In English, "I swim." (but not "I am swimming.") can also mean that one is able to swim or knows how to swim. Can we do this in Dutch?
No, I don't think so. 'Ik zwem' only means the action, so 'I am swimming'. If you want to tell someone that you I know how to swim, it would be 'Ik kan zwemmen' or 'Ik weet ❤❤❤ ik moet zwemmen'.
It wouldn't be odd in my dialect (midwestern plains U.S.). Although rather than just coming out and saying ‘I swim.’, the conversation would more likely go like this:
‘Do you swim?’ ‘Yes.’
But if I answered the question with a complete sentence, then it would be
‘Do you swim?’ ‘Yes, I swim.’
Sure. But that doesn't demonstrate that it refers to ability.
That would require a sentence like
"Sure, I swim. But I haven't been to a pool since I was a little kid."
>Do you do that with other verbs?
Good question! (I don't know why some people are downvoting it.)
If I try it with other recreational activities, it doesn't seem to fit as well. ‘Do you ski?’ sounds like it's asking if I regularly go on skiing trips, not just if I can. ‘Do you play chess?’ seems closer (since if I answer Yes, then I might get challenged to a game, which only requires that I know how to play), but it still seems that I should answer No if I haven't played in a while, even if I know how.
‘Do you swim?’ seems to be getting at swimming more as a life skill. It's a question that you ask if you're afraid that somebody might end up in the water.
I just thought of ‘Do you read?’, and that seems to fit very well. Of course, anybody who can read probably does every day (which is not a safe assumption with swimming), so it's harder to distinguish ability from practice, but the question to me still seems to be about the former.
It definitely depends on context, however. ‘Do you swim?’ could be answered with ‘No, I haven't been to a pool since I was a little kid.’, and ‘Do you read?’ could be answered with ‘No, I prefer to watch TV.’. But if the questioner replies ‘I meant, can you […]’, then I wouldn't think that the original question was wrongly worded, merely unclear. And if either answer had been ‘Yes, but […]’ instead of ‘No, […]’, then I wouldn't think that the answer was wrongly worded either.
Sorry for replying here, TobyBartels.
Just wanted to reply to OsoGehenHest: sorry to hear that some people are acting that way, it's just so petty and childish... :(
I was scathing in a comment about some stupid mistakes in another course, and a couple of people got hugely butthurt and decided to downvote all my comments everywhere. Pay them no mind.
Interesting. You seem to be very sparing with "can". I have noticed Americans using the present simple of verbs of perception a lot too. E.g. "I see a shooting star," "Do you hear that noise?" which to me sound like you're speaking about regular activities (in the vein of "I see a lot of movies"), because I would without exception use the verb "can" in those sentences. The only verbs for which the present simple works to convey "can" for me are to do with knowing languages. So, "I speak English," "I understand Chinese" seem fine to me in the sense of "I can...".
OK, take that example then. It sounds perfectly normal to me.