Duolingo has a rather cavalier (or random) attitude about when "sentire" means "to hear" or "to feel" - especially when there is no particular context and the English would support either meaning.
Whenever you're tempted to complain about things here, remember that DL is free, and that it's healthier to be grateful. :)
Sorry, don't mean to lecture, but I took a different free, online language course - which is no longer around - that actually taught wrong usage, so I really appreciate DL's pretty excellent and very effective instruction, and I want to encourage them to stick around. I hope you'll join me in this sentiment, and phrase your questions with a more positive tone.
I am all for a positive tone, but I think You can also view his comment as constructive criticism of some issues with Duolingo that needs to be improved. After all, there is no such thing as a perfect language learning application/website.
Is there any way to tell whether "sentito" is being used to mean either "felt" or "heard", it's hard to know which one ought to be implied. Also, should it not be "Mia madre . . . sentita", to match the gender?
It's my understanding that past participles with compound tenses using avere agree with a direct object - it's participles used with essere that agree with the subject.
I think you would have to tell from the context which is meant. You don't need a gender or number marker on sentito because you're using the auxiliary verb avere rather than essere and you don't have an apostrophized object pronoun like l'ho sentita. Anyway, it wouldn't take the gender of the subject. You could say Io non ho fatto niente whether you are male or female.
shouldn't My mom had not felt a thing be correct in here too?
I think it's the same as My mom had not felt anything..
She must be used to earthquakes in Italy. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_earthquakes_in_Italy
The official answer is "my mother did not hear anything" yet above it says "my mother had felt nothing".
Why the program does not accept the answer "anything" instead of "nothing". It does not have the same meaning?
It depends on what you answered. These are correct:
"My mom had not felt anything"
"My mom had felt nothing"
Why not "My mother had felt like nothing"? Especially since "felt like" is one of the hints for sentito.
The hints are not always correct - you should ignore them as soon as ik gets a little more complicated. In this case don't know where the 'like' would be in the italian sentence.
Don't they usually use sentirsi if they want to talk about feeling? so wouldn't it be "Mia madre non si era sentita niente" This is just what I thought the it would be, if not someone correct/ explain it to me.