The addition of the pronoun "se" means the verb "levantar" is being used in its reflexive form here which adds the implication that he gets himself up.
Well, it fits, but there are two minor problems. Duolingo tends to trade formal word for formal word and informal word for informal word, and are more likely to accept "grandpa" for "vô" or "vovô" than for "avô"; also, even if the "himself" bit is explicit in the Portuguese "se", it is not quite as natural in English. If that is something you would say, though, you can ask for it to be accepted.
So if we leave the "se" out what is the issue? Is it up in the air who he gets up early, like it's a mystery to a portuguese speaker?
This verb can mean "lift", "raise" or "get up" so when you hear "Meu avô levanta" without an object a possible doubt is "What does he lift?", however, this verb is so common that leaving out "se" (himself) wouldn't cause any confusion particularly with the addition of a word like "cedo" (early).
We don't really use the "se". We say "meu avô levanta cedo", "meu avô acorda cedo".
Thank you, David. The pronunciation link was very helpful. I'm just curious... is it you guy's job to look around for people who need help, and just be awesome in general? =)
"Meu avô se acorda cedo" would be a much more natural although colloquial Portuguese, wouldn't it?
It's my understanding that acordar is to wake up while se-levantar is to get up or get out of bed.
Oh, right! That subtle difference... we even have it in Spanish (my native language): Levantarse: getting out of bed /Despertarse: waking up
Actually, "se acorda" doesn't exist in portuguese, this because "acordar" is not a reflexive verb.
Great to know! After all, Spanish and Portuguese are two different languages
I thought it would be "levanta se" and only "se levanta" if it is after a question?