"It is neither fish nor meat."
Translation:Het is vis noch vlees.
It is Dutch. Dutch has different grammar rules etc. to English and sometimes you simply have to forget about the English rules when learning another language. Here is a Dutch website for reference: https://onzetaal.nl/taaladvies/advies/noch
Noch is used when things are added up, like in this sentence and it negates all the things that have been added up. Repeating noch creates more emphasis on the negation and depending on how big the list is it can make it clearer that it is a negation. To use an extreme example:
It is correct to say:
- Ik eet vlees, vis, bananen, appels, sinaasappels, suiker noch groente.
Which means that you don't eat any of those products, but the problem obviously is that the one reading/listening only finds out very late in the sentence that you don't.
To make it clearer and to put more emphasis on it you could therefore also use.
- Ik eet noch vlees, noch vis, noch bananen, noch appels, noch sinaasappels, noch suiker, noch groente.
Or one can simply rephrase the sentence using Ik eet geen....
Thank you very much for the explanation. This is what I needed! Seems that with use of the word 'noch' in a sentence, the 'neither' at the beginning is implied (and negates the rest of the items in the list). It is helpful to be aware of these differences between Dutch and English so that I can listen a little more carefully
That Duolingo in other cases used the double noch is probably to make it easier for people learning the language from English what noch means without immediately getting confused about why 1 noch can still mean the same thing.
Then why is the double noch construction not used here? Well "Het is vlees noch vis" is a standard expression in Dutch.
I would prefer consistency. In French you would say "I didn't eat nothing" because they have negative agreement whereas in English you have to say "I didn't eat anything" or "I ate nothing" because we have double negatives. This concept is introduced without simplification and is accepted by the student as "just the way they do it in French".
If a single "noch" is more common it should be taught like that from the start. If single and double "noch" are both very common it should be taught that way.
The problem is that you initially think "That makes sense, it's like English" but when you are shown the other way you think "Why is it like that? That doesn't make sense. That's hard." You don't want to encourage resistance of "difficult" grammar by splitting concepts like this.
In French, yes ne on its own can mean not just as pas, but that does not mean that ne...pas or ne...rien is a double negative. But anyway this is the Dutch course.
Is a single noch used more often than multiple nochs? Probably depends on the person and what you are reading since it is not used too often in speech.
Would it be better to be consistent? At the moment there are 3 sentences in this course that use noch. Two of which use a double noch, and one (this one) that uses a single noch in the Dutch -> English translation. In all of these sentences both constructions (English-> Dutch) are accepted.
With 3 sentences that teach noch in which both concepts are taught I think you can hardly accuse the course of being inconsistent. When learning you get sentences in a random order etc. so it is possible that you only got the double noch sentences a few times before getting this sentence. Though that is unfortunately how the system works and for good reasons.