"Why do you not answer?"
Translation:Varför svarar du inte?
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Svar, like many words in many languages, can play roles in various parts of speech. Throughout these last few Swedish lessons, the use of svar as both a noun and a verb has been presented.
The "infinitive" of the verb (the form commonly seen in dictionaries) of the verb meaning to answer is svara in Swedish. In this sentence svar(a) is a verb -- thus to conjugate, you add an -r to the end of the infinitive svara to obtain: svarar (simple present tense) with a meaning of to answer or respond.
In this example, a demonstrative pronoun (e.g. Varför (why)) is listed first. This is a clue that a clause involving question is likely to follow. Then the independent verb comes second. This is similar to many (but not all) English constructions involving questions. Swedish typically inverts the subject and finite verb in clauses involving questions.
Look at your question: "Why (demonstrative) is (conjugated copula "to be" verb) [...]?" This example is highly similar in construction as the Swedish question here.
My problem is that I am a well educated graduate native English speaker who has never learnt any other languages or thought much about why thing are said in English as they are. I don't know what the words infinitive and conjugate actually mean. I've learnt what definites and possessives are through this website. I feel like I need to learn about language before I try to learn another language if that makes sense. I often come on here to try and understand where I've gone wrong but I don't understand many of the answers. This isn't a complaint, just a frustration.
That is a very real problem we face. Our learners range from linguistics professors to children, and having one single explanation that fits everybody is completely impossible. This is complicated further by lesson notes not being available on all platforms, forum comments likewise, etc.
Personally, I would prefer a wiki-like system where terms can be linked so that an explanation of something could automatically point to another explanation for those who would prefer that.
To some extent, learning a different language as an adult requires a little grammar. Not a lot, mind, but simply immersing with zero prior knowledge and hoping for the best normally only really works for children. Duolingo honestly isn't the best platform in this regard.
In the long run, I have plans to create a course companion where I can do just this, but it's honestly a far way off, and I don't know if it'll come to fruition - nor when. For now, however, I and others would be more than happy to reply to any questions you might have on the grammar - high or low level doesn't matter, we just want you to learn and enjoy yourself. :)
A transitive verb takes an object such as a noun, a pronoun, or a phrase. An intransitive verb does not.
So for instance, jag svarar is intransitive because there is no object, but jag besvarar honom is transitive because it takes an object.
Some verbs may take two objects, and these are called ditransitive. For instance: "She gave me a cookie."
And many verbs can be either transitive or intransitive depending on how they're used, e.g. jag äter = intransitive ("I eat"), jag äter kronärtskockor = transitive ("I eat artichokes").
Transitivity is not always expressed in the same way in all languages, but it's a general feature of linguistics. :)
Think of it like this - naturally you'd probably say "why don't you answer", but try to convert "don't" to "do not" (which it stands for) and you'll get: "why do not you answer"... wouldn't THAT be weird?
I think it would so shifting the "you" in such case actually makes sense :)