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"Verft Rembrandt altijd met verf?"

Translation:Does Rembrandt always paint with paint?

September 9, 2014

14 Comments

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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RCavill

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.

September 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susande

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.

September 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RCavill

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?

September 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susande

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.

September 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/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.

April 11, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vam1980

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

September 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aroacegirl

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

January 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tina_in_Bristol

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.

February 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnikaVanderbilt

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

April 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tina_in_Bristol

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]?"

April 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanielKulkamp

Is this the correct pronounciation of "Rembrandt"?

February 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/luigipinna

Come on! Rembrandt is long gone, so the proper usage is "did." Yeah, you got me with the technicalities, but shees!

January 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vitomama

Actually, present tense is proper as well. One also discusses long-gone authors in the present tense.

May 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KTo288

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.

September 14, 2018
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