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"Zien jullie zestien olifanten?"

Translation:Do you see sixteen elephants?

April 1, 2015



I wrote "are you seeing sixteen elephants" and it was marked incorrect


That sounds like you're in a polyamorous relationship with sixteen elephants.


The Corpus of Contemporary American English tells a different story. You will find hundreds of usage examples for "are you seeing"? Only a very small minority have anything to do with romantic relationships or appointments.

The entire sentence "Are you seeing what I'm seeing?" is well attested in Google results. It fits well here: "Are you seeing what I'm seeing? Is that really 16 elephants?" "see" with continuous is particularly applicable when one isn't entirely sure if one can trust one's eyes or not.

Other parts of Duolingo seem to have no objection ;) https://www.duolingo.com/comment/226937/What-are-you-seeing No English-speaker in five years has objected to the English sentence as somehow unnatural.


I must admit that when I first saw the advert with the strapline "I'm loving it" (that is "I love it") I nearly choked on my coffee. Continuity is all very well, but there are limits. I'm not loving it enough to buy it.


People cite that example, but, in fact, that campaign dates only to 2003, a year that doesn't even appear as a positive inflection point in the usage of the various forms of "to be loving it" (cf. Google Ngrams). In fact, that's approximately the year "is loving it" starts tailing off after a vertiginous rise starting around 1985.

"You are living the life of a Tommy, and in your heart of hearts you are loving it" appeared in 1915.

"... and as we use it more, it is because we are loving it more, and the more we love it the more we get out of it..." in 1908.

"And to-day I am loving it with such intensity that..." in 1910.

"I could love it no more than I am loving it now..." in 1902 (granted, it's in a poem).


Yeap, I find that slogan teeth-gritting as well.


Is zestien pronounced like zechstien?


No, there's no 'ch' sound in it.


What is 'zien' refers to? Jullie or olifanten?


"Zien" in this sentence is the verb and "jullie" is the subject, as in "Jullie zien de olifanten". Or as a question "Zien jullie de olifanten?" I can't quite figure out how it could refer to "olifanten" unless you're thinking of "Zien de olifanten jullie?", i.e. "Do the elephants see you" in which case "de olifanten would be the subject. Does that make sense?


I put "have you seen 16 elephants" and it was incorrect. Why is it "can you see" and not "have you seen"?


Can you see is possible because "to see" is a non-continuous-verbs (see link in earlier comment by me). Have you seen? would translate to: hebben jullie gezien?


Nee, sorry, ik zie vijftien.


Yes and all of then are pink!

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