What is the difference between portas and surhavas, which were both given as translation for is wearing from Duolingo?
Porti is used in Esperanto in a similar way to the German verb "tragen", which can be translated in different ways into English depending on the context. All in all PIV gives five definitions for the verb, one of which is "to have something on oneself or with oneself", especially "to wear a piece of clothing".
- Mi portas silkajn ŝtrumpojn kaj mufon. (Z)
- Mi portas somerajn vestojn.
Surhavi is limited to porti 3.
- La koverto surhavis multajn poŝtmarkojn.
- surhavi ĉapelon, veston
When it comes to wearing a cloth, the verbs are interchangeable. If you want to see a difference, all I can think of is a headdress. For me surhavi ĉapelon is more logical than porti ĉapelon.
Having said that I would like to make a remark conserning footwear. In some languages the logic goes that while you can have pieces of clothing on you, footwear is something you are on. For those people porti ŝuon gets associated with carring a shoe in your hand and surhavi ŝuon with having a shoe on your head or something other odd. They are likely to use teni ŝuon (je la piedo) (see teni 1) or some other verb.