Could that also mean I am under, even though that doesn't make as much sense as I'm downstairs?
depends - usually you'd have some context and not just this one sentence. if you know you are talking about relative positions, "i am under" would make some sense, otherwise the only meaningful translation would be "i am downstairs" or "i am below" .. maybe even "i am at the end of the road" .. thinking about it, we can use "unten" and "oben" for a multitude of spacial situations :D
Remember that unten is use in general (Ich bin unten = I am downstairs) and unter is for a specific location (Es ist unter dem buch).
I didn't test it, but could "oben" also be used as the colloquial English use of "up," basically meaning "awake," e.g. "My father is up"?
No, "oben" doesn't mean that someone is awake.
My father is up (i.e. awake) = Mein Vater ist wach./Mein Vater ist (schon) aufgestanden./Mein Vater ist (schon) auf.
I tested it. Apparently DL does't like that...How would you say: "My father is up", though?
It does not like it indeed, however it tells you that you could use it.. duoling is being duoling again :)
Not exactly, the list of hints for "oben" includes "up", but that doesn't mean each word listed works for every situation nor that every meaning of a word listed in the hints applies to this German word. This particular expression in which "up" means "awake" instead of a relative position is not correct for "oben". Scroll up for the correct words to use for that expression.
-Was ist das oben am Himmel ??
-Es ist ein Vogel! -Es ist ein Flugzeug!
-Nein...es ist Superman!!!
Can't this mean "my father is ON the top?" I typed that and got it wrong. Am I wrong or what?
no, you are not wrong. german spacial words can refer to very different concepts. "on the top" wouldn't be the first idea a german gets when they hear "oben", though .. only in a few special cases, where you can get the idea from the context
I think Duolingo wants us to know that this sentence does not translate to "My father is awake." which would be "Mein Vater ist wach.", "Mein Vater ist (schon) aufgestanden." or "Mein Vater ist (schon) auf."
"Is he up yet?" = "Ist er schon auf?"
http://en.pons.com/translate?q=He+is+up (Click on magnifying glass search button)
http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/anglais-allemand/Is%20he%20awake http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/allemand-anglais/aufgestanden Scroll down to see everything at these sites.
With the current male voice I couldn't hear it as "oben" no matter how many times I played it. Case #umpteen of it being the most unintelligable worst.
It is. "Mein" is connected to "Vater", so "mein Vater" is treated as one element, the subject.
"über" is above. "oben" is up. There is no mention of stairs - he could be on the roof! This is very poor. Unimpressed.
Another translation is "My father is on top"... My father is a savage!!!