Well, "olmak" is the culprit here. If you are talking about being sick at a specific instance in the past, you would have to say "Hiç hasta değildim." With "olmadım" though you are making a general statement about your past.
"Olmak" is literally "to become" so here you are saying something like "I have never gotten/become sick." :)
It seems to me that hiç is some kind of connection word, as you see it in hiç bir (no one), hiç kimse (nobody), and now we see it as hiç hasta (never sick). The negative verb is what is probably confusing everbody because it seems to enforce what is already stated. It could be that hiç and asla have distinctions for instance hiç son = never ending, and asla son = never last. We have to bear all these in mind as we go through Duo. After all, Duo is a good stepping stone to aspire from.
I'm confused. Are English simple past and present perfect both translated as one tense in Turkish? In other words, are "I wasn't sick" and "I haven't been sick" both translated as "hasta olmadım?" If so, how do you convey the difference in meaning between the two in Turkish? Şimdiden teşekkürler.
Hi, MetroWestJP. I can't answer your last question -- one that I've wondered about too -- but it looks like the answer to your first question is yes. I can at least provide the following evidence for this: Lewis V. Thomas writes, in Elementary Turkish, "The past definite verb forms denote action which really was or really has been completed in the past." (p. 27) On the next page, he gives both "I took" and "I have taken" as possible translations of aldım.
Separately, at https://elon.io/learn-turkish/lesson/the-definite-simple-past, you'll find explicit verification of this, along with examples using both the English simple past and present perfect. And https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/10151049 and .../9199011 provide more examples.
So, to repeat MetroWestJP's question, is there a way to capture the difference between the English simple past and present perfect tenses in Turkish?
From my research, there is not a way to differentiate between the simple past and the present perfect in Turkish by verb tense alone. Several sources agree that the key is to use adverbs (hala, henüz, zaten, yeni) to distinguish between a present perfect meaning and the tense it is written in. [Ex. O gitmedi. = He did not go. | O henüz gitmedi. = He has not gone yet.]
Göksel & Kerslake's "Turkish: An Essential Grammar" -- Regarding -di and -miş -- "... the above forms correspond to both the present perfect (he has gone) and the simple past (he went) in English." [Ex. Herkes gitti. = Everyone went. / Everyone has gone.]
Kuzucu's "The Delights of Learning Turkish" confusingly says both:
(1) "to describe an action that began at a certain time and is still continuing... in Turkish you use the present continuous tense... whereas English uses the present perfect tense." [Ex. have lived, have been, has been]; and
(2) "In Turkish, there are no equivalents to the statements like [have been, has gone] which are in the present perfect tense. You use the past definite instead...".