I realize every language has its cultural nuances and that sometimes Duolingo suggests very odd sentences, but is there a legit use for a sentence like this in Dutch?
I would guess this sentence needs some qualifier to make sense like "the pasta is today's food/meal" or "the best food/meal" in both languagues.
No but keep in mind that approximately two-thirds are de-words and the other one-third are het-words. E.g. De auto, de winkel, het huis
I may have just found something for anyone who has ever studied German: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_language#Genders_and_cases Based on this, it seems that more often than not, a "het" word will take "das" in German. Not always, I don't think, but it does seem to be happening more often than mere coincidence.
I think it's because Dutch likely had a gender merge like Swedish, where masculine and feminine words became common gender and neuter remained.
Yes, Dutch gender and German gender usually match each other, roughly like how Spanish and Italian match (yet you still get things like la leche/il latte sometimes). For example:
de appel (masc.)
der Apfel (masc.)
de koe (fem.)
die Kuh (fem.)
het meisje (neu.)
das Mädchen (neu.)
In english no, but in german there is. De means 'Der, Die' for masculine and feminine nouns het is 'Das' for the third that in german is called sächlich. I don't know whats that kn english
"The pasta is the food" does not make sense "Pasta is a food" or "The food is pasta" work no one would ever say the oasta is the food
I suppose it could work like this: "Where's the food? There's only pasta." "The pasta is the food."
Is =to be, for singular nouns, look up the conjugation of 'zijn' for more details
I do think that the context of the questions should be stated. "The pasta is "the" food".....i keep getting things wrong because i type "The pasta is food" because that makes sense.
Eten can be both a verb and a noun: het eten = the food; wij eten = we eat
Eten is both a noun and verb in Dutch.
German also makes this distinction, and the noun would be capitalized then:
We eten pasta.
Wir essen Pasta.
We eat pasta.
Pasta is een eten.
Pasta ist ein Essen.
Pasta is a food.
Sadly, Dutch (along with English) does not capitalise all of its nouns.
True, but the literal translation of the "het" and "de" words here sounds stilted in English.
Nope! Unlike in French, the Dutch definite articles are not used for generalizations.
Actually they are in some cases, think about: de handel (trade) or het transport (transportation).
Not sure if I agree. When talking about trade or transportation in general, you wouldn't use an article in Dutch:
"Transport is het vervoer van mensen of goederen" - "Transportation is the conveying of people or goods"
"Handel is goed voor de economie" - "Trade is good for the economy"
Sure it probably isn't very common, but like I said, it is used in some cases, e.g.
- Om de economie te laten groeien, moet het transport verbeteren. - To let the economy grow, transport has to improve.
- Het gaat goed met de handel. - Trade is going well.
- The food - het eten
- A food - een eten (though to be honest I don't think this works very well in each language, a type/kind of food - een soort eten would make more sense).