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  5. "Zij liggen te praten."

"Zij liggen te praten."

Translation:They are talking.

September 20, 2014



Would "zij praten" have a different meaning/nuance?


Yes, first, it's implied that they are laying down.

Second, they are doing it now, "zij praten" also means, "they talk" as in they do, but maybe not right now.

You could also say "zij zijn aan het praten." Which is right now, without the lying down implication.


I agree, except for the incorrect 'they are laying down'. Lay (leggen) is transitive (one has to lay something); lie (liggen) is intransitive.


I'm not exactly sure what the "liggen" is doing here then, since the only interpretation i can imagine for it is that they are lying down.

Perhaps you could illuminate.


my dutch girlfriend is really sure that this would be only be said if you want to emphasize that you are laying down and talk. "Zij zitten te praten" or "Zij zijn aan het praten" is what you would use.


You would use "zij liggen te..." if you're actually lying down. That doesn't necessarily mean that the lying down part is emphasized though...


@murcuslangford. Joelson is right. - You just didn't understand his point, that laying and lying are different things.


So we get back to what i said in the first place... Odd, almost like Joelson is Wrong.


I am pretty sure it is not your interpretation of the Dutch that he is referring to but your use of English. They are 'lying down' not 'laying down'. It is the same difference as 'leggen' and 'liggen'.


"Lay" can also be intransitive when used in the past tense, as in "I felt tired so I lay down for a nap."


Lie-lay-lain is intransitive. Lay-laid-laid is transitive. Confusing, but that's just the way it is.


1 Zij praten = they talk. 2 Zij ben aan het praten = They are talking. 3 Zij liggen te praten = They lay down to talk.


2 is niet goed, het is 'zij zijn aan het praten' (ben is eerste persoon enkelvoud, 'ik ben aan het praten')


My Dutch husband also says that this should NOT be not translated into English as 'they are talking' as it really means 'they are lying down talking'. Duo Lingo you are unnessarily confusing people as i assumed this was another version of 'aan het praten'.

[deactivated user]

    You are absolutely right. In a normal situation when people are talking, sitting or standing, you say "They are talking." But if people are talking in an extraordinary situation, laying down, or hanging with their feet on a rope, than you need to mention the situation.


    lying (intransitive), not laying (transitive)


    "Hanging with their feet on a rope": Zij hangen te praten?


    What would the question be if this sentence was the answer to that question?

    Q: "Wat doen zij?" or "Wat zijn zij aan het doen?" A: "Zij liggen te praten."


    both are correct. 'wat doen zij' is just a shorter version, but both are used.


    All the comments here seem to be fine with the idea they are lying down and yet it's not the translation, which is just given as "They are talking". So why "liggen", what have I missed here?


    The correct translation of "they are talking" is "ze/zij praten". Another possibility is "ze/zij zijn aan het praten". As a Dutch native speaker I really fail to see how it can ever be translated as "ze liggen te praten". So i don't think you have missed anything. De "liggen" has no use here.


    What is the nuance here with liggen? Does it imply that they are being idle?


    It implies that they literally lie down. Similarly, "zij staan te praten" would imply that they're standing and "zij zitten te praten" would imply that they're sitting down.


    You can say that in English too: 'they sit talking', 'they stand talking', &c. That's perfectly fine English, though people might not immediately recognise the parallels in Dutch.


    They sit talking -> Zij zitten te praten is logical enough. The one that gets me is that 'walking' also counts in Dutch--but also, apparently, using 'lopen' to construct the progressive present doesn't always mean you're walking.


    True, which comes naturally for native speakers, but makes little sense. Even in Dutch is sounds a bit ugly though it is grammatically right. You would find it in spoken text, but less in books.


    So Ik loop te praten is also grammatically right? Meanwhile, besides zitten, staan, liggen, and lopen, are there any other verbs can be used like that? Or technically all the verbs can do this?

    Thanks for all the discussion you had. It's a great help.


    The use of "lopen" is similar to that of the Portuguese language: "andar" means "to walk" and this verb is used in daily conversation to construct the progressive present: "ele anda falando" meaning "he is talking" but not necessarily right now, actually for a continued period of time, like days or weeks. In Portuguese, you will never think that someone is "walking and talking" when that phrase is heard. Sorry for mixing another language in this thread, but I would like to show that the Dutch language is not alone in employing that verbal construction!


    Same in Italian: "lui va dicendo...". And with the same meaning of doing it for some time.


    Or Spanish, "ir haciendo algo", e.g. "voy mejorando" = "I'm slowly getting better". I think in the Romanic languages they use these verbal constructions a lot, where in the Germanic languages they would rather use an adverb (like above "slowly").


    At least in latin american Spanish this is a common construct: "Él anda hablando". And "andar" means walking as well. It is kind of a more coloquial way of saying "él está hablando".


    It's a bit abrupt and unfinished, though. One would more likely fill out out: "They sit there sitting and talking." "They stand around talking."


    When it's literal it's not implicit, it's explicit.


    I see a lot of people confusing the verbs "lay" vs "lie" in English.

    (This is limited to when "lay" means to place something and "lie" means to rest or recline horizontally.)

    That seems to be causing some confusion in some of these responses.

    It's nothing to be embarrassed about, as even Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan got this wrong in their iconic songs.

    One important difference: "lay" requires an object. "Lie" doesn't.

    It's the past tense of "lie" that causes most of the confusion, I think. This is one of those many times when English is awful.

    This conjugation chart should help:

    Present Tense - Past Tense - Past Participle

    lie(s) - lay - lain

    lay(s) - laid - laid

    Here's a link to study with a prettier chart and more memory aids:


    As most of us are here to learn Dutch, not English:

    Onthoud: liggen is stilstand, leggen is beweging.

    (Remember: "liggen" is resting, "leggen" is motion.)



    The comments are confusing. Are they lying down or not? If they are, then surely the English should somehow deflect thatq


    Can this also be translated as "they are lying down talking?"


    Literally yes, but it would rarely be meant to be that.


    According to this web site--and it could well be incorrect--the sentence is in the continuous present and means "They lie (are lying down) and talk": http://www.dutchgrammar.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=446


    DL seems to have shoe-horned an extra skill into a module which was primarily about 'te + infinitive'. From reading the comments I am beginning to understand the Dutch phraseology, but with nothing in the tips to forewarn me I was trying to acknowledge the staan/zitten/liggen and Duo slapped me down! Please add something to the tips section.


    If I wanted to an an object in here, would I use an om te construction? Say someone was sitting and talking about what's on TV, would I say Hij zit om televisie te praten?


    Almost, that would be 'hij zit over de televisie te praten'. This sentence in particular is not so common, but similar to 'hij zit / staat / loopt over het weer te praten' (He is talking about the weather).

    To make it more confusing, one could say: 'Hij zit om televisie te kijken' (He sits in order to watch television)

    Even more far fetched is 'Hij zit om over televisie te praten' (He sits in order to talk about television, not meaning the machine, but the programming)

    Not to be confused with "Hij zit om over de televisie te praten' which could mean both 'He sits in order to talk about the television' or something meaning that he sits in order to be able to speak to someone else without the television being an obstruction.

    I start rambling, sorry.


    Liggen? You mean they are in bed having a natter?


    If you say this, they are laying down and talking; "De kinderen slapen nog niet, zij liggen te praten". If they are sitting down and talking; "Wat doen de kinderen in de auto? Zij zitten te praten". They talk; "zij praten". They are talking; 'ze zijn aan het praten".


    They are lying down, not laying!


    I think you are fighting a losing battle here, but you are right: hens lay eggs, we lie down!


    It was pretty difficult to understand "liggen" on audio, can it be corrected ?


    I don't understand the 'te' in this sentence. To me this looks like 'They are to speak' rather than 'They are speaking.' Can anyone explain?


    It's just how we say it, when constructing a sentence like this. This site has a great explanation. :)


    I can't open the link


    Fair enough, I guess it's just one of those strange quirks of the language! Thanks for your help.


    Kennelijk een uit de context getrokken zin. Uit de terugvertaling kan nooit het liggen blijken, letterlijk 'zij zijn sprekende'.


    why is the English then not "they talk while lying down" ??


    From these comments, I'm gathering that my answer "they lie talking" should have been accepted, yes?


    It should be "zitten te praten" it has NEVER been "liggen te praten"!


    It has always been "zitten te praten".


    "I am lying and talking". It seems correct to me.


    Synthetic voice made liggen sound like ligt

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