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"Verft Rembrandt altijd met verf?"

Translation:Does Rembrandt always paint with paint?

4 years ago

13 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/RCavill
RCavill
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Why is this in the present tense in the translation? Isn't this another case where the Dutch use the present, but in English we'd use the past? Afterall if we're talking about the famous Rembrandt he's no longer around.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Susande
Susande
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The sentence describes a habit (can be recognised by the use of always/altijd), this means that if the present tense is used in Dutch, it's used in English as well.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RCavill
RCavill
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I agree, you could use the present tense in English when refering to the past in this context. So if I say Rembrandt always paints with paint, it could refer to the famous dead Rembrandt (although that phrasing sounds rather posh to my ears). But I don't think it would be wrong to translate it with the past tense if it was refering to him. Could that be a legitamate alternative translation?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Susande
Susande
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I'm not too sure, you can use the past tense in Dutch as well. In Dutch it probably depends how you look at it. If you look at it as a fact, a habit, something that just is like that (even in a question, like the exercise, even when it happened a long time ago) then use present tense. If you look at it as something that happened in the past, then use past tense. Both sound normal in Dutch. Normally I would think present tense in Dutch > present tense in English. Past tense in Dutch > past tense in English (that was also how I learned it at school). But if using present tense sounds posh…well I don't know, maybe you could change the tense when translating.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnneAmanda

It is very typical in academic (and religious) settings when talking about something like this to use the present tense in English when talking about a dead writer or artist. In many cases it's a matter of style and personal preference.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vam1980
vam1980
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Maybe other people who are called Rembrandt also paint. Actually, the name is getting more popular again in The Netherlands.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/aroacegirl
aroacegirl
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From where I live in America, no one would ever say this in the present tense (unless referring, of course, to a living Rembrandt).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tina_in_Bristol
Tina_in_Bristol
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It does sound a bit odd in this particular example, but it's not that unusual to say of a long dead artist: "Look how he USES colour!" - almost as if he still lives, through the painting.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnikaVanderbilt
AnikaVanderbilt
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Why can we not say, Rembrandt always paints with paint?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tina_in_Bristol
Tina_in_Bristol
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Do you mean in this specific example, or at all? In this example, it's a question. English does not really support turning a statement into a question simply by putting a question mark after it. Occasionally, it works, but mostly it sounds weird, and you need to change the structure: "Does he do [the thing]?"

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/luigipinna
luigipinna
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Come on! Rembrandt is long gone, so the proper usage is "did." Yeah, you got me with the technicalities, but shees!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vitomama
vitomama
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Actually, present tense is proper as well. One also discusses long-gone authors in the present tense.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KTo288
KTo288
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It's called the historical present tense, it's not something you would usually use in everyday speach but common enough in history books and biographies.

1 week ago