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  5. "How many majors do you have?"

"How many majors do you have?"

Translation:Hoeveel studies doe jij?

July 16, 2014



so Americans 'have majors' rather than 'do them'? When you go to a British university you 'do French / Spanish / Italian' I can't think what the Brit English version of this could be. "How many courses are you studying?" sounds a bit weird, as you tend to study one or two subjects.


Hi Suzy, Jeff here. I think it would be helpful for a speaker of British English (maybe you!) to go through the Education section with the goal of identifying the American usages that are baffling/frustrating a lot of non-Americans. I live in Hong Kong and have lots of friends and colleagues from all over the English speaking world and did not know, until this conversation came up on Duolingo, that "What's your major?" is a distinctly North American usage. (If I'm not mistaken the Canadians say it as well.)


I am sure the team would welcome that but it is not just a question of identifying obscure (to us) Americanisms. Alternatives need to be suggested. As it is now over 50 years since I finished University, I would not be able to do that. It needs someone currently involved in Higher Education here.


Hi Bill. Yes, that's what I meant to suggest. I'm really curious, other than "major" what are the other problematic words/phrases? Are there really that many?


"Major" is the big one but there are also the associated verbs - "take" / "follow" etc.


Also, the Dutch institutions do not all directly translate to a British/USA counterpart.

While highschool might be similar to the Dutch 'middelbare school', which comes after elementary school (in Dutch the 'lagere school' or 'basis school'), college will not find a clear Dutch counterpart.

Also, the Dutch 'hogeschool' does not find a clear British/USA counterpart. You might refer to it as a more job oriented and less science oriented university if you would need to compare.

Confusing however is that the Dutch 'hogeschool', which is not college or highschool, but more of a professional school, also use grades titled 'bachelor' and 'master' like proper universities.

Universities however mirror themselves perfectly, especially since most Dutch universities have switched to the bachelor / master system over the last fifteen years.

When following a Dutch masters program you focus on a specific topic within that masters program (your major) and you may decide to subfocus on another topic (your minor).

Hence in Dutch, when referring to your study (either bachelor or master), you refer to the actual name of the bachelor or master and not the major you chose within that master or bachelor.


Thank you for that. Yes, it's a complicated issue and I wish the Dutch course moderators luck in smoothing out just a few of the most contentious difficulties.


Why was "heb" rejected? "Doe" is probably more idiomatic (I wouldn't know) but that itself shouldn't make "heb" incorrect.


This is actually an interesting discussion. I translated it (wrongly) to "Hoeveel studies heb je", because i thought it was some kind of couse or diplom or certification. But now i know it is a US-university study, my question is what do you have after you finished a major succesfully? What is the name of the certification or Diplom? Is it called a master or a subject? After you finish a mayor sociology do you HAVE or GET a sociology major or sociology master, or sociology certification?


So the context is not a prospective student asking what the university offers?

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