It would be better English to say, "There are many states in America."
I downvoted their sentence. Please downvote it when they are not good enough to teach.
As I'm coming to understand, Latin is a very stilted language by today's standards, but to be fair, we've had hundreds of years of wear and tear to get to the soft, cushy, almost lazy languages we have now. Think of language like sandstone. After a few million drops of rain erode it over a century, it'll look markedly different from when it started. Language evolves over time. Just look at modern slang compared to the slang of the 90's. While some things like "cool" and "hot" mean basically the same thing, other words have completely fallen out of use while new ones appear or evolve from older ones.
It would be nice to change scenery. Why not Gallia, Germania, Hispania or Britannia, to mention but a few?
I think this is a short form of the intended course, still in Beta testing. Also, apparently Duo's program has only so many spaces for different words. To add more places would cause too many variants which would overload the program. That said, I would prefer shorter city and state and country names, simply to shorten typing time....:) Paulus rather than Stephanus, and so on.
So the notes for this skill (Places) mentions that to say "in [a place]", except for cities and "domi", you tend to use the ablative. But I could have sworn I remembered from my high school Latin classes that it was dative that was used for this! (Dative for location, accusative for direction.) Am I misremembering, is there some nuance to when it's dative versus ablative, or are the notes of the Duolingo course wrong?
I am afraid you may have misremembered the lesson: I just double-checked, and the Latin text-book says that the preposition "in" (=in, on, upon) is used with ablative. "Into" takes the accusative. The remains of the ancient Locative case are described just as in the comments above--only used with cities, small islands, etc. and without the "in".
I see, that must indeed be it, then. I suppose it was the simplest explanation. Thank you.
I'm not, the tips and notes say that the ablative is used for locations, except for cities and "domi", where the locative is used. I'm talking about the other cases, other than cities and "domi".
Because civitas is a feminine noun, here in its plural nominative form civitates, so you use the plural nominative feminine form for mult- as well, which is multae. multi would be (among some others) the plural nominative masculine form.
'city' is urbs/urbis. Civitas doesn't quite mean state because the meaning was historically more connected to a city and the region around it but it's close enough.
Provincia etymologycally means "conquested land", in Ancient Rome they do not have self-goverment. Civitas was a city-state like Greek or Phoenician city-states. For example in Russian language we do not translate the "state" in our language, we use the German term "Staat".
You could argue that American states are also conquested land. But I must admit I had not thought of the relation between vincere and provincia. When I suggested provincia I was mainly thinking of the size of a lot of American states. They are often too big for a real city state.
In modern word, province could be simply division of the territory, without the "conquest" meaning. It's an administrative division for a same centralized power. I think the key to make the difference is: is there really a centralized power.
Historically American states are "states", little countries gathered into a federation of countries. State means country.
But if you remove the historical aspect, American states really work as provinces of a same country, provinces can have less or more decentralized power, or at the opposite, the state more or less power.
Many countries have provinces working in a federal way, with a lot of power for them. For instance, in Pakistan, each province decides almost everything, from health to the content of the education program, they have more power than an American state. Switzerland is a confederation, Belgium province has very different laws in different regions and provinces.
So, this question hard to debate, what is state, what is a province, what is equivalent to an ancient city-state. The political notions were very different in that time, and in our time. The notion of city-state is unknown now.