"He does not speak Swedish."

Translation:Han talar inte svenska.

November 17, 2014

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It seems like no one in this lesson speaks Swedish. I'm not alone :D


Hej, jag talar svenska!


I can understand that, but IDK all of Swedish (Svenska).


Is this common to use the phrasing of "One can not... (language)"? I've only come across "Man talar inte... (språk)". Hope my question makes sense.


"Kan" can also be defined as "know" in certain situations. So, "Han kan inte svenska" actually translates to "He does not know Swedish." "Talar" and "Pratar" can also be used in this situation, but they translate directly to "talk" or "speak". "Han pratar inte svenska" means "He doesn't speak Swedish."


"Han" means "he." This translates as "He speaks not Swedish," i.e., "he doesn't speak Swedish."


I think he is asking if we can use the Swedish word "man" as an indefinite personal pronoun, like we do in German.


i think "man talar inte" is used more for a country or a people, like "man talar inte svenska i USA"


What's the difference between talar and pratar?


"Prata" is used all the time, while "tala" is formal only (and a bit oldfashioned).


tala is definitely not formal only, but it's getting there. The youngest generation virtually doesn't use it at all, even though it is still quite common only a generation or two up.


It's been considered oldfasshioned for around 50 years... Swedes 50 years old and younger normally won't use it except for stating that they know a specific language, but the word is used a bit more in writing.


I'm sorry, but that's simply not true at all. Where did you get that information?


Because I'm native, have been living in the country for over 40 years, been to school in the country for 12 years + 11 years in the university - and happen to have a mother who has been teaching Swedish in the Swedish high school since the mid 60s (still working at the age of 75). I have quite a few older (native) friends and relatives in the southern parts of the country (Borlänge and Stockholm being the ones currently living the furthest northward, but four grew up around the arctic circle). My grandmother sometimes said things like "Vem talar till mig", but she was 105 years old when she passed away 18 months ago (and most of the time even she would use "prata" instead of "tala"). Taking my time going through the Swedish lessons in Duo to try to give some answers to questions here on the forum, but perhaps you'd prefer if I didn't say anything? Just thought a native might be able to shed some light here and there. Sorry for trying to help.


You can tala svenska, tala ned till någon, tala till publiken, tala i telefon, tala med chefen, etc. etc.

I wrote this in another thread a few days ago:

It used to be a matter of style, with prata being colloquial and tala proper. The current trend seems to be that tala is approaching a status of oldfashioned in a generation or two. Right now, you could honestly often use them interchangeably, but some - especially youth - will consider tala somewhat formal.

As you can see, I don't entirely disagree with you - but it's definitely wrong to say that tala is "formal only", and it's not strictly old-fashioned either.

[...] but perhaps you'd prefer if I didn't say anything?

No, of course not. You've posted quite a lot of good comments, and I'm appreciative of that. Most of your posts have been nothing but helpful.

But you've also posted some thing that are clearly incorrect - like your claim that Swedish doesn't have articles, or the one about there being no rules for verb conjugation in Swedish, or that Swedish doesn't have genders. This kind of advice is directly detrimental to learners.

To be honest, you should consider what your limits are in regards to how well you can teach your language. Your input as a native is for the most part valuable, and informative - but you are lacking knowledge of the grammar, and it's occasionally affecting your post quality negatively.


Good question, What's the difference?


Basically, tala = speak, and prata = talk. But there's considerable overlap, just as in English.


tack så mycket :)


The position of talar and inte cannot be interchanged? How does it make a difference?


It's called the v2 rule - the verb needs to go in second position in normal sentences.


You have to put "inte" after the verb in normal sentences, but in a subsentence (like "Han är tyst, då han inte talar svenska") it has to be in front of the verb. This is a rule that most Swedes don't know, but it's still a valid rule.


Kan?? I havent learned that word yet!


"Han kan inte svenska" - he can't Swedish? Is this just a set phrase where you can just assume the speaking part since you're talking about a language?

I'm also assuming "kan" is an irregular verb since it doesn't end in "r". Is it still "jag kan", "vi kan" etc? I've only just reached the verb section of the tree and haven't come across it yet - only as a correct alternative to "han talar inte svnska". I'm having a lot of vocab crop up for the first time in these "select all correct translation" questions and lose a heart because I haven't learnt it yet.


Han kan inte svenska would be similar in meaning to "he doesn't know Swedish."


Oh yeah, maybe kan isn't the word for 'can', but for 'know' (think 'kennen' in German) which agrees with what calhob8 was saying (Calvin and Hobbes 8??). Although maybe you already figured out what kan is...


My German is REALLY rusty, but I think that's a good example of one way of using the word "kan". It does also mean can, as in capable of. Any toddler will angrily tell you: "jag kan själv!!!" translated to "I can do it myself". Yes, Calvin and Hobbes for sure, which is actually Kalle och Hobbe in Swedish :)


In old fashioned English we had the verb to ken or to know. Kan is a cognate for ken showing our common language roots.


Yes 'kan' is an irregular verb. The infinite form(I'm not sure if it's called that in English) is 'kunna', the past tense is 'kunde' and in the perfect form (again, don't know if that is English but when it's used like "I have been able to do smt") is 'kunnat'


Nice Cosima profile picture. :)


I said "han kan inte prata svenska" but it said "han kan inte svenska" which does not make sense to me.


I don't think there's anything wrong with your answer, I'm not a native though. In swedish 'kan' can be sometimes used like 'know' in English. This is the case you are having in here with the sentence 'han kan inte svenska'. If I were to translate the sentece into English it would literally translate to 'He can't swedish' but you can't say that in English so it's translated to 'he doesn't speak Swedish'


here is a rule for the verb in Swedish language the verb must take the second position mostly even when you build a negative sentence for example: Jag kan pratar svenska and Jag kan pratar inte svenska for those who got confused with ''kan'' its a helping verb which means it must come before the verbs like English


A cousin I have in Sweden says that pratar is used more commonly, and that talar is more formal, as in a speech.

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