"An elephant and a crab"
Translation:En elefant och en krabba
When is it "en [animal]" and when "ett [animal]"? At first I got the impression the English "an" equates to the Swedish "en" and the English "a" to the Swedish "ett", but that doesn't seem to be the case here. What are the rules regarding "en" and "ett"?
There is actually a way...
you see, some words for animals that doesnt exist in sweden are barrowed from different languages, primarily french and dutch, and if the word that we borrowed ended with a vocal
then the word becomes en, in unity with the original rules where all nouns that ended with vocals were common and all nouns that didnt were neutral
so lion for example has never had an a or an e in the very end so we say "ett lejon"
i hope that helped a little bit
Well... you're not wrong, and I'm glad you posted. It's an interesting piece of etymology. I don't really see how language learners would be helped by knowing that, but still. :)
For the polyglots among us who may be able to recognize when a word comes from another language, this at least serves as a helpful hint! And yes, if nothing else, it is definitely interesting.
Yes i know it doesnt help all that much now because we have swallowed so many vowels from the ends of words but.. umm, now you know :)
They are mostly completely random, and you have to learn each one by heart. Unlike in English, it has nothing to do with vowel sounds. A good hint is that humans and animals are almost always en-words, but after that, it's mostly arbitrary.