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https://www.duolingo.com/SteveDecker

Present progressive in Esperanto?

I've only been in the course for a few days, so if this is answered later I apologize. So far, this course doesn't distinguish between the present tense (I type a message) and the present progressive (I am typing a message). However, after googling around for a while, I've found a few Esperanto websites that do seem to distinguish between them (Mi tajpas mesaĝon vs. Mi estas tajpanta mesaĝon). Is this generally accepted in the Esperanto world? Or should I resign myself to ambiguity between the two tenses?

Edit: Fixed a spelling mistake

1 year ago

11 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/JasonMey
JasonMey
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The active participle is not used often, but the passive is. So "Mi estas tajpanta mesaĝon" is rare, but "Mesaĝo estas tapata" is decently common. The passive lets you talk about something from the perspective of the object of the sentence without having a subject, which the normal verb doesn't always allow.

There is little functional difference between "estas -anta" and "-as." It can be used for emphasis, but using it regularly is going to confuse people.

As a general rule, don't use active participles unless you have to. We use them all the time in English, so it seems strange not to, but in most languages that isn't the case. It is rare that using the simple tenses in context creates any ambiguity. When it does, or when being specific is required, the complex tenses can be used, but often the simple tenses are sufficent.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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The active participle is used all the time as an adjective. "La mankanta adreso" - the missing address.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonMey
JasonMey
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Well, yes, but I was only referring to "estas -anta" and, for the last paragraph, to complex tenses that use "esti." I was not referring to using the participles as adjectives independently, nor as nouns or adverbs, which are also common. I guess I should have made my context stonger, but I figured the context of this thread, and only ever referring to their use as a verb, was sufficient to avoid this possible ambiguity when I said the active participles are rarely used.

I originally included the fact that the participles can be used as regular nouns, adverbs, and adjectives, and that this is normal, but felt it was an unnecessary addition when the OP was about the present tense only. I almost cut my last paragraph as well, but felt it was just relevant enough to include.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
salivanto
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I figured as much, but that's not how it reads.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jirka92122
jirka92122
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Note that in English the present progressive is overused, and actually doesn't really have the same meaning as "... estas x-anta". Suppose when a student at a university says "I am getting my degree in blah", they might actually at that time be sitting in a pub talking to a friend, they are not actually in the process of getting the degree, but you wouldn't say "I get a degree in blah" because it's just not used, even though it might probably be more logical. You can also say "Next Monday I am running a marathon". That really doesn't seem logical, even though the more logical "Next Monday I will run a marathon". In English present progressive might mean near future tense rather than present. You might even say "Next Monday I am going to run a marathon", and now talk about overuse of the present progressive. French does the same illogical thing also with the verb "go", but has the good sense of using simple present for "go". Anyway, English present progressive has a lot of idiomatic usage that doesn't have much to do with the simple definition of what the tense is about. In a lot of places in English where you use present progressive you really mean simple present, but simple present sounds odd in many situations in English and gets underused. In English, simple present is generally not used for an action taking place in the present. It is used for things that happen regularly, or never, or such: "I always sit in the front row in a movie theater", but "Today, at this movie, right now, I am sitting in the front row". It would seem weird to use "sit" even though it seems logical. In Esperanto, you can just use the simple present for both. There is no ambiguity. You'd only use "estas x-anta" if you really need to explicitly emphasize that you are in the process of doing it for some reason. Most of the time it would be overkill.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ontalor
Ontalor
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The present tense is used the way that both would be used in English unless you want to emphasize that you are specifically in the act of doing it.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ZofiC
ZofiC
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We generally stick with the -as ending to mean both. The -as + -anta is not as freely used as in English and doesn't have quite as broad a meaning. You have to really mean it and want to emphasize to use it.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/seveer
seveer
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If you really think about it, the distinction itself (between present and present progressive) is the ambiguous thing. Unless you can define precisely what that distinction signifies, it is difficult to translate. Part of the point of Esperanto is to avoid some of the worst ambiguities of natural languages. So let's see what the English so-called "present continuous" actually does:

Straight out of Wikipedia:

To describe something which is happening at the exact moment of speech:
The boy is crying.

To describe an action that is taking place now but not at the exact moment of speech:
He is working in Dubai.

Anything leap out at you? Like, that these two functions are polar opposites!?

Oh, and it does all these, too:

To describe an event planned in the future:
I'm resitting my French exam on Tuesday.

With always but meaning often (used to emphasize the frequency of an action in a humorous or hyperbolic way):
My mother is always making me go to school!
She is always playing with that doll!

To describe an action that is taking place now and is subject to interruption:
Ellen cannot come to the phone since she is sleeping.

Depending on your meaning, you can use word choice to convey these.

To imagine that you can just import this tense/mood into another language word for word to express your meaning signals a misunderstanding of just how rich and nuanced (read: irregular, arbitrary, and therefore difficult) natural languages like English can be, how much of that their native speakers take for granted, and why an interlingvo like Esperanto is useful.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ChristianofPeace

I love posts like these because they do point out things I've never even had to consider being a native English speaker.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ionasky
ionasky
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Usual discalimer about not being an expert but from what i have seen and heard The simple -as ending will do just fine for most of the time in both senses, and is to be prefered on most occasions. The -anta usage, while correct is less common and as far as i can tell used for extra emphasis that this action is extra specially current -ie right this minute.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LelandBryantRoss
LelandBryantRoss
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Use tajpas for both unless it is critically important to make fine tense distinctions.

1 year ago