"L'ora è sull'orologio."
Translation:The time is on the clock.
I understand what you mean. In my language, "the time is on the clock" sounds similar to "the clothes are on the person" or "the glass is on the table". Something physical. I know that expressions cannot be translated literally between languages, but this one sounds really weird to me.
Yes, this expression makes sense in certain contexts, but given like this, by itself, is more difficult to grasp. Looking at the Italian sentence, I couldn't figure out what the equivalent English expression would be, so I resorted to translating it word for word... and it worked :)
I think you did not get the meaning of "time" on this one. Duo is not saying: "Il tempo è sull'orologio". Instead it says: L'ora è sull'orologio". Here we are talking about already measured time. And it is a perfectly possible answer to the question: "What time is it?" (Che ora è?)
Ian...My first reaction was: Better English? More commonly used? But after thinking about it for a second and noticing the question mark I think I know what you mean. You're phrasing the sentence as a question, instead of asking "What time is it?" Or even "What time is it on the clock?". If that's what you in fact meant, than I see your point, though it's really an unfinished sentence and an awkwardly phrased question. In other words as phrased you're expecting someone to answer as if there were an ellipsis at the end. The problem is that Duo's sentence is a statement and overlooking for a second its exact meaning, as a statement the verb is second. You can't structure a statement with the verb at the end.
Ian...Thanks for clarifying that business about the question mark. The problem is though if you leave it as you suggested it's an incomplete statement in contrast to Duo's which is complete. In your phrasing of it you need to finish the sentence with a specific time: "The time on the clock is...8 o'clock." Or with some phrase such as: "The time on the clock is...down to zero". As it stands it's a fragment and incorrect. You simply can't end a statement with the verb. To say that "The time on the clock is." is "better English and more common" is nonsense. No native speaker would ever express a statement like that. It's ridiculous.
I wrote the hour is on the clock and it was accepted. Actually, this is an acceptable sentence in English in a particular circumstance. In some jobs, you "punch a time clock", an actual machine that stamps your time card and that is how the employer knows that you were there and working. You would say that once you were punched in, you were on the clock. Working off the clock means you are working but not getting an hourly wage. If you are punched in and someone is wasting your time, you might say, "Hey, the time is on the clock", reminding them that they are paying you hourly for your time.
I suspected that the meaningful translation ('the clock shows the time' as opposed to the literal translation 'the time is on the clock') would be deemed incorrect by Duo, but went for it anyway. The purpose of learning a new language is to be able to do a better job than Google Translate... Literal translations are a sign of poor understanding of the language one is learning (and one's own). Duo is capable of improving this though. The lesson on idioms is proof.
But duoLingo is caught in the teacher's dilemma, I think; it is useful for the newer students to get word-for-word translations, at first, to help them get a grasp on the individual particles of the language. Later, of course, it is more useful to move on to more natural translation, of the meaning as a whole.
then maybe I was lucky to have teachers who taught me that when a translation does not make sense, it means one has not understood the original text and should start again :) I'm surprised though - Duolingo is clearly capable of accepting more than one answer to a question. Why not simply accept both the meaningful and the literal answer?