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  5. "Hon talar inte engelska."

"Hon talar inte engelska."

Translation:She does not speak English.

November 18, 2014



Why can't I say "She Speaks No English"?

  • 5

"She speaks no English" is not a correct translation for "Hon talar inte engelska" since this sentence could mean two things.

Either "she" can't speak English, or she is simply not speaking English at the moment. Since it could be interpreted in both ways we only accept "She does not speak English".

"Hon talar ingen engelska" would be a perfect translation for "She speaks no English".


Does inte negate engelska or talar?


It negates the verb talar


A fine point, but as a native British English speaker, I would say that 'She speaks no English' and 'She does not speak English' are interchangeable in common usage. If wishing to convey that she is not speaking English at the moment, 'She is not speaking (in) English' would be used.


Sorry but this is looking at it backwards. "She speaks no English" is one of the (several) correct translations of this Swedish sentence, and should be accepted. The fact that there are one or several other, and perhaps better ways of expressing that English in Swedish is not a reason do disallow the answer. It's particularly inappropriate since we are at such an early stage, and "ingen" has not been introduced yet.

  • 5

But allowing "She speaks no English" gives the misleading impression that this is a good translation of this phrase, which it isn't. We are very liberal when it comes to translations where there are no "perfect" translations. But in this case "Hon talar inte engelska" and "She does not speak English" are perfect translations. Therefore, we are not liberal.

You say that ...the fact that one or several other, and perhaps better ways of expressing that English in Swedish.... But this does not really hold either. If we listen to the radio and I ask Does she speak English? you wouldn't answer She speaks no English.

The fact that "ingen" has not yet been introduced does not change anything as we always want to teach the best way of saying something.


Well I disagree that it gives the impression that the translation is good (which I would not claim), just that it is good enough, given the stage we are at. And arguments involving an invented context for the translation of a question for which for which there is none are not valid. Duolingo is littered with examples of less-than-optimal answers being accepted even where 'perfect' translations exist. Forgive me being blunt, I am very grateful that this course exists and cognizant of the effort expended by you and others. And I am also closer to agreeing with you than my reply would suggest :)


I think this is making things a bit too complicated. Since we've got a situation where the two languages actually correspond pretty perfectly: "Hon talar inte svenska" = "She does not speak/is not speaking Swedish", and "Hon talar ingen svenska" = "She speaks no Swedish" there's no need to mix these two expressions.

  • 5

It is always difficult in cases like these and we have discussed it in the team. Our conclusion was that the translation isn't "good enough" and that it therefore should not be accepted. Everybody will of course not agree on this, but we have to make decisions and stick to them.

I know that there are loads of bad accepted answers on Duo, but that does not mean that we should be lazy and give in.


one should not get comfortable learning a new language in a "wrong" way, just because one doesn't know any better.... that's why one should take any corrections, to improve right from the start!


Well since we are beating this to death, I would like to point out that the accepted translation "She does not speak English." means that she peaks NO English. At least as an American speaks it. It never means that she is capable but is not speaking it at the moment. If you used it that way it would immediately mark you as a non-native speaker (in the U.S. and in my opinion). For that we must say "She is not speaking English." (present tense) or "She was not speaking English." (past tense). This leaves unsaid whether she is capable of speaking English or not. But by all the arguments put forth so far "She speaks no English." and "She does not speak English." are suffering the same meaning. If the Swedish is actually ambiguous on this point so that the phrase can mean either then we should look for a translation which has the same ambiguity or we should accept both meanings (in my opinion).


Because it would translate into "hon talar ingen engelska"


because it does not sound good. It sounds better as "She does not speak English".


Thats an incorrect sentence. That indicates that no English is a language


It's a perfectly fine sentence. The word "no" can mean the opposite of "any amount more than nothing", which is the case here.


Quite a rare sentence to hear in Sweden.


Why cant it be 'she do not speak english'?


In English, third person singular (he, she, it) subjects get a special verb form ending with -s. Like, I read, you read, they read but She reads. For do, that form is does. I do, you do, we do, they do but he, she, it does.


And other users, please don't keep downvoting this when it's already at the bottom of the page! A lot of our users aren't native speakers of English and I think we might as well have explanations about things in English grammar too. Why not learn two languages at the same time?


This is the most useful way of learning with Duolingo, perhaps. You choose the course of your target language and learn the language that's also used in the country where this language is from (the language that you also need/want to learn)


Terrific explanation !


1-What's the difference among Ingen / Inget / Inga? 2- When inte comes before or after the verb? 3- Talar or tala?


ingen is for en words, inget for ett words, and inga for plural, regardless of gender.
ingen bok 'no book', inget hus 'no house', inga barn 'no children'.

In a normal Swedish sentence (a main clause that is not a question) the verb always comes in second place, and since it would be odd to start a sentence with inte, it will come after the verb. But in subclauses, inte goes before the verb.

tala is the infinitive, but talar is present tense (used for all persons: jag talar, du talar, hon talar …). The infinitive is not used directly with a subject. It is either used with another verb, like jag tycker om att läsa 'I like to read' (att läsa/to read are infinitives) or to speak about the verb action itself: det är roligt att läsa 'it is fun to read'.


Why cant I aay "she doesnt speak english" it said "she does not speak English"


If you put exactly she doesnt speak English, you should just be told you have a typo. If you put she doesn't speak English, it shouldn't complain at all. So I'm not sure what might have happened.

[deactivated user]

    Said about no Swedish younger woman ever!


    Does "cannot speak" and "doesn't speak" translate differently?


    cannot speak 'kan inte tala' and doesn't speak = talar inte.


    I believe 'kan' is the equivalent form of 'can'

    Is there any equivalent for 'do' as well?


    In pronouncing TALAR the stressed syllable is 'ta' (second-to-last), in pronouncing ENGELSKA the stressed syllable is 'ska' (last), is there a tip that would let me know when I should stress the last or second-to-last?, or do I just have to "remember"


    The stressed syllable in engelska is the first, e. Generally Swedish nouns have the stress on the first or second to last syllable, (and in compound words, secondary stress on the other part of the word) but there is no hard and fast rule. If it's on the last, the word is usually a (French) loan word.

    Blehg has made some very helpful videos about Swedish pronunciation that you may want to check out: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/6502614


    What does the 'talar inte' actually mean; is it a phrase in itself, because I presumed 'inte' was like 'in', so I translated ''She doesn't speak in English''. Can anyone help?


    Literally, it means 'She speaks not English', but in English you use the construction with the verb do with negations, instead of just adding the negation like we do in Swedish. So you say She does not speak English instead.


    It litrerally means


    What do you mean? :)


    You put "litterally it means" and i beleive its "it litterally means"


    It's actually spelled literally with just one t and I chose that word order because of the contrast with what follows: literally it means that, but... Maybe I should add a comma though.


    Both ways are fine, there's just a small difference in meaning – they fit in different contexts. :)


    It might just be how you say it... I would userly say "it literaly means" but you say it the other way around with "literaly it means" :) and lol i spelled it wrong 2 times in a row....


    Is "inte" like "not" and/or "no"? Can I use it to answer a yes/no question? I ask that because my native language is portuguese and we only have one word for no or not.


    Inte is like 'not' and nej is like 'no'.


    Why does it use the verb talar for speaking rather than pratar which seems a lot more common when you are in Sweden?


    pratar is a more colloquial word but I don't share your impression that it would be more common in this case – the standard way to say you speak a language is to use the word talar, although pratar is also ok.


    Why doesnt: She doesn't speak english work in this?


    It's an accepted answer. Might have been some glitch.


    It should, if it doesn't


    How are you supposed to recognize the difference between "Hon" for a female vs a male?


    Hon always means she. He is han


    She didn't speak english is why incorrect???


    didn't speak is past tense so that would be pratade inte
    pratar inte is present tense so that's doesn't speak


    Talar and inte can mean she does/ doesn't speak blah blah blah. But how am I able to know in n which way ot uses them??


    What do you mean?


    "talar inte" means "doesn't/don't speak". So "talar" means "speak" and "inte" means "not".


    There was not a single tab that said "does" or "not" in my case.


    So it is used just like ikke in Norwegian?


    Yeah ikke and inte are used the same way


    I write don't!!! Why its not the same ???!!!!


    English uses "doesn't" for he, she, and it, and "don't" for everybody else.


    Why i couldent say; she dose not speak english.


    Doesn't is the same that does not


    I got it right and it said i got it wrong


    Pronunciation of "talar" is unclear


    Why not i can't say he doesn't speak English? Does not is the same as doesn't


    Yes, but "she" isn't the same as "he".


    Why can't i say she doesn't speak english?


    If that wasn't accepted, there was a bug.


    She must be a foreigner, I believe almost all Swedes speak English :)


    "He doesn't speak English" is wrong?


    Yes, hon is "she" and han is "he".


    Does not and doesn't is completely same.


    Yes, and they're supposed to both be accepted everywhere. Duolingo creates the contracted versions automatically.


    Why i can't say 'she doesn't speak Swedish'?


    Because the sentence says engelska, not svenska. :)


    Duolingo is getting more frustrating everyday: Today I did several lessons totalling more than 100 xp however only 20xp were credited. what is happening here?


    I have no idea, but that sounds incredibly annoying. Unfortunately, you're in a random Swedish sentence thread, which isn't a very good place for finding advice. I would recommend posting in the troubleshooting forums instead: https://forum.duolingo.com/topic/647


    i wrote "doesn't" and it didn't passed


    That's definitely accepted. We have loads of error reports for people writing "Swedish" instead of "English", though - so I'm guessing you had a minor error like that. :)


    Why isn't 'she doesn't speak swedish' acceptable?


    Because the sentence says engelska, not svenska. :)


    Ok. Should have read the sentence properly. Apologies


    No sweat. :)

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