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  5. "Ik volg een cursus geschiede…

"Ik volg een cursus geschiedenis."

Translation:I am taking a history course.

December 10, 2014



Just a general comment - I'm finding Duo little inconsistent as to how direct the verb translations have to be. I understand that in this case, 'take' is a more appropriate verb to use in English than 'follow'. However, in other situations where I try and translate the dutch sentence into English and substitute the dutch verb for a more appropriate English one, I will be graded incorrect as I didn't use a 'direct' translation.


Totally agree with your comment - sometimes I am forced to take literal translation, despite it sounding clumsy in English. In other cases taking literal translation (like this one) is not considered correct. Hence some consistency would be appreciated, or both literal and good-sounding versions should be accepted.


I answered: "...doing a history course", as to me, that is an even more natural translation than "taking" one. "Taking a course" is still correct, but when did you last tell anyone you were taking a course, rather than just doing one? It sounds a little quaint and old-fashioned. I have requested that: "doing a course" should also be accepted.


I agree, Duo seems to have a set of "preferred English words" and more natural translations are sometimes rejected. Especially in this "Education" section.


'Especially in this "Education" section.' Rings true with me! My heart sinks when I see I have to do more on education.
I'm really floored by the American use of the word "major". I don't have a clear understanding of what it means or how it is used. Sometimes I feel I'm being tested on my use of American English. (Yes, I'm British.)


Your major is whatever subject you're getting a degree in. I majored in history/physics/accounting etc. This term only applies for bachelor's degrees, not master's or doctorates. Regarding taking vs doing courses, taking is far and away more common than doing in US English.


I would expect the instructor to say "doing", while the recipient (student) would use "taking". American variants perhaps.


Could one also say "Ik neem een cursus geschiedenis" ?


Nee, dat zeggen wij niet. In het Nederlands zeggen we: Ik volg een cursus.


I always assumed they use the literal as long as it actually made sense. If you said "I follow a history coarse" it would mean something completely different than intended. Like "heb ik het koud" is I am cold. I can't think of the awkward ones but I know they are there and I kind of like them because it helps me remember how to say it in Dutch.


I'm not sure whether if the typo is intentional, but if you said you were following a coarse, it would certainly mean something completely different - in fact, I'm not sure it would mean anything at all, as I don't think "coarse", in English, exists as a noun (only an adjective).

However, "following a course" does not mean anything dramatically different from taking one or just doing one. It's not quite as common, but would be acceptable usage, in my opinion.

I'm not sure if it's linguistically justified, but "following", to me, has a slight hint that you can progress at your own pace, so it might mean distance learning, or a boxed set, or, indeed, Duolingo, rather than a traditional bricks-and-mortar classroom.

But "following a course" could, of course, also mean that you are out running (or driving, or whatever). ;)

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