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https://www.duolingo.com/tjasonham

Yet another "tack för allt ert arbete" thread plus bonus anecdotes from my trip to Sweden!

tjasonham
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I finished my Swedish tree about a week before heading to Sweden (took ~7 mos) and I gotta say, the course does a REALLY good job of covering all the most basic vocabulary needed. Was quite impressed with how often I had all the words I needed to express myself. Mind you, I had post-its of verbs all over my desk at the office and watched a ton of Swedish movies, but still, A+ to the Swedish team!

Sweden is an breathtaking and fascinating country. I'll definitely be back. I moved to the United States from Canada a couple of years ago, and it's funny how culturally similar Swedes are to Canadians. They have that same reserved, slightly patronizing temperament (yet warm amongst friends) that I kind of miss now that I live amongst super-friendly, lively, chatty Americans lol.

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Now for some language comments and questions:

  1. Found it interesting that the course prefers "i dag" "i morgon" i kväll" over "idag" "imorgon" and "ikväll", which I found more prevalent even in seemingly formal contexts.

  2. I don't think the course actually teaches you how to say "what's up?" which would be helpful. Many people said "hur läget?" to me and I had to look it up. What other ways are there for saying "what's up?"

  3. The word "ej" is rather common on Swedish signs and although I know from context what it means it'd be nice to have it at least mentioned in the course.

  4. Ordering drinks at a bar or getting food at a restaurant was a rattling experience when trying to play it cool, lol. It's funny because I always made fun of ineffective high school courses for focusing on how to order a taco or hail a cab instead of teaching real grammar, but in this case I was stumped. What do people usually say? "Jag vill ha..." ? "Jag tar..." ? Does it depend on the venue? I also had to learn the difference between flasköl (bottle), fatöl (glass) and burköl (can) by trial and error. Useful words for any of you that will visit Sweden soon. ;)

  5. I noticed a lot of questions end in ", eller?", which translating directly from English sounds kind of rude, but I assume is just the Swedish way of adding ", no?"/", yeah?" to the end of a question. Thoughts? How do you construct these kinds of questions and when do you use them?

  6. I still don't understand how to pronounce G and K before the letter 'i'.

Most of the time it seems like they take on their softer versions ('j'-ish and 'tj'-ish) but what about words like 'portugiska' and 'kissa' (pardon my French). Is there an easy way to know how to pronounce G's and K's in situations like this (even if it's some obscure historical/etymological reason), or is it through experience?

I'll think of more things... but that's what I have to say to start.

2 years ago

13 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Lundgren8
Lundgren8
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Hi! Thanks for your feedback and glad you enjoyed your trip! I’ve answered some of the points briefly.

Found it interesting that the course prefers "i dag" "i morgon" i kväll" over "idag" "imorgon" and "ikväll", which I found more prevalent even in seemingly formal contexts.

It is true that ”idag” and ”imorgon” are very common forms, so they’re also accepted answers in the course. Newspapers tend to use ”i dag” and ”i morgon” however, which is also the ”recommended usage” from the Swedish Language Council, so those are the forms we teach. But of course both are accepted.

I don't think the course actually teaches you how to say "what's up?" which would be helpful. Many people said "hur läget?" to me and I had to look it up. What other ways are there for saying "what's up?"

The most common way is probably ”hur är det?” and ”hur är läget?” is also very common in informal contexts. Perhaps we can add it somewhere if it’s not there already.

The word "ej" is rather common on Swedish signs and although I know from context what it means it'd be nice to have it at least mentioned in the course.

”Ej” is almost never used in speech except for in a few fixed expression, you typically find it on signs as you say. I think it’s always accepted in the course as an answer however.

Ordering drinks at a bar or getting food at a restaurant was a rattling experience when trying to play it cool, lol. It's funny because I always made fun of ineffective high school courses for focusing on how to order a taco or hail a cab instead of teaching real grammar, but in this case I was stumped. What do people usually say? "Jag vill ha..." ? "Jag tar..." ? Does it depend on the venue? I also had to learn the difference between flasköl, fatöl and burköl by trial and error because we don't learn the words fat/burk in this course.

You could use either ”jag vill ha…” or ”jag tar…”. An even more polite question would be ”jag skulle vilja ha…”.

The aim of the course is not to cover every aspect of language and you won’t be completely fluent when done with the course, but I think it hopefully gives a nice foundation in order to discover new aspects of the language on your own just as you did. It would have to be a very large course to cover different types of beer containers. :) It’s nice to hear that you find that you had most of the vocab you needed!

I noticed a lot of questions end in ", eller?", which translating directly from English sounds kind of rude, but I assume is just the Swedish way of adding ", no?"/", yeah?" to the end of a question. Thoughts? How do you construct these kinds of questions and when do you use them?

The most common tag question is ”…eller hur?” as in ”Du tycker om djur, eller hur?” (You like animals, don’t you/right?). Depending on the tone of the voice, shortening it just ”eller?” can be a bit rude or direct in Swedish as well, sort of like English ”or not?” as in ”Kommer du i morgon, eller?” (Are you coming tomorrow or what?).

Swedish doesn’t use as many tag question as English does, and ”eller hur?” covers quite many of the English ones. Another one which perhaps isn’t as common in spoken Swedish today is ”inte sant?” which is a slightly more formal version of ”eller hur?”.

In many cases where English uses a tag question, Swedish doesn’t at all.

Swedish does not use for example ”…nej?” or ”…ja?” as some languages do.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tjasonham
tjasonham
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  1. Re: "ej" --> Oh! I actually had no idea it was 100% interchangeable with "inte" (grammatically, at least). In that case ignoring it in this course makes total sense, since it'd just be a distraction.

  2. Re: beer containers. For sure! Was just making note of things I noticed while I was there since those words came up a lot. I would, however, suggest including examples of "Jag tar..." or "Jag vill ha" in the 'Verbs: Present' or the Auxiliary Verbs units if they don't exist already (I didn't encounter them), because they're common enough in Swedish without being direct translations from English. I think Duolingo students would find them useful.

  3. In your first example "Du tycker om djur, eller hur?" the subject and verb are not switched, but in the question "Kommer du i morgon, eller?" they are. What's the grammatical difference between these?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lundgren8
Lundgren8
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In your first example "Du tycker om djur, eller hur?" the subject and verb are not switched, but in the question "Kommer du i morgon, eller?" they are. What's the grammatical difference between these?

Yeah, that’s right. When using eller hur? you have a word order as if it were statement, whereas when using eller? you have a question word order. I hadn’t thought about that. Kind of interesting.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Joel__W
Joel__W
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In my opinion, both of these an example of ellipsis of a question. But in the first case, it is preceded by a statement, so the question word "hur" has to be left in to indicate that a question has been omitted. "Du tycker om djur, eller hur (tycker du?)"

In the other case, the preceding clause is a question, and the question we omit has the same verb (or noun) as the first question, or is on the same theme in another sense. So it becomes easy for the listener to infer the content, without having any clues except "eller". "Kommer du i morgon, eller (kommer du någon annan gång?)"

It doesn't really work to say "Kommer du imorgon, eller hur?" since it's hard to imagine what type of question would be omitted. You wouldn't normally follow a yes/no question with an open question like that. "Kommer du imorgon, eller hur (kommer du)?" doesn't make sense for example.

However, at least for me, "Du tycker om djur, eller?" doesn't sound so strange, and would mean the same as "Tycker du om djur, eller?*. It is certainly less established though.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tjasonham
tjasonham
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Totally interesting!

One more thing I noticed that I still don't understand (and I'll post it above in the original post as well) is how to pronounce G and K before the letter 'i'.

Most of the time it seems like they take on their softer versions ('j'-ish and 'tj'-ish) but what about words like 'portugisiska', 'kille' and 'kissa' (pardon my French). Is there an easy way to know how to pronounce G's and K's in situations like this (even if it's some obscure historical/etymological reason), or is it through experience?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zmrzlina
Zmrzlina
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The rule is that they're soft just like you say, but there are many exceptions. The words you mentioned are some of them. Portugal has a hard G, so the hard G is kept when making it into an adjective portugisisk. I'm afraid it's just a matter of learning it by heart, as is all too often the case with exceptions.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lundgren8
Lundgren8
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While the ’hard’ pronunciation of Portugal certainly might have to do with it, it also has to do with portugisisk being a loanword.

Words that entered the language after this sound change will have the ”hard” pronunciation, for example geisha or gerilla.

But also words that are onomatopoeic or hypocoristic like geggig, kille or kissa can have the ’hard pronunciation’.

This is unpredictable, but if you know that the word is a loanword that hasn’t been in the language for more than 300 years, then you can be pretty sure that it has the ’hard’ pronunciation. Older loanwords like kyrka, gemenskap and kines have the ’soft’ pronunciation.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Matt92HUN
Matt92HUNPlus
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Learning Norwegian can also help, they mark the soft sounds by writing Gj and Kj.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Anrui
Anrui
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I just wanted to add to Lundgren8's great answer that the phrase "Hur är läget!" is actually taught in the course. However, one sentence can easily drown among the thousands of sentences that are included.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tjasonham
tjasonham
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Oh, yay. Must have slipped my mind since it's a very early unit, or maybe I passed the unit without ever seeing it. Another one I like, for those that are curious, is "gomorron!"

It's markedly slangy and doesn't need to be taught to be understood, obviously, but the word just jumps off the page and looks delightful.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anitramwaju
anitramwaju
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Actually, I saw “ej” once or twice in the course in the exercises where you have to choose in three proposals which one(s) is/are the correct translation(s)… So I assumed it had the same meaning than “inte”.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tjasonham
tjasonham
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Also I had so much fun in Europe that I lost my 119 day streak, lol. OH WELL.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vivisaurus
vivisaurus
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Seems like you had a very good ursäkt. ;]

2 years ago