Imperfect

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Imperfect

Postby fabriciocarraro » Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:51 am

Hallo allemaal!

I know dutch doesn't have the concept of "imperfect" (at least I didn't reach it on the grammar lessons), it's something that happened in the past but for a while (not specific). How can I use it in Dutch? Those who speak any romance language must understand what I'm saying. How would I say the next phrase (the same one, in many languages) in Dutch?

- Portuguese: Quando eu era um menino, eu jogava futebol com meus amigos.
- Español: Cuándo yo era un niño, jugaba fútbol con mis amigos.
- Italiano: Quando io ero un bambino, giocava calcio con i miei amici.

Bedankt!
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Re: Imperfect

Postby andreengels » Sat Jul 09, 2011 6:32 am

In Dutch as you say, there is no such tense. Dutch uses past tense in both parts of your sentence. Usually the second part will contain some adverbial construct to specify the frequency. Provided I have understood your phrases well, the Dutch form would be:

Toen ik een kind was, speelde ik [x] voetbal met mijn vrienden.

with the [x] replaced by a word like "vaak", "altijd", "soms", "wel eens", "elke middag"...
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Re: Imperfect

Postby fabriciocarraro » Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:25 pm

Ah! Then it works just like in english.... I should have figured out =P

Dank je wel, andreengels! =)
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Re: Imperfect

Postby ngonyama » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:02 pm

fabriciocarraro wrote:Ah! Then it works just like in english.... I should have figured out =P

Dank je wel, andreengels! =)


Unfortunately, no, it does not always work like in English because English has well established continuous tenses: "I was playing soccer" versus "I played soccer" vs "I have played soccer".

Where English uses the simple past, say: "you called me (on the phone)" Dutch will often use a perfect: Je hebt me gebeld.

The Dutch past tense does have the name onvoltooid verleden tijd: imperfect past tense and it does get used for actions in the past that were not finished, whether seen as a "still photograph" or as a "movie in progress":

E.g. when Dutch says "Toen je me belde.." English may use a continuous "When you were calling me.." or a past "When you called me.." depending on the rest of the sentence.

Only if you want to emphasize the continuous nature of the event Dutch may use constructions with zitten, staan, liggen, lopen to add the continuous aspect:

"Toen je me zat te bellen..."
"Toen je me aan het bellen was..."

I am afraid every language has its own division of labor amongst the available tenses and they are usually best learned in context.
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Re: Imperfect

Postby fabriciocarraro » Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:34 am

I think I've got it now, ngonyama! Dank je!

But, when I was learning english my teach taught me that this "imperfect" in english could be formed by the structure "used to .....", for example, "When I was a child, I used to play football with my friends." or "... I played football with my friends.".

Well, then I should usually use the "simple past" (verb root + de/te) in dutch to express this imperfect aspect, right? So, the phrase "When I was a child, I used to walk by the lake every week." should be translated as "Toen ik een kind was, liep ik bij het meer elke week.", correct? Or is there another way to say it?

One other question, do you have the difference between "to like" and "to love", or everything is "Ik hou van ..."?

Bedankt!
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Re: Imperfect

Postby andreengels » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:15 am

fabriciocarraro wrote:I think I've got it now, ngonyama! Dank je!

But, when I was learning english my teach taught me that this "imperfect" in english could be formed by the structure "used to .....", for example, "When I was a child, I used to play football with my friends." or "... I played football with my friends.".

Well, then I should usually use the "simple past" (verb root + de/te) in dutch to express this imperfect aspect, right? So, the phrase "When I was a child, I used to walk by the lake every week." should be translated as "Toen ik een kind was, liep ik bij het meer elke week.", correct? Or is there another way to say it?


Yes, one uses simple past in Dutch here; however, the word order is different (time before place where English has place before time) and "bij" is not the correct translation for "by", I think "langs" would be best in Dutch.

"Toen ik een kind was, liep ik elke week langs het meer."

One other question, do you have the difference between "to like" and "to love", or everything is "Ik hou van ..."?


Both are "houden van". Because of that if you want to say "like" of a specific person, one has to use a different construction, as saying "Ik hou van hem/haar" would be interpreted as 'I love him/her'. Most likely one would say something like "Ik vind hem/haar lief/aardig/leuk."
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Re: Imperfect

Postby fabriciocarraro » Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:33 am

Got it, andreengels! Dank je wel! =)

I haven't started to study the dutch word order yet, but it's my next step!
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