Translation:I will soon speak about the country.
Native English speaker here, and to me it sounds odd - not the use of continuous to indict future, but the placement of soon. It shouldn't go before the verb, but at the end of the sentence (most natural), after the verb (seems formal/stiff, but still accurate) or even at the beginning of the sentence.
It's just the idiosyncrasies of adverbs in the English language :)
Thanks for the reply. It's one of those contextless Duolingo sentences- "Yes, it is grammatically correct and COULD be said in xyz situation" - that everyone is always writing about. I'm not sure that it's worth reporting? I'm just wondering about the Dutch grammar- I do have a Dutch colleague and I'll ask her. Thanks again.
"Soon" can be a rather difficult word to translate between English and Dutch. An understanding of context by means of how/in which manner one means by "soon"
• Straks —> "in a minute/in just a moment" —> "I will read it soon/in a minute." —> There are a handful of possible options. Although straks would perhaps be one of the more used words in this context. More immediate than 'binnenkort', straks is generally used to refer to something occurring/happening within the same day, for example.
• Binnenkort literally means shortly -- thus, binnenkort would render 'soon' only when it could be interchanged with shortly —> "I will speak soon/shortly about the country." Not as immediate as 'straks', binnenkort could refer to something that may occur/happen within a day or two, etc.
this is confusing after your explanation. Straks also as later, something you gonna do, and you mentioned "in a minute " as well, base on the english sentence, I dont see you have to choose binnenkort over straks, plus there are more SOONs out there, such as speodig and vroeg. I dont know when to pick which
I agree that it should be accepted. However, unusual variants are only accepted after someone has proposed them using the form provided, and then they were accepted by a course maintainer. In this case, your variant may not have been suggested yet, or it may have been rejected by a native Dutch speaker who got this wrong because shall is the cognate of zullen and until about two or three centuries ago usually implied a sense of obligation even in English.
"Ik zal binnenkort over het land spreken" is correct but the future tense is redundant in the Dutch sentence because futurity is already implied by binnenkort. Therefore the shorter form using present tense is usually preferred unless you want to stress the futurity.
Proto-Germanic didn't have a future tense any more than a progressive aspect. These are later innovations. They all exist in the modern Germanic languages, but the others generally didn't change as quickly as English did, so marking futurity or the progressive aspect never became obligatory for them.
By the way, there are languages such as Chinese that don't even have an obligatory past tense. In these languages the literal translation of "Yesterday I speak about the country" is also correct.
Yet "Ik spreek" is present tense - how can it mean "I will speak ", which is future? And why is, "I speak soon about the country" incorrect? I would agree that the word "soon" puts the speaking in the future, but we have not yet dealt with future verbs in Dutch
"I am leaving" is present tense, so how can it be used to express the future as in "I am leaving tomorrow"?
As you see, English has exactly the same phenomenon, although in English it only exists in connection with the progressive, which is much less important in Dutch.
Germanic, the common ancestor of English, Dutch, German and the Scandinavian languages, didn't even have a future tense any more than it had a composite past (present perfect) or a progressive. The fact that future tense is a recent innovation explains the following phenomena:
- why there are complications such as the choice between will and shall and the way it can colour the future tense as volitional or necessary,
- why all these closely related languages handle future tense in slightly different ways, and
- why in most Germanic languages using the future tense is not completely obligatory yet.
Future tense in Dutch is less obligatory than in English, but it should be very familiar: Just use zullen (= shall) with the infinitive like you would use will in English. E.g. "Ik zal spreken = I will speak".
In every language in the world you can make yourself understood by using present tense plus some additional information such as "yesterday / two minutes ago" or "tomorrow / in a minute" to indicate that you are talking about the past or future. Languages just differ in whether it's grammatical to do so. E.g. in Chinese it's correct because Chinese doesn't even have tenses. In Latin it isn't correct at all. In Dutch and German it's correct for the future but not for the past. The same is basically true for English, but with the complication that you must use the progressive and when using this you are stressing that it will happen soon ("I am leaving in a minute"; "I am leaving sometime after next year" is only borderline acceptable) or that you have a strong intent of making it happen ("Enough! I am definitely leaving!", not "I thought that maybe I am leaving after all").
Proto-Germanic did not have a future tense; the present tense was used instead. (By the way, Chinese doesn't even have any tenses.) All Germanic languages have developed composite future tenses. They are generally quite similar, but some details differ.
As far as I know, English is the only modern Germanic language in which expressing futurity by the present tense has become problematic. I guess this has to do with another odd feature of English: obligatory marking of the progressive aspect. Nowadays, in English the present tense can (almost) only express futurity in connection with the progressive aspect and a time determination:
- I am watching TV tonight. [Spoken at noon.]
In Dutch and German, the progressive aspect is not obligatory and is very often not used even though it could be. (It's always a clumsy construction, and especially so for transitive verbs.) Futurity is expressed by the simple present, not by the equivalent of the present progressive. A time determination is often included, but it is not mandatory. (Even in English, the time determination used for a present progressive that expresses futurity need not explicitly point to the future. E.g. today will do when referring to an activity that can only take place later in the day.)
- Ik kijk vanavond televisie. [Spoken at noon.]
There are basically no usage restrictions for this way of (not) expressing futurity - other than the fact that people usually try to avoid ambiguity.
To make this absolutely clear: In Dutch and German, the progressive aspect can not be marked when expressing futurity with the present tense. Though technically possible, it would also be very unusual to mark the progressive aspect with any tense other than the present tense.
Unlike German, Dutch has a close analogue of the going to future:
- Ik ga vanavond televisie kijken. - I go tonight TV [to] watch. - I am going to watch TV tonight.
All West Germanic languages also have a composite future tense using an auxiliary. English long couldn't decide whether to use will for pure futurity (originally used for futurity coloured by volition) or shall (originally used for futurity coloured by obligation). Only recently this was resolved in favour of will even in the first person.
In Dutch, willen is still used to express volition (only), and zullen has become the auxiliary used for the composite future:
- Ik zul televisie kijken. - I shall TV watch. - I will watch TV.
(In this case German is the odd one. It uses the same auxiliary for the composite future that Dutch and German use for the passive voice.)
In a nutshell, Dutch expresses futurity pretty much like English, but with the following differences:
- Present tense is much more popular for expressing futurity and can be used without any hard restrictions.
- The progressive aspect is never marked when expressing futurity, not even when using the present tense.
- The analogue of the going to future uses gaan (go) - without te (to). (And without marking the progressive aspect, see 2.)
- The analogue of the will future uses the auxiliary zullen (shall).
Totally different meaning:
- Ik spreek binnenkort = I [will] soon speak
- Ik spreek kortom = I [will] speak briefly
1 says when you will speak. 2 says how long you will speak. It is entirely possible that you will soon start giving a very long speech, or that you will speak briefly in a very long time from now.
Does this mean that in a short while the person is going to stand up in front of a podium and give a speech about the country -- that is, the topic of his speech is the country?
Or, does this mean that soon the person is going to start on a speaking tour, traveling about the country and stopping at various locations to speak about some unknown topic?