Translation:Without this book I could not learn.
As far as I know, the sentence by JLovell91 was correct. Your sentence is not incorrect, but it changes the emphasis (possibly too much). It kind of implies "...I couldn't learn German (but I could learn something else)". The emphasis is on not German rather than on not learn.
Is könnte in this sentence present or past? The English "I could not learn" is ambiguous about its tense, so I'm not sure. "I could not" can be past tense for "was unable to," but could also be present.
"I could not learn" (past indicative) = Ich konnte nicht lernen
"I could not learn" (present subjunctive) = Ich könnte nicht lernen
"I wouldn't have been able to learn" (past subj.) = Ich hätte nicht lernen können
Here you mention "könnte" as 'present' subjunctive. I'm still learning grammar, but this confuses me as when I click the 'conjugate' button on Duolingo, "könnte" is listed as 'past conditional'. Why does it say that?
Are you sure? Subjunctive is Konjunctive in German. Conditional is Konditional. http://conjugator.reverso.net/conjugation-german-verb-konnen.html
http://www.canoo.net/services/Controller?input=können=(Cat+V)(Aux+haben)=inflection=en (Type in können, click on the British flag to have the explanations in English, click on the verb's Word Forms to see the conjugation.)
Thank you for fixing your link. The fact is that "could" can also be used in the conditional as well, both in the present and the past. Scroll down at this link for "could" under "possibility". http://butte.edu/departments/cas/tipsheets/grammar/would.html
I think this sentence could be viewed either way. There is a condition "without this book" and this is subjective as it is my opinion that I could not learn. After all, there may be another way - we seem to be learning on the internet.
On the other hand, this could have happened that the person was not able to learn without the book (Maybe there was no internet availability.), in which case it is fact and not subjunctive.
Finally, something we can understand: http://german.about.com/od/grammar/a/The-Conditional-In-German.htm It says that the Conditional is established through the Subjunctive II. They quickly say that that is not the only way to form the conditional.
In order to make it more clear when using "could", we should reference a past time when it is used in the past. There would be a previous statement and this one is out of context. If we take it to mean "Without this book, ......" then they do have the book now or it is near, so that as a present statement, it is definitely sheer conjecture. (As in, if this were the case, I would not be able to learn.) This could also be interpreted to mean "without that book" which may mean I still don't have it.
If the previous statement was, last week I forgot my book at school, then we would know that it was a past event. http://german.about.com/od/grammar/a/konjunktivII.htm http://german.about.com/od/grammar/a/konjunktivII_2.htm
I don't know the technical name for it, but könnte is used to express hypothetical situations. So instead of "I was not able to" (something that definitely happened) it's more talking about "if things were different, I would not have been able to" (but it didn't actually happen that way).
Added an "anything" after "could not learn" - like so: "I could not learn anything without ..." etc. I don't think this was sufficient reason to make it an error. Also, "lernen" would probably translate better as "study"; it is one of the more common way of saying this.
Really? You couldn't learn Spanish because you didn't have this German book? You couldn't learn anything? Not how to drive, not how to wash dishes? You cannot indiscriminately change the meaning of the sentence. (Some people might say this when talking about a German book that they couldn't learn any German and might even say "anything", but it would be wrong. Not everything everyone says is accurate. This is a use of exaggeration that is definitely common in America, but might not be understood everywhere.)
Ohne duolingo wurde es für mich zu schwer zu lernen ' danke schon duolingo, aber ist mein Satz richtig?
Could the sentence be written as below?
"Ich könnte ohne dieses Buch nicht lernen"
In a German sentence, the verb usually comes second. The first block in this sentence is "without this book", so the first position is already taken no matter what. The main verb occupies the second slot. Thus, the grammatical subject "ich" has to move.
Starting the sentence with "ohne dieses Buch" is the author's choice, though.
Except Duolingo won't accept "but for" as I just learned. I marked that my answer should be accepted, but doesn't help me this time through, of course.
Because the tense changes in your offered translation, you see.
could not have learned suggests that somebody has already learned a concept or topic, and they would probably not have learned it without the help of that book.
could not learn, on the other hand, suggests that one is in the process of learning a concept, but wouldn't be able to do so without said book.
This sounds like something one of my friends would say...before they hit Duolingo! (Just kidding, I have no friends who like languages as much as I do, and would buy a book just to learn a language, this is what I did)
Oh yeah. So is it like:
Ich konnte = I could (do something)
Ich könnte = I could have (done something)
Other way round if anything - see Zchbaniels25's answer; though either might be translated "I could (do something)" as that form is ambiguous in English.
No in English "could" has many uses: in the past: "Ich konnte" "I could (do something) last year. and in the subjunctive "Ich könnte" "I could (do something) if....or in this case not without....
"could have (done something)" would be "hätte........(machen) können"
"Nothing" is "nichts". Obviously, in the translation of literature a translator may or may not change sentences in most unusual way just to make it look better or sound better (for speech), or to make the sequence of sentences less repetitive. But here, German clearly says "not learn" rather than "learn nothing"... and there isn't any reason to replace one with another.
After all, if Duolingo accepts anything remotely similar to the meaning of the sentence, it becomes hard to judge when you stop understanding the language. Maybe that's why. Of course, it makes sense to do so for such cases when direct translation is not possible: either the usage in German and English differs (on Monday = am Montag, i.e. "on the Monday") or the construction is completely different (Ich gefällt ihr = err.. I am likeable to her?) ... and for set set expressions, which usually are only remotely connected to the words used.
"...könnte ich nicht lernen " ... isn't it supposed to be a question ... !!!!!!
Are you asking a question?
Seriously though, why do you think it is supposed to be a question? I read this as a simple statement.
I think "Without this book I WILL not be able to learn" should be accepted too.
"Would" is a conditional term, whereas "Will" is a future term. "Would" implies different things.
and "could" when it is translating for "könnte" is in the subjunctive mood.