immediacy or just to mean "I REALLY hear X". Strictly though that is not correct.
hear / entendre is to receive a sound signal through your ears. It does not involve any thinking.
If someone on the phone tells you "do you hear me?" it will be about your ability to sense the sound of his/her voice.
If you came back home late last night and your partner/mother tells you he/she heard you, it will probably mean that he/she will have heard the sound of your steps on the floor or any other noise you would have produced.
So, indeed you can hear an animal or a human being, or a train or the wind blowing, even it it only about the sound they produce.