Translation:The patient lost her speech a few days ago.
Here you can use "há alguns dias" or "alguns dias atrás" - they are the same! (Há also means "for")
I have a feeling this is a silly question. As you say, "há" can mean "for" so is "The patient lost her speech/voice for some days" a valid translation? This obviously doesn't mean quite the same as Duolingo's version.
I compared "for" to "since" as in "present perfect" tenses. Here, to keep the same meaning, you have to use "por" :-)
Thanks, I knew it was a silly question. Your answer makes me wonder whether it is possible to translate this sentence as "The patient has not been able to speak for some days". Now "há" is translated as "for" and the sentence says much the same as the one with "ago".
"Há" in this case means how long the action happened, and it is still true in the Present. :)
Actually, here it means "when" it started and doen't talk about continuity.
"Há" can assume both meanings, but in different sentence constructions, as Paulenrique and Davu discussed here.
Continuity vs Single action
- Ela não fala há 10 anos = She hasn't spoken for ten years
- Ela chegou há 10 anos = She arrived ten years ago
Actually, it should be 'she hasn't spoken for ten years'. What you have isn't grammatically correct English.