Ich bin am lernen vs Ich lerne?
I had something like this show up in a lesson, but the translations seem to be the same, "I'm learning". Is there a difference?
Normally German has no construction like "I am learning". "Ich bin am Lernen" is the nearest equivalent.
"ich bin am lernen" is like "I am at the learning (part of this... etc)"... Does that make sense to you?
Yeah. The "ich bin am lernen" is somehow connected to the activity itself at a particular moment. Like when somebody wants you to do something and you answer you can't do it right now because you're learning:
Mom says: Please come over here (german: Bitte komm mal kurz her). Reply: Nein. Ich bin am lernen!
It seems like "Ich lerne" is more like being in the general state of learning, like "I am learning German." Whereas "Ich bin am Lernen." is more "I'm in the process of learning German." Like, I'm at my computer right now on Duolingo. More of a active physical action, as opposed to a concept.
Please, correct me if I'm wrong though.
German has various constructions showing a preposition (often with article) plus infinitive. The most used ones are "zu (ariticle) + inf." and "um zu + inf."). "Es ist zu spät zum Schwimmen. (with article, because the inf. has been changed into a noun)" It is too late to go swimming. "Ich hoffe, morgen kommen zu können (without article)" I hope I will be able to come tomorrow. "Ich bin dabei, zu lernen" I am busy learning or I am starting to learn right now. OR Ich bin am Lernen. I am learning (right now, so don't bother me!). The funny thing is, that Dutch has the same construction "Ik ben aan het leren".
/second theluckyduck's response.
The optional translation for simple present tense verbs in their "-ing" form seems to be in order to allow for smoother translation for some sentences into English, because we often use that tense very generally. "I'm learning German," for instance. The "Ich bin am [Infinitive]" not only capitalizes the verb in question (causing the verb to be used as a noun, otherwise known as a "gerund"), but it indicates that the verb in question is currently in progress. Thus, "Ich lerne Deutsch," carries the sense of "I'm learning German in school," or "I'm learning German in my spare time," or something indefinite like that. "Ich bin am Deutsch Lernen," on the other hand, carries the sense of "I am currently studying German at this very moment."
Hope that helps.
So, just to make sure I'm getting this right: adding 'am' in the middle of this sentence implies a sense of occupation—in that "Ich bin am lernen" implies that I am busy studying right now versus "Ich bin lernen" simply meaning that I'm studying something in the present tense