"A child"

Translation:Ett barn

November 17, 2014



So how does ett barn square with the "double system" mentioned in the notes?

When talking about people, we use the natural gender (he and she) but when we aren't talking about humans, you have to look at the grammatical gender. Swedish words belong either to the en-words [...] or to the ett-words [...]

Is a child not considered human, or is it that simply every noun (whether human or not) belongs to either the en-group or ett-group? Also, would you refer to the child as "det" or as "hon/han"?


Barn is actually just one of those pesky exceptions to the en-for-humans rule. I'm not sure about your second question, but I assume you would use hon/han if you were talking about a specific child?


I was wondering if this means "a child" then how do you say "the child"?


So its child=barn, The child=Barnet, Children=Barn... I guess


Yes, the singular and plural forms of "child" are the same. The children = barnen


When talking about a specific child you use han, hon, hen or det. I hate the hen word myself and never use it, but any of them would work in theory.


The German uses Das Kind -- The (neutral) child as well. I think it has to do with the Medieval concept of children as non-adults, and because of the poor medical condition at the time, they are often too vulnerable to escape death before coming of age. It is thus more emotionally safe to assume in the first place that they are things rather than investing too much an effort and receiving too harsh a result.


In Russian we also have a neutrel gender word for a child - [dit'ja], neither a boy nor a girl. In Slavic culture children wore a same clothes, boys and girls, long shirts, until the iniciation and giving a real name, not a nickname. So they were a neutral gender - it =) Excuse my English - it is not so good as it should (and could) be.


Your English is fine aside from a few wrong articles (it's to my understanding that they don't have articles in Russian, so you just say "World is good place" rather than "the world is a good place")


we say it more like "World -- good place", we don't have "is/are" either.


It could also just be that "child" can be both male and female. In Dutch it's the same.

Small comment on your idea that medieval people were emotionally detaching themselves from their children. I studied medieval culture and the daily life of people back then and I must say, they were as devastated by the loss of their children as we are now. It's not because child death rates were higher then that they didn't have the same emotional relation with them as we now do.

Anyway, not in topic :)

  1. Are you a Dutch speaker? I would love to hear more on the comparison. Another point to counterargue is that German "Madchen (girl)" is also grammatically neutral because of the neutral ending "-chen", not because of girls can be either male or female. And in general Germans seem to be iconoclastic in defining their words' "gender", didn't know if Dutch is the same.

//******// On Medieval

  1. I must admit that I am as foreign as an "easterner" can be on this subject. I mean, in ancient China, we have similar concepts. For instance, we believe that naming children "cheap" is a good way to trick death gods to leave them alone. Even these days, after all those years of communist revolutionary movements, you still hear names like "second dog", "big hammer" etc. everywhere in the countryside. Maybe it is not totally impossible that this is the case in the europe too?


Same goes to Latvian. We use the word Bērns to indicate a child as a being, but You could add viņš/viņa (he/she) in the sentence to push it in a gender category. BTW in the developement of Latvian language is many centuries Germans and Swedes influenced us because they were ocuppying this region also developing it. I know German from my childhood it's my first language despite being a Latvian. And that's why Swedish is harder than it should be. I constantly try to say something German or Latvian like the word Skola (school) is the same in Swedish as in Latvian but sounds different. (Sorry for my English it's my 4th language)


It's very interesting this "neutrality" of gender children have in different languages and cultures. In Portuguese, since we don't have neutral gender, we use female word "criança" to say child, "a/the child" is "uma/a criança", respectively, independent if is a boy or a girl.


I think Dutch and German it is just a gender thing, because children can be both female and male we use "het".


For girl in Dutch (meisje), we use also 'het'. That's because it's a diminutive: het meisje. The augmentative would be a 'de-woord': de meid.


Exactly. BTW, was Vermeer trying to be more affectionate by using meisje? I don't know if the name of the painting is attached by later generations.



I am learning, so my reply is my own "musing": Although "child" is indeed "human", child is neuter. As such, I would anticipate (not having learned) that hon/han would not apply.


Where do I find these notes?


If you learn on a pc, below the lessons. They aren't visible in the mobile DuoLingo app.


So i put in Et Barn but it says incorrect and should be Et Unge... what is Unge? it has never showed up before


If you pick the wrong article, the machine unfortunately thinks the easiest way to fix it is to pick the noun that goes with that article instead of changing the article. It's ett barn but en unge (more colloquial).


Wow. I learn so much reading the comments.


I like this word because it reminds me of the Scottish word for child, which is also barn. A wee barn!


Yep. Works for me. And they say it up in the North that way too, in the UK. As 'barn', similar to the Scots 'bairn'.


what is the difference between "en" and "ett", and how do you know which one to use?


It's irregular and has to be learned with the word.


How does the "r" sound in swedish? Sometimes it seems rolled like Spanish and sometimes growled like English


Stick to rolling every r as a starter. There are variations, but rolling the r is never wrong.


"A child" translation "att barn". Yet, it's not accepting that, but saying "en unge". I have no idea where the unge came from...


If you pick the wrong article, the machine unfortunately thinks the easiest way to fix it is to pick the noun that goes with that article instead of changing the article. It's ett barn but en unge (more colloquial).


I'm confused. My answer should be correct. A child is en/ett barn instead it show en unge. What was that mean?


If you pick the wrong article, the machine unfortunately thinks the easiest way to fix it is to pick the noun that goes with that article instead of changing the article. It's ett barn but en unge (more colloquial).


I totally dont get the difference between 'ett' and 'en'.


En is the common gender indefinite article, while ett is the neuter gender indefinite article. Swedish used to have three grammatical genders, a long time ago (like German still does), but at some point the masculine and feminine genders merged into a "common" one. Mind you, grammatical genders are not necessarily related to natural (biological) genders, so knowing which gender a noun has is often arbitrary and needs to be memorized.


Is there a reson why mine corrected me to En unge, instead of Ett barn?


Yes, if you pick the wrong article, the machine unfortunately thinks the easiest way to fix it is to pick the noun that goes with that article instead of changing the article. It's ett barn but en unge (more colloquial).


So if i were talking to a swede and said en barn, would they still know what i was talking about?


Yes but they'd know you aren't very good at Swedish also


Why can't we use -en- in the place of -ett- . Thanks to answer me!


Each noun has a specific ending. They are either 'en' or 'ett' words. Some do have both - but not many. You just have to memorize them. There's a better explanation here: http://blogs.transparent.com/swedish/en-or-ett/


Its telling me i am wrong because it should be et urne


You have a few typos there … en unge is a colloquial word for 'a child' that may be shown to you if you type en instead of ett here – it's ett barn.


I just got a really weird error. I typed "en barn" for my answer, (I know I was incorrect), but the answer I was returned was "en unge". What is that?? I grabbed a screenshot...


It's the machine being stupid. en unge is a colloquial word for 'ett barn', a bit like 'a kid'. It's an accepted answer. Now, since the machine is stupid, it thinks the easiest way of fixing your mistake when you put "en barn" is to keep the article and change the word into one that goes with that article. I guess we don't need to worry about clever machines taking over the world just yet.


Can't it be ett barn?


Is it correct to spell ettbarn without space?? Duolingo doesn't seem to correct that.


Now why is this ett and not en? And where is what used?


Why not ' en barn '?


why not en barn-- a child is not human?

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