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"Verft Rembrandt altijd met verf?"

Translation:Does Rembrandt always paint with paint?

September 9, 2014



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.


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.


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?


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.


Right. 'Shakespeare often writes plays about jealousy'


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.


Maybe other people who are called Rembrandt also paint. Actually, the name is getting more popular again in The Netherlands.


From where I live in America, no one would ever say this in the present tense (unless referring, of course, to a living Rembrandt).


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.


Why can we not say, Rembrandt always paints with paint?


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]?"


Is this the correct pronounciation of "Rembrandt"?


Misschien verfde Rembrandt ook wel eens thuis deuren en raamkozijnen e.d., maar als kunstschilder schilderde hij toch echt....

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