"Maybe he speaks English."

Translation:Måske snakker han engelsk.

August 26, 2014

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If a sentance starts with adverb, the verb and subject are inversed. Word order is Adv, Verb, Sub

  • 2823

V2 order, like German?


Wyqtor, indeed. Danish is a Northern Germanic language, very closely related to German.


I'm glad I am German haha


Tak. That explains why I feel it's likr German! I wasn't crazy after all lol


General confusion, still?
Danish is a language of the so-called "V2" group. That means that in statements the verb is always in the second position. Usually you go for a Subject-Verb-Object-Adverbial order like in English, but if you want to put emphasis on a different part, you can put that in the front, then the verb, then the subject:

  • Han snakker dansk med mig i dag. - He speaks Danish with me today.
  • Dansk snakker han med mig i dag. - It's Danish what he speaks with me today.
  • Med mig snakker han dansk i dag. - With me does he speak Danish today.
  • I dag snakker han dansk med mig. - Today he will speak Danish with me.


I am Danish and i failed this one.


Ooo thank you. Lol. Makes me feel better.


So how did u do it?


Word by word works as well, in this case. This shouldn't be wrong.


Thank you for helping me not feel so bad!


Who says "snakke dansk" in Denmark. I never heard it...


Everybody. I'm a native Dane...


Syntax warning lol, is the verb before the pronoun?


I don't understand, I thought verb before pronoun was for questions.


I am confused about this too. The only thing that I can reason to myself is that since the "maybe" indicates uncertainty, you have to use that construction. I'd love to hear an explanation from someone who knows what they're doing!


No, this is not the reason. See the great explanation by Ryagon IV on this same page.


Same as irenedml. I thought that "snakker han engelsk" or "taler han engelsk" was in question form, and "han snakker engelsk" or "han taler engelsk" was acceptable as a statement. Maybe the måske changes the layout.


Sounds a bit like German or Dutch where you simply put the verb in the second position. So due to "måske" being the first word, "han" becomes the third.


you invert the verb and the subject after words such as måske, and other time-telling words such as nu, og så, i morgen, i går, etc.


Yes, but the reason for that is as explained by MathLing above, I believe.


Where is this syntax and word order explained?? Are we to just guess?


Duolingo is not big on explanations but just likes to throw you in and have you figure it out for yourself. The forum comments here are usually more helpful (hint hint), and if you don't see an answer to your question, you're welcome to ask one on your own.


Nu har jeg talt dansk i 44 år, den korrekte oversættelse af denne sætning er: "Han taler måske Engelsk."


Det er også en korrekt oversættelse. Der er ikke noget galt med den oversættelse som Duo præsenterer her.


Det der er helt galt er at '' Han taler måske engelsk'' bliver opfattet som fejl.


Relating this to the languages i know, the correct grammar is akin more to Dutch than to English. It got me, the English grammar sounded more intuitive to me here. I learned something!


Yes. Like most Germanic languages, Danish is a V2 language, meaning the verb appears at the second position of the sentence, which is not necessarily after the subject like English does it.


yes like most grrmanic


as someone who is native to the Netherlands, this sentence should have a question mark!!! I was so confused until I finally figured that out.


What is the difference between "snakker" and "siger"? Like, I get that "snakker" is "to speak" and "siger" is "to say", but I would have thought they were interchangeable.


Taler? The correction said taler... whatevs... I'll get this!


You're excused. In my opinion snakker should be changed with taler all the way. A person taler, a parrot snakker, if you get my point? It's common/poor language.


I know for a fact the Norwegian word "kanskje" can be treated as short for "det kan skje at", in which case obviously the inversion is dropped. Can you similarly treat måske as short for "det må (godt) ske at" and therefore say "Måske han snakker engelsk"?


I think that is reasonable. It would definitely work in a Danish wording. Actually it is the official translation stated above, except for the order of the words. If the duolingo staff is really insisting on being very accurate grammatically then the word order is of essence but in daily use your sentence can easily be both used and heard in practice.


How should I know the right order ? :/


How do I show attention to the accents?


Id really like to know. It keeps coming up. Did I miss something ?


It might refer to the 'å' in måske. But it's not exactly an accent. If you write maske instead, it means "mask" or "tissue".


In general there are no (or at least very few) accents in Danish. But we have three additional letters æ Æ, ø Ø and å Å. You need to look elsewhere for additional support...


Verb inversion after initial adverb? I'm guessing we'll get inversion in subordinate clauses too?


Actually, not really. Unless you're keen on placing an object or adverb in the front of a subordinate clause, you'll have the usual subject-verb-object order there. But there are still some word order shenanigans afoot. Particularly, if the subordinate clause comes first, the main clause will experience subject-verb inversion:

  • Da skuespilleren begyndte at synge, begyndte jeg at græde. - When the actor started to sing, I started to cry.

Also if you have a relative clause, a verb-associated adverb will be placed in front of the verb, unlike in a main clause:

  • Jeg kan ikke forstå det. - I cannot understand that.
  • Det er noget som jeg ikke kan forstå. - That is something that I cannot understand.


If I translate "Maybe he speaks English." to "Måske han snakker engelsk." isn't this correct? Duolingo suggests correct solution as "Måske snakker han engelsk." Please share thoughts. Thank you


Pallavi, have you read the other comments here? Danish is a "V2" language, which means that in a statement, the verb is always in the second position of the sentence. If you put anything else than the subject in the front, the verb will appear right after that, then followed by the subject.

  • Han snakker måske engelsk.
  • Måske snakker han engelsk.
  • Engelsk snakker han måske.


So essentially, if it is a question there will be a switch between the verb and sub?


Quiahuitzi, if you're forming a yes-or-no question in Danish, the verb will come first, then the subject, like in English:

  • Snakker han engelsk? - Does he speak English?

But the sentence here isn't a question, it's a statement.


Duolingo sucks I first typed "Måske han snakker engelsk" and it was wrong and said "Måske snakker han engelsk" was the right answer. Then I typed "Måske snakker han engelsk" and it was wrong and said "Måske han snakker engelsk" was the right answer


The second one is an error, either in Duolingo or in your reading.


Lol like snakker is supposed to be in the beginning. What other words?


Bro why not måske han snakker engelsk? I mean as beginners Duo really expects us to know all the verb adjective placements in a language which we're completely new to...


This is the way Duolingo aims to teach languages. A new learner is not supposed to know it, but with repeated exposure and trial and error, are expected to suss out the reason for why an answer is not accepted. Depending on the platform you learn on there are also written explanations in the Tips section in some of the skills.
Happy learning :)


But we're punished for it with the deduction of hearts. In the Japanese course it will literally pre-type out unfamiliar or new phrasing/grammar so you can learn what they're trying to teach you without being punished for not being "all-knowing". I've also noted that if you get something wrong on your last heart, you are unable to see the correction or access the comments without paying for more hearts. The lesson just closes out completely - so much for "learning" =/


This would have been a great pre-lesson tip. I'm grumpy I had to loose a heart in order to learn about changing the verb placement for the first time.


I keep messing with this one :/

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