I'm so glad that I'm not the only person who has no idea what the hell is going on.
I am sure it helps in this particular case, but there are many other situations in which there is no such trick. Maybe look for similar idioms in English and then remember that Dutch uses them much more generally and often quasi-obligatorily.
E.g. "Wales lies to the west of England". This sounds much nicer than "Wales is to the west of England". I am sure in many other languages only the second way of saying it is correct. (Of course in Dutch you must say it the first way. By the way, in French they have a third solution: "Wales is situated (or: finds itself) to the west of England.")
I think there is even a case in which English does this and Dutch doesn't: "I stand corrected." I am not sure if there is an exact equivalent in Dutch (there isn't in German); I guess in a pedantic Dutch translation of that phrase you would have to say something like "Ik ben corrigeerd worden" ("I have been corrected").
You can also say "I stand rebuked/accused/convicted/condemned." There's a definite trend here.
I don't have any proof of this, but I suspect that all of these phrases come from actual standing in a formal setting like in a court or town hall, where one stands up for sentence to be passed, or, in the case of "I stand corrected," one stands up to take responsibility for a mistake. At the very least it is figuratively standing, (as in "where do you stand [on an issue]?" "taking a stand [for a cause]" "That [evil thing] is not what I stand for" or "stand up [against tyranny]!") I don't think it's a neutral use of stand, like "the lamp stands on the table," because it does not mean "I have been corrected." What it means when you say "I stand corrected," is "I publicly acknowledge that I made a mistake," or "I publicly submit to your judgement/superior knowledge," which is why I suspect it originates from some sort of court situation.
Is there any equivalent to that in Dutch?
Yes, as an overly literal translation this is correct. Dutch forms the passive with worden, which literally translates to become. However, when used in a passive construction, the past participle of worden is worden, whereas in its standard sense it is geworden. (Exactly the same phenomenon occurs in German.) Of course for the proper translation of a passive construction to English you have to use be instead. Example:
- Ik werd rijk. - I become rich.
- Ik ben rijk geworden. - I have become rich. ("I am become rich." - This was correct English in Shakespeare's time.)
- Ik werd corrigeerd. - I am corrected. ("I become corrected.")
- Ik ben corrigeerd worden. - I have been corrected. ("I am become corrected." But with a variant of the past participle that is only for the passive construction.)
At this point I have already stretched my response beyond all reasonable bounds. Nevertheless I felt like going a bit further...
It's unfortunate that become, the normal English translation of worden, starts with the prefix be- while worden doesn't. This makes it even harder to see what's going on with these variants of the past participle. I'll try anyway:
Germanic languages have traditionally formed the past participle by changing the main vowel and adding the suffix -en (or by just adding the suffix -ed). However, the resulting past participle also had to have a prefix. If the verb didn't already have a prefix anyway, it got a special one reserved for this purpose. You can see this e.g. in the first line of the famous 13th century Middle English rota song:
- Sumer is icumen in. - Summer has [lit. is] y-come in.
As you can see, the past participle of come in the Wessex dialect of Middle English the song was written in was icumen. The initial i- is the prefix in question. A more standard spelling in Middle English is y-. In Old English it was ge-, and that's also what it still is in Dutch/Afrikaans and in German/Yiddish. So English is the only major West Germanic language that lost the past participle prefix - apparently under the influence of the North Germanic (Nordic) languages, which lost it earlier. (Scots and Frisian are also West Germanic and also lost it, as did most Low German dialects.)
By the way, the prefix y- has survived unchanged on the past participle of a single Modern English verb. I guess this is because the verb clepe is so antiquated that modern speakers can't regularise the past participle yclept because for all they know the verb could be "yclep".
Some modern English dialects have developed a similar phenomenon with the present participle: adding the prefix a-, which apparently started life as the preposition on. Example: "The times, they are a-changing."
In some American English dialects this phenomenon even extends to some past participles. Even better, it appears that in dialects spoken in the south west of Britain y- has survived and been modernised to a-! Therefore, even though ge-/y- has been lost almost without trace in standard English, we can still get a somewhat similar effect by prepending a-:
- Summer has a-come in.
Just like ge-/y-, the prefix a- (even the modern American one for present participles) is not added to verbs that start with an unstressed prefix, though. But since we are already modernising obsolete grammatical phenomena, let's also modernise our verbs. Get is slowly taking over many of the functions of become, and it doesn't start with a prefix. So let's substitute get for become, but use the non-standard past participle gotten, which in American English seems to be more suitable for the become sense. Now everything is in place for English translations that closely mirror the Dutch grammar:
- Ik werd rijk. - I get rich.
- Ik ben rijk geworden. - I am a-gotten rich.
- Ik werd corrigeerd. - I get corrected.
- Ik ben corrigeerd worden. - I am gotten corrected.
(Part of this post is based on discussions I found at this source.)
@Delire6: Yes, it's a pity that Duolingo doesn't offer Dutch for French speakers yet. Unfortunately I have no chance to help with that. My French might not be good enough for that, and my Dutch certainly isn't. It's a very simple language for German native speakers who are also fluent in English, but when I started learning it on Duolingo I hardly understood a word! I can help with some isolated problems, but I do not have a proper feel for the entire language.
as far as I know , dutch people like to describe their location of location of other things very specificly; for instance: ik zit in de bus instead of Ik ben in de bus; or de suiker ligt/staat op de tafel ...whenever you can use some other word instead of "zijn" - "to be" do it ;) I am begining my journey with dutch so I am not 100% sure that above is correct
Would it be okay to also say "ik ben in de krant" or is that incorrect? I am finding the prepositions lessons incredibly confusing and agree there should be a Tips & Notes section here. I feel like there has been a massive leap in difficulty level from what has come before and am now feeling rather disillusioned!
So, when is it necessary to use 'sta', 'lig' and 'zit' in locating things?
Are there rules for it or do you just have to know which words to use for each object you're positioning. Also, is this a strict rule? Because I don't want to end up sounding ridiculous if I say something like "Ik lig in de wc"
I don't think it's ever strictly necessary to use the more descriptive verbs if you don't mind sounding like a non-native speaker. You will be understood, and it's not all that jarring to native speakers. Using zijn for everything is certainly better than hilarious mismatches.
On the other hand, when you are confident about the best verb either because you have heard it so often in a specific context or because it's obvious (of course you sit in/on the toilet!), then you certainly shouldn't go out of your way to avoid it.
We'd say: ze/hij zit op de wc (where the wc is the actual toilet) or ze/hij is in de wc (where wc stands for the cubicle). Hij staat in de wc is unusual, but you would say: "Hij staat te plassen" (he is peeing) and "Ze zit te plassen" (she is peeing). If you need the phrase "Ik lig in de wc", you're probably sick/drunk/hurt and lying on the floor of the cubicle... not a good situation to be in.
For much the same reason that English speakers say "I stand corrected" rather than "I am corrected". Sometimes - and this depends on the language in question and many other circumstances - it is customary to use a metaphor rather than the most 'logical' word - especially if that most 'logical' word is a very common verb such as be or have. Normally only children and non-native speakers ignore this.
(1) No. (2) Yes.
I think the trick to understanding what's going on is to realise that the same thing actually happens in English as well. Only the demarcation between 'be territory' and 'more specific verb territory' differs between the two languages. Consider the following examples in English:
- The headquarter is in Amsterdam.
- The town is at the foot of the mountain. The town sits at the foot of the mountain.
- He is on the committee. He sits / is sitting on the committee.
- I am at my desk. I sit / am sitting at my desk.
- I stand before you today to tell you ...
The examples are ordered roughly in order of decreasing acceptability of be and increasing acceptability of sit/stand/lie/....
For 1, a native speaker of English would be very unlikely to say that the headquarter 'sits' in Amsterdam. For 2, you can say it as a conscious figure of speech, but be is definitely the normal choice. For 3, it doesn't really matter whether you use be or the common idiom of 'sitting' on a committee. For 4 you would probably prefer sit as you are physically sitting. For 5 you are very unlikely to use be, nor could you replace it by sit just because you are physically sitting. The idiom used here always comes with stand.
Dutch works much the same way except that the gradual move from be to more specific verbs happens earlier.
Yes, your translation is wrong because it changes the sense. Into is displayed as a possible translation of in because in English you sometimes use into for clarity. In Dutch you can get a similar effect by adding something like naar binnen. But I think that's generally done a bit less often than in English, and therefore just plain Dutch in is sometimes best translated as English into.
However, in this sentence, there is no movement, as the verb clearly indicates. (Literally the meaning is "I am standing in the newspaper.") And there is no movement in your English sentence, either, because it's a special idiomatic meaning that exists only in English in this form: to be into something = to like something (a lot) = van iets houden.
- Ik sta in de krant. - I am [mentioned] in the newspaper.
- Ik sta in het huis. - I am in the house.
- Ik ga in het huis. / Ik ga naar het huis binnen. - I am going into the house.
- Ik hou van de krant. - I like the newspaper a lot. / I am into the newspaper.
I it does make sense in English, but it appears to have a very different meaning. This was the basis of my question. "Into" was offered as one of the possible English translations, but it appears that it is not appropriate in this sentence. I made a mistake, and learned something thereby. It was not initially clear to me that the sentence in Dutch did not mean I had a penchant for the newspaper, but now that is clear.
Yes, I agree that your question made perfect sense. English and Dutch are closely related languages, and sometimes you can get a correct Dutch idiom by translating an English idiom word by word.
Because of the misleading hint, a lot of people will ask themselves the same question. Now they will get an immediate explanation.