On other language courses on Duolingo, we are given vocabulary in advance of being asked questions about it. For example, in Spanish, we are shown a picture of a house with the word "la casa", Then, later, we will be asked to recognize and use that word.
In this Arabic course I am asked to translate into English things like "new house", without first having been introduced to the meaning of any Arabic words in the course.
Is this the intended pedagogy? I mean, we select two from five words at random and learn by trial and error? It may be effective, but I just wanted to check if something had gone wrong in the course.
If you're already seeing selections then you've already been shown the words before.
If youve never seen it before then you get either the word with a picture, or you get the word in a sentence that you can click to see the new word's translation.
For example this exercise is from Descript. 2 and the words for "cold" and "fish" are taught in Descript. 1.
Why is this 'cold fish' rather than 'a cold fish'? Is there something that indicates the presence or absence of an indefiniye article or is it contextual?
Because سَمَك is referring to fish in general in plural form. If you want to talk about an individual fish, it's a feminine noun and it's سَمَكة then you'd have to make the adjective agree with this feminine noun. So "a cold fish" would be:
There is no articles in Arabic, so you won't be seeing articles, and the English to Arabic is kind of based on your common sense of English when typing the answers to the translations
There is no indefinite article ('a') but there is a definite article ('the', ال). Without context there is no common sense, so knowing that 'a fish' and 'fish' are different words is key to this one...