In Dutch, does this mean "Does he eat while he is biking?" or does it mean "Does he bike while the meal is going on?"
The "correct" translation maps onto the second meaning. For the first meaning, it would be "Does he bike while eating?", "Is he biking while having a meal?" and variations thereof.
Native here: The second one! "Fiets hij tijdens het eten?" is when you're enjoying a meal while your son is outside racing on this bike. "Eet hij tijdens het fietsen" would be the first translation, but it's not a likely situation, although I must say I have enjoyed a sandwich whilst riding on my bike before!
Maybe a small difference: 'eten' (the noun) is the generic term for all (sorts of) food. The meaning of 'maaltijd' is usually restricted to that which you eat at the typical eating moments of the day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, every 'maaltijd' is 'eten', but not every 'eten' is a 'maaltijd'.
Native here; Yes, you are learning proper dutch. The following are all the correct ways to say "during the meal":
– "Tijdens het eten"
– "Tijdens de maaltijd"
The following is the only correct ways to say "during a meal"
– "Tijdens een maaltijd"
You can't say "een eten" for "a meal", but you can say "een maaltijd" for "a meal" You can say both "het eten" and "de maaltijd" for "the meal"
well i guess then this is why i didn't really learn alot of dutch at home (other than my folks wanted us to learn english and forget dutch) because my dad would do alot of talking and i NEVER understood him.mum and us kids were from gorinchem., he was from amsterdam and he spoke totally different and i had to have my mom translate in her dutch what he said. lol. all i remember hearing all the time was her bellowing out 'eten!!!!!!!!!!!' lol... thanks for the explanation!
No, it is not necessarily the same meaning in English. If he is biking during the meal, that does not necessarily mean he is eating the meal while biking. He may be skipping the meal, but everyone else is eating the meal. He just wouldn't get off that exercise bike! That is one way to lose weight more quickly. If you were to say "He is biking while the meal is going on." Then that would be the same as "He is biking during the meal."
Well I cant make any sense of the correct English answer despite being a fluent native speaker. My fluent native Dutch speaking friend, says the Dutch sentence makes no sense either. Nor does the English answer make sense to him despite knowing English well. It also seems, looking at this thread, a lot of other uses can't make sense of it either. This question/answer is atrocious and makes me fail the exercise every time. Please consider removing/replacing it.
Also please don't take this the wrong way. The vast majority of the course is absolutely amazing and I waited a long time for a course of this quality and cost (free!) to come along. My Dutch learning has come on leaps and bounds compared to other courses I have previously tried in the past. Dank je wel Nederlands team!