I've got a doubt concerning intonation.
First let me quote the Intonation (linguistics) article of the english Wikipedia that gives a very similar example. In the example, words are followed by a number in parentheses which indicates the relative pitch of the word it follows; a higher number indicating a higher pitch. The example refers to American English :
"Questions with 'or' can be ambiguous in English writing with regard to whether they are either-or questions or yes–no questions. But intonation in speech eliminates the ambiguity. For example, Would (2) you (2) like (2) juice (3) or (2) soda (3, 1)? emphasizes juice and soda separately and equally, and ends with a decline in pitch, thus indicating that this is not a yes–no question but rather a choice question equivalent to Which would you like: juice or soda? In contrast, Would (2) you (2) like (2) juice (3) or (3) soda (3, 3)? has yes–no intonation and thus is equivalent to Would you like something to drink (such as juice or soda)?"
The intonation of the recording of "Drinkt zij water of melk?" sounds like the second case: a yes-no question. Is this the case? If so, does the Dutch intonation for and either-or question match the English intonation of the example above?
Language translation is not necessarily word-for-word. Translate a whole thought at a time and work out how to express that thought in the target language (English in this case). English speakers often use 'to do' as a helping verb. I can say, "Do you have any pennies" or "Have you any pennies", and the meaning is the same, even though one of the expressions uses the redundant "do" and the other one uses it not.
I shall point out that the dutch word "is" would define if it's English counter-part "is" exists in the sentence... Therefore, the question mark at the end of the Dutch phrase "Drinkt zij water of melk?" is indicates that word "does" applies to the beginning of the English translation... "is" happens to actually be found in the Dutch language, so if "is" is not there it may be safe to assume the word "does" leads the question...
The question mark at the end of the Dutch phrase "Drinkt zij water of melk?" is indicates that word "does" applies to the beginning of the English translation... "is" happens to actually be found in the Dutch language, so if "is" is not there it may be safe to assume the word "does" leads the question...
Yes, in Dutch, the "-e" at the end of a word is pronounced as a short "-uh". "Zij" is pronounced with an actual "y" sound, although the English "y" is pretty off. I cannot think of an English example to explain it.
"Zij" is the official pronoun, but "ze" is used in less formal situations (Note: This doesn't have anything to do with formal addressing versus casual addressing like many languages have).
I'm assuming what you don't understand is why there is only one verb, and not two like there is in questions in English? This is because the majority of other languages only use one verb when forming questions. While English uses a conjugated form of "do" and then the infinitive form, other languages simply use the conjugated form of whatever main verb is being used. As a result, you simply stick whatever verb is being used at the front, with the pronoun after. Here are some examples:
- Drinkt zij sap? = Does she drink juice? or Is she drinking juice?
- Heeft hij een appel? = Does he have an apple?
- Eten wij appels? = Do we eat apples? or Are we eating apples?
This is simply how questions are formed in other languages - including German, which I see you are also studying.
- Trinkt sie Saft?
- Hat er einen Apfel?
- Essen wir Äpfel?
It's the same way in most other languages. Hope this helps at least a little! :)