Lol, using walking and sitting as Auxiliary verb is so officially wrong. Yes it is permitted in the "spoken" language, but man everybody will laugh at you if you use that in any (official) writing.
Using: "Ik ben aan het zingen" is so much better and way less confusing for anyone using English.
Sure, it might not be used in official writing, but people will definitely encounter these forms in Dutch and should be taught what they mean. I do agree that is weird to translate this sentence as "I am singing", because the Dutch phrase definitely implies that there is walking involved. You would never say "Ik loop te zingen" while singing along to your car radio on the highway.
"I am singing while walking" would be more accurate, but also a little awkward, since there is so little emphasis on the walking part in the meaning of the Dutch phrase. I guess it is just difficult to find a literal translation.
How is the difference between formal and informal my opinion? I understand this is usefull when speaking to Dutch people, but I just wanted to point out to be very carefull with using these bunch of auxiliary verbs (lopen, zitten, staan, liggen, hangen) in formal (written) situations.
You did good, and you are right that formal/informal language is not dependent on the opinion. Imagine somebody in the English teaching version of Duolingo saying that "I ain't gonna" is not formal language, and somebody else is claiming it is an opinion. I think Duolingo should give a warning for this case because many people not coming to the comments would think that this is formal Dutch
This entire lesson feels completely out of place at this point of the course. I've lived in NL for years and have never heard these used. My Dutch husband has been shaking his head in disbelief at each of these phrases. The fact that each sentence has caused so much confusion and debate should be an indication that there's something wrong with the inclusion of this lesson in the course- this one sentence has 40 replies!
The moderators responses to the feedback has been quite defensive too. "SOME people use it, so you need to learn it" is not the best attitude to have when deciding on course content for beginners. Its smarter to teach beginners things that MOST people use, not something that they might hear once in a while.
I think this lesson would be better placed later on in the course. Stick with "aan het" for the beginners.
I completely agree. I already spoke some Dutch when doing the course, but this lesson really baffled me and I can't remember having read it in the Dutch novels I read (if so, it was really rare). Such things are useful in courses, but should come relatively toward the end of the course, when other more basic things have been learned.
It happens the same in Spanish, some regions at least. We say: "Ando cantando" / "I am singing", "Ando de viaje" / "I am travelling", "Ando pensando..." / "I am thinking...". All these are informal or very colloquial expressions. The verb "Andar" could be traduced as "To walk", and it seems practically the same for "Lopen", even the informal use.
Since there are so many options for how to say something "is happening," are there any good guidelines for when to use which? Are there certain words that are always used in the same context? For example, I would never logically connect walking and singing, unless that was the main point of my sentence (ie, I was walking along, singing a song...)
From what I've gathered, staan/zitten/liggen as an auxiliary verb depends on the posture of the person; if your grandma is sitting and talking, oma zit te praten is the only truthful way to put it. lopen is a little more complicated--I don't think you have to be talking about someone walking and doing something, but you wouldn't use it if they were sitting, standing, or laying.
I'm not certain, but I wonder if it can only be used with animate subjects--or could you say that op de tafel de oude kaas ligt te stinken?