https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3

present progressive accepted for formal non-past

Normally the course won't let us translate the formal non-past (by far the most common verb form in the course) with the present progressive.

However, it's accepted for "ぎんこうに行きます" here and actually the suggested translation for "びょういんに行きます。” here.

Can anybody explain? Is "行きます" used more flexibly than other Japanese verbs when it comes to ongoing actions, or is this just some sort of Duolingo inconsistency?

June 15, 2018

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Luke_5.1991

Perhaps I could clarify as a course contributor. As a general rule, our "accepted translations" are not complete and need some extra work, which we're working on currently.

For a non-past sentence in Japanese (食べます), you'll never see the English present progressive for the best translation, but we do plan to accept it as an alternative translation. Why is this? It's because the English present progressive is often used for future actions, which falls under the non-past Japanese umbrella.

  • 父と食べます = I eat with my dad.
  • 父と食べています = I am eating with my dad (right now).
  • 父と食べます = I am eating with my dad (later today).
June 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3

Thank you for the explanation! I know there is going to be confusion as such translations are included, so I'd encourage something like a sticky post when the effort to include them ramps up. I'm sure there are explanations in discussion forums from the past year, during which such a translation option wasn't accepted (barring sentences with explicit future reference), that are going to need clarification that, yes, English present progressive is accepted but only because it can be used in sentences where the context puts them in the future.

Fun fact: Klingon verbs also don't distinguish present non-continuous and future but do distinguish continuous and non-continuous.

June 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MariyanaVo

Hi! This is not an "ongoing action." It's used with the meaning of present continuous for future events. It means "I'm going to the bank (this afternoon, after I finish this lunch.)" It's actually an excellent way to express in English the concept of "non-past" since that present tense can mean both something happening in the present and something that is to happen in the future.

June 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3

Yes, that's another use of the English present progressive. It's just that I don't think it's not accepted on that basis anywhere else in the Japanese course (except when there's actually a time reference in the sentence), so I don't think that explains what's going on with these two sentences.

June 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MariyanaVo

The Japanese course is (and I say this lovingly) all over the place and half of the most natural translations a bilingual would pick are not in the accepted answers yet. We shouldn't read anything into it, I think.

June 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DestinyCall

Probably DuoLingo weirdness.

Just to clarify, did it accept the present progressive in an English translation or as a typed Japanese submission?

Sometimes the acceptable English translations get a little sloppy, since people are more likely to report the course for failing to accept a good translation rather for allowing a bad one.

June 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3

as an English translation

June 15, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/DestinyCall

Yeah, "(I) will go to the bank" or "(I) go to the bank" are good translations. "(I) am going to the bank" should not be acceptable, in my opinion, since it does not match the Japanese grammar and can lead to confusion.

To express the present progressive in Japanese, you would use the て-form, which is not taught until later in the course.

ぎんこうに行っています
"(I) am going to the bank"

Unfortunately, loose (sometimes VERY loose) English translations are quite common for Japanese. It makes it extra challenging to learn.

June 15, 2018
Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.