er å...?

Besides Duolingo I'm also using an old teach-yourself-Norwegian book that has no solutions to the exercises, so partly I check with Google translate. Not all that reliable, I know, but this sparked my attention: The man eats a piece of bread is translated as "Mannen er å spise et stykke brød" whereas Duolingo has taught me to say "Mannen spiser" etc. Are both forms used interchangeably? Is the former a kind of continuous (is eating) form? I'm not at that point in the tree yet...

So glad I have Duo though. Lesson 1 of this book for beginners starts me out with words like childcare - barnastellet. >.<

Thanks guys!

December 26, 2015


Are you sure you are translating "The man eats a piece of bread" with Google Translate? Or is it "The man is eating a piece of bread"?

The latter leads to the problematic over-use of continuous forms that are typical for English natives (and biased software). Rule of thumb: Before translating from English to ... well, nearly every other language: Transform the continuous "tense" to the simple tense. Yields much better results. The continuous or progressive aspect is obvious from context most of the time or can be expressed by simple adverbial expressions.

But when you use software to translate continuous "tense" you often get results that look Byzantine in the target language.

Google Translate has improved a lot since 2 years ago (and still has a long way to go) but back then I'm betting it simply translated "the man is" as "mannen er" and "eating" as "å spiser", resulting in nonsense.

childcare should be "barnestell"

Norwegian Bokmål and Nynorsk has no continuous form. Present tense (spiser) or other expressions (e.g. holder på å spise) are used to indicate the continuous aspect.

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