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  5. "Ik loop te zingen."

"Ik loop te zingen."

Translation:I am singing.

August 7, 2014



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.


And you have the sentences where there is no walking involved at all, e.g. ik loop te prutsen (I am messing things up)...


I suppose there's a kind of equivalent in English with certain action verbs, "I stood waiting for the bus," "as she lay sleeping...", "He just sits watching TV all day!"

Maybe not so much with walking, though.


those English ones are all fairly likely to be interpreted literally, though. Perhaps "I sat through years of abuse" helps make the point.


What about "I am walking and singing"?


I'd guess ik ben aan het lopen en zingen...


I meant as a way of translating the Dutch, but yeah you're right; it does describe something slightly different.


Very interesting, thanks :)


Right! I consider myself quite good in understanding written Dutch (being German and having red lots of Dutch books), but I probably have not often enough come across this construction. I was completely verbaast and am happy to learn something new!


Leading on from your car example, could one say "Ik rijd te zingen" to express that?


What keyboard are you using for "ij" to come out as a single character: "ij"?


Well, but for people learning Dutch you definitely want them to understand things like:

  • Ik sta te kijken (I'm watching/I'm standing and watching)
  • Ik zit te lezen (I'm reading/I'm reading while sitting)
  • We lopen te praten (We are talking/We are walking and talking)


so the verb that means am simply describes a usual position in which the other action is performed? Or can:

  • sta go with praten
  • lopen go with lezen
  • zit go with kijken


This (the grammar) is useful for me. What you wrote here is your opinion. Learning a language is not about opinions on whether something should or should not be used. It's about learning what what is actually used and understanding it.


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


Agreed Roodjuh, thanks.


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.


This construction exists in English too, but it seems colloquial Dutch is a little more flexible in its use. For instance, it's valid to say 'i walk singing (a song)', or 'he sits reading (a book)' or 'they stand talking (to each other, about something, &c.)'.


It seems that way to me too. I was just trying it out and I feel as though if you put a slight pause between walk and singing then "I walk, singing" actually doesn't seem that weird a sentence.


yet, if you put those as your answer they will be marked wrong. I tried it a few times


Thanks for letting us know! I'm fine with learning colloquial stuff but i wish they would've taught us the official version first..


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...)


Are there any rules to which auxiliary verb to use? Or is just just a case of knowing them?


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?


Ah, I see. Thank you for explaining it to me


How do I say. I sing. ? and also. I'm singing?


They are both "Ik zing" although "I'm singing" can also be "Ik ben aan het zingen", with more emphasis on doing it right now.


Is it valid to translate such sentences literally as "I walk to sing" or how it would be correct to translate my English example to Dutch?


That would translate to: Ik loop om te zingen.


A good example of this in English is "I stand corrected".

If anyone says this, you can follow their line with the joke "........ says the man in the orthopaedic shoes"....

The existence of the joke points to the unusualness of the construction in English.


And how do you know when to use "lopen", "liggen" or "zitten"?! Good to read below that this form is just too elaborate for the common daily speaking.


It depends on what you are doing. Walking, lying, or sitting.


Gave that answer - not accepted

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