Translation:I am only just looking.
Yeah, you could say 我只是看看 or 我随便看看, sometimes you'll also see/hear 而已 (ér yǐ), which means something like "that's all":
I'm just looking, that's all.
Why is 是 used here rather than 在? I though that 在 was always used to describe a continuous action like this, not 是.
In Chinese you don't use an explicit continuous marker to say this. If you did it would sound a bit like "I'm in the process of looking" in English, grammatical but odd.
But beyond that I can't decode the whole sentence. It would be good to hear from a Chinese native speaker.
I thought 在 was the particle used for present continuous, too. Maybe we'll learn it in next levels, I hope.
It is a particle used for the present continuous.
There's nothing about languages that says there is only ever allowed to be one particle for one job. If "will" is the particle used for the future tense in English, then what's "shall"? And "going to" and "gonna"?
Chinese is no different. One word or particle can have one or more than one meaning or function. One grammatical function can be achieved by one or more than one word or particle.
That sounds well. But, what particles are used for present continuous in chinese? 在, 是, another one? Are those perfectly interchangeable? Or when do you use 在 and 是? Thanks.
在 and 着 are the two main particles for the continuous. Note also that it's not compulsory to indicate the continuous at all in Chinese and it might only be used for emphasis. This article might interest you: https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Expressing_actions_in_progress_(full_form)
是 means "is", "are", "be".
I put "I'm just browsing", which is a common way of saying this in the UK/Australia/NZ, but marked wrong
Because many Chinese words are made up of two characters, and some are even two of the same character. 看看 means something like "take a look", "having a look". I'm not sure if it would still mean the same thing with only one 看 but maybe a native speaker could help?
My chinese teacher told us that repeating a verb is like it will take a short time: 看看 would mean something like "take a look for a second!". Let me check if I find something out there. Ah, here it is: https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Reduplication_of_verbs
Repeating a verb is like saying you're doing a little bit of something casual. In other words, it's a way of saying you're casually doing something.
Reported 'I am just taking a look' 1/12/17 ('Having a look' already accepted)
'I am only just looking.' I have never heard but I would interpret it to mean I have only just started looking
Something like that. Otherwise it is redundant, like "I am only only looking". I actually think the second meaning is what's intended here, which is not good English. "I am only looking" or "I am just looking" are either one more correct to say in English.
"I'll just take a look' is something an English speaker might actually say, unlike the 'correct' answer
Can this only be interpreted as present (continuous)? I tried "I just took a look" and was marked wrong but told "I'm just taking a look" would be correct.
Chinese doesn't have past tense and as such 了 is never mandatory and has multiple uses. English "just" also has multiple uses including immediate past and "merely, only".
But since my earlier comment it now strikes me that the "merely, only" sense is clearly intended. But my Chinese isn't good enough so I'd still like to hear from a native speaker (-:
why can't i say "i am only just looking"? the word only is included in the sentence.
Because that would be redundant as "only" and "just" mean the same thing in English. For the same reason you can't say "I am only just merely looking", etc.
It's not even that, though redundant language would be bad, "only just" has a different meaning to only or just by themselves. "Only just" means barely or for only a short time as in 刚. E.g. "I only just caught the bus, a second later and I would have missed it." or "I only just started learning Chinese, so I can't read this yet."
I think the main translation for this sentence is wrong therefore because it sounds more like "I only just (started) looking" not "I am just browsing the shop" which is the true meaning.
Use only OR just, but not both.
2019-01-31："I am only just taking a look" marked wrong. English idiom for browsing something is to "take a look."
"I am only just having a look" is a common English phrase.
In English you need to put the "am" which is the 是 in the Chinese sentence . But you are correct, you have understood, it just won't take it.
The Chinese 我只是随便看看 literally means:
"I only am pleasing myself looking", or "I only am -as I wish - looking".
In many ways I wish Duolingo would use direct translations like this instead of trying to make them perfect from an English point of view. The benefit would be that you would remember the Chinese word order. I think that would be far more useful even if it sounds funny in English.