No. English doesn't usually include information about positions unless it's really important. Dutch includes positions in these scenarios and not doing so is a bit weird. An example:
English: A spider is on the table. Dutch: Een spin zit op de tafel.
You could say "A spider sits on the table" in English, but it'd be weird. Likewise, Een spin is op de tafel. would be somewhat weird in Dutch.
Dutch just expresses things differently than English. This positional feature of Dutch is actually a big part of why I love Dutch over English as a native English speaker.
No, it's definitely English. Imagine you're sitting in a chair and you doze off in it: you are both sitting and sleeping. "I sit sleeping" is a valid and grammatical way of stating this.
The present tense is in English is more flexible than you give it credit for being. It's not just for things you're doing right now but can be used speaking about habitual actions, future actions, statives, &c. Take this short story, for instance:
"My daughter's in hospital and I can't bear to leave her side. I'm so worried. Every night I sit sleeping in the chair beside her bed, waiting for her condition to improve."
There we have a valid use of "I sit sleeping", and it's not talking about about something you're doing right this moment, but about about an habitual action.
OK, for habitual actions as your marvellous example: ""My daughter's in hospital and I can't bear to leave her side. I'm so worried. Every night I sit sleeping in the chair beside her bed, waiting for her condition to improve." but as there are plenty of English-speaking contributors for whom English isn't their first language, I think such phrases as "I sit sleeping" aren't too helpful. I hope that "ik zit te slapen" is less controversial in Dutch!??
Your statement was "but it's not English", and as I've demonstrated, it is. That habitual example was only one. The fact is, both Dutch and English have manner-of-motion verbs. Sure, Dutch makes much greater use of them, but they're hardly uncommon in English by any stretch, and people learning English ought to be able to deal with them.
I think your explanation of "I sit sleeping" as it's used in "I sit sleeping in the chair..." isn't quite right.
"I sit" is the phrasing that indicates the habitual action. All verbs in the English present tense indicate habitual actions. For example, "I write", "I read", and "I listen to music" all indicate habitual actions.
"Sleeping" as used in your example is a verbal noun. "Waiting" is also a verbal noun in your example. If your example was written as two sentences instead of one, there would be "I sit sleeping" and "I sit waiting". There is also an implied "while" in the construction, so that a native English speaker would understand it as "I sit while sleeping", which indicates that "sleeping" is a verbal noun.
"Sleeping" is the action that is done (verbal noun) while "I sit" indicates that the action is habitual (verb).
From previous discussions on this module (and also the preposition ones) in particular, I've noticed Enlish speakers from Ireland and the UK notice direct translations and see equivalents in English far more often than other native speakers - I've similarly had answers rejected which i feel are normal, only for other native anglophones to answer with the consensus that it is wrong or "not english".
It's more that it seems odd to say such things in American English, which is what the target audience for this course is. The English used in many parts of Britain and Ireland, even if more radical in prosody, vocabulary, and accents - keeps grammtical features and word order far more conservatively in a germanic languages sense.
Therefore we "see the Dutch" in our English more closely in the sentence structure (esp. from older speakers, rural speakers, and literature around us), only for it to be marked wrong and for a more "distant" paraphrased translation to be offered as the correct one. And therein lies the problem.
Why can't I reply to Cass? I just wanted to say that the English present tense definitely doesn't always indicate habitual action. It can be used for dramatic effect when relating past events, and is also used in fiction that is narrated in the present tense, in lyrics etc.
Dank u wel. I'm still trying to get a grasp on the different 'te slapen' constructions I've seen, though. If you'd be willing, please let me know what of the following is correct/incorrect:
Ik ga te slapen. ('I go to sleep')
Ik zit te slapen. ('I'm sleeping whilst sitting,' OR idiomatic 'I'm not paying attention')
Ik lig te slapen. ('I'm lying whilst sleeping')
Ik ben aan het slapen. ('I am sleeping')
Ik slaap. ('I sleep/am sleeping')
Incorrect sentence, a correct one would be Ik ga slapen. (simple future)
Correct, present continuous (formed by: zijn + "aan het" + infinitive)
Correct, simple present
Only 2-5 can be correct translations of I'm sleeping (2 and 3 are probably only used in specific contexts when translating from English to Dutch as they add extra meaning).
More on the usage of te: http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=Verbs.Au06
To be honest "Ik zit te slapen" is not wrong but it's also not so correct. It would be more correct to say "Ik ben aan het slapen". Certainly when they add as a translation "I am sleeping". Dutch is my mother tongue and I studied it in school. Also, refer to this link where the difference is also explained: https://www.schrijfwijzer.nl/website/verwarwoordenboek/verwarwoord/67/ben-aan-het-zit-te
How would you say : "Wait a minute. I sit down to think" (like Rodin's thinker). Or "I lay down i(in order (to) think". Because if I translate it word for word it could be "ik zit te denken", which is not the same... I thought that "te" means "in order to. In that case "ik zit te slapen" such a translation is not permitted. Or would it be the same and just the context could help ?
Word for word translations often don't work. Te can mean different things, depending on the context. A few examples to clarify:
- ik zit te denken = I'm thinking (action that lasts for a while)
- ik zit om te denken = I'm sitting in order to think
- te snel, te mooi, te dik, etc = too fast, too beautiful, too fat, etc.
- te gek = awesome, great, cool (idiomatic, very positive)
- dat is te gek = that is awesome
- dat is te gek voor woorden = that can't be true / that is ridiculous / I can't explain how much I disagree with that (idiomatic, negative meaning)
- te koop = for sale
- geboren te Utrecht = born in Utrecht (old-fashioned usage, nowadays in would be used)
This all seems very complicated, mainly because this seems to be an idiom.
I tried "I am asleep" which seems to imply to me a continuous act of sleeping, but it is rejected. Not sure why it is rejected but not confident enough to report it as an error.
Since we are looking at 'te' + infinitive it can't be because I'm not using the infinitive as none of the right answers seem to use the infinitive either. My (Dutch) wife has tried to explain it to me, but I still can't see why "I am asleep" is wrong.