I never cooked fished is past tense. I have never cooked fish is present perfect. In English we definitely have blurred the lines between the two, but Spanish speakers see a difference between the two. Consider the difference between did you eat or have you eaten. The person who asks the second question is the one more likely to be offering food. The way Duo is set up it won't really teach you the differences, but if it teaches you to recognize the forms you will get there a little better.
I think that the awareness of the difference between the past and the present perfect tenses has eroded a little. If you look at the comment I was responding to, he felt that the have was just an extra word and didn't belong there. I have found that to be common, and that lack of awareness sometimes causes a mixed use. I do agree that the official uses are the same in Spanish and English. I have also heard that in Spain the use of perfect tenses is more common, which may be more like our use. I just think few Americans would consciously recognize the difference between Have you done the dishes and did you do the dishes, although they may unconsciously, and many people would say them interchangeably in many situations. That is less true in Spanish, at least to my understanding and in my experience. Of course I am American and have been exposed mostly to Latin Anerican Spanish (exclusively in actual conversations), so that effects my experience and thus my opinion.
I don't know if we can draw conclusions about usage just based on how much native speakers understand about the construction, because I'd guess just as many Spanish speakers as English speakers are unsure about the details of perfect aspect in their own language. In English, it is likely somewhat more common for speakers to not recognize the construction because the majority of verbs—weak verbs—have the same form in the past tense and past participle, whereas they are distinct in Spanish. I would argue that even in spite of the lack of understanding of the perfect construction by speakers, most can still use it correctly most of the time. If they couldn't, it would have lost its significance and usefulness by now.
I don't disagree with you really. As I have said my comment came from seeing many users not seeming to understand that there is any difference between past and present perfect. I don't believe that they don't know to use it correctly in English but rather are not aware of what they know. I was certainly in that group. Despite being an English major in college with a concentration in linguistics I didn't really understand the perfect tenses until I studied Spanish. That may have been exacerbated by the fact that the first foreign language I learned (not counting High School French which I did well in but didn't learn) was German which doesn't have perfect tenses. I also must confess I am one who would prefer that Duo puts more context into is examples instead of simply accepting all the possible translations of all the possible meanings. I would rather understand why my answer is probably wrong rather than why it might be right. If the Spanish and English uses of the perfect are parallel that is all the more reason to translate the Spanish perfect tenses into English perfect tenses and visa versa.
Okay. I agree. I think most people spend at least a good part of their lives not understanding what they're saying before they ever learn, if they ever do. I also would be happy with more explanations to go along with exercises, even if only because I think you can never have to much information available. If there are used who don't feel like they would get much out of tips or want to learn the language organically without them, that's fine and they don't have to read them, but I know that they would be helpful to me.
I don't know why I continue to waste my time lamenting this highly inconsistent translator. However, if one translation of "cocinado" is "baked" why in blazes would it possibly marked as incorrect if I translate the above sentence as "I have never baked fish"?
I don't know what else to say except to let a string of "cuss" words to vent my mounting frustration with these inconsistent translations.
It is not inconsistent, it what this phrase means. Think of it like how when people say they cook pasta and they mean boil, or ask how long will it take to cook the pie. There is no translation of cocinar that is specific to baking, although that can be implied by saying that you cooked bread, pastries, or something similar that is (as a rule) made in an oven:
- Pero sabe que horno abierto no cocina pan.
Since English speaking people rarely say "I cook the bread" unless to say how, the connotation of cocinar there is "to bake". Also the best translation of that phrase above is that "he knew that an open oven does not bake bread" because baking is the purpose of an oven. There is a more exact word for baking, that is hornear, but it tends to get used only when someone wants to be more exact or technical. The particular problem with fish is that fish can be prepared any number of ways, and baking is probably the least common of all those methods, especially in Spanish speaking countries. No one would instinctively understand this sentence to mean that you had never baked fish, whereas they would if you were speaking of bread.
Cocinado is the past particple of cook. Past participles are used for the perfect tenses. They also can be used as adjectives in which case they will agree in gender and number with the noun like other adjectives. Cocinando and caminando are present participles. Believe it or not I have found some degree of controversy about what to call them. In Spanish one word for this is Gerundio which is the basis for part of this controversy. When we say gerund we are generally talking about a verb form used as a noun. In English we use the present participle (ing form) for that. In Spanish they use the infinitive as a noun. I also came accross something on the net about why it shouldn't be considered a present participle. I don't remember the argument and frankly am tired of semantic arguments. Suffice it to say that they do translate as cooking and walking respectively. They are used in the progressive forms like estoy cocinando I am cooking (although the progressive in Spanish is only used to emphasis the ongoing nature unlike in English. It is also used in other circumstances where you use the ing form as a verb. It is never used as a noun. As I mentioned previously that is always the infinitive form in Spanish. Er and ir verbs form the present participle with iendo as in comiendo.
My understanding is that they are not quite synonymous, but are mostly. Cocer is the more general term for the most part, although cocinar is part of various set expressions