"Mannen läser dess tidning."

Translation:The man reads its newspaper.

November 18, 2014

This discussion is locked.


I put "the man reads his newspaper" and the friendly folks making this course added, "we know this is a strange sentence" in explaining my error. :)


Aw, it doesn't do that any more.


For example, the man is reading its [the town's/the hotel's/whatever you're talking about's) newspaper.


I think this sentence should be left in as is. The English and the Swedish are accurate translations of each other. And that is what matters, not whether the sentence is weird or unusual. Don't let your preconceptions blind you! This type of sentence keeps us on our toes.


Have to say, I like that the construction is not always as one would expect as it forces me to learn rather than to take a guess at the answer. No point learning half the words and not even bothering to look at the others. Great job guys.


It puts the lotion on its skin


lol! Glad I wasn't the only one that thought that ;)


Shouldn't it be: Mannen läser sin tidning?


Mannen läser sin tidning - the man is reading his own newspaper
Mannen läser hans tidning - the man is reading someone else's newspaper
Mannen läser dess tidning - "dess" is refering to something else, e.g. an organization

"Dess" is typically used in the title of an academic paper: "Sjöfarten och dess påverkan på havsmiljön" (On shipping and its impact on the marine environment)


This comment helped immensely.


An organizations newspaper...that brings sense to the sentence.


Yeah but, as a stand-alone sentence out of context, everyone will assume the intent is for "his" newspaper rather than "its".


Agreed. It needs context or the pronoun should change.


We'd change this if we could, there's just no way right now. But it's on our list for when we get the opportunity to fix things in the tree.


What concernes companies like IKEA, I would treat it as a plural in Swedish, so It would be: "Jag tycker om att läsa deras katalog" (their catalogue, not singular 'dess'), here singular 'dess' would sound weird.


“Ikea advertises often. I like reading its catalogue.”


seconded. while i think it's important to teach us this pronoun, I think it might need to be moved to a place where we have enough vocabulary to give the sentence a bit more context?


I don't think it should be changed or removed. This sentence helps us learn that that "dess" is always related to an "it". Nearly everybody gets it wrong first, but that's a good thing. We learn the most from having our mistakes corrected, not from getting things right the first time.


But we're not supposed to be guessing what sentences mean based on our assumptions, we're supposed to be learning what the words actually mean and translating


But for those who need more information, we have enough language now to add some. Maybe the sentence could be "restaurangen har en tidning. Mannen läser dess tidning"

Then we're still practising that construction, and people might be more comfortable with the meaning.

I like it as it is, it challenges me to really learn the words and not guess, but everyone learns differently.


Tack så mycket, man!


im late, but this comment helped me so much with understanding it. tack så mycket, helen! <3


Maybe the newspaper was originally meant for the man's dog, and not for him. So he is not reading "his" newspaper, but "its" (the dog's) newspaper!


It is not the best phrase to be able to translate so that the result is that the newspaper does not belong to the man, but to another person or organisation. It is very difficult to arrive at English translation without a more detailed sentence providing information as to who owns the newspaper. The logical English for the given Swedish is "the man is reading this newspaper" or a different sentence where "the man" is replaced with something like "the members".


this newspaper = denna tidning. But aside from that, I agree with you, that this sentence ought to be replaced.


Referring back to a colour might be easier to make this understandable. Because a colour is always part of something. You wouldn't say 'She doesn't like her colour'. It would almost always be referred to as 'its' in the case of a colour: 'she doesn't like its colour'.


Especially since we are missing part of the information to make sense of the original sentence...


So I would assume: "Barry found out that GeneriCo had over 50,000 employees, he was reading its magazine." is an example of the use of "dess".


So, I've gathered from comments that the newspaper isn't "his", but why can't it be "their" newspaper?


their = deras


For some reason this sentence reminded me of The silence of the lambs. It will put the lotion in the basket!


Okej, men det skulle bli... Den/det lägger krämen i korgen/hinken! Jag är svensk och tycker själv att denna mening är lite ovanlig. Självklart rätt, men inget man använder i dagligt tal.


It's funny the places people go when considering this sentence. I agree that "the library's" is a good explanation for why the possessive pronoun in this sentence would read as "its".

Personally, I imagined "its" as "the restaurant's", as in: "He walked into the restaurant and, while waiting to be seated, read its free newspaper."

Very few in the discussion seem to immediately attach to an interpretation along such lines.


You need something better than that stupid sentence! How about; "hunden letar efter dess leksak." The dog searches for its toy.


Funny you should say that, we have a sentence where a dog is called "it" and people are complaining about that as well...

That said, I agree that there are better ways of teaching this word. I expect it to change for the next tree version.


sarah, I believe that if it were the dogs own toy, then the Swedish would use "sin":
Hunden letar efter sin leksak.

In your proposed sentence using "dess", the dog is searching for a toy belonging to some unnamed non-person. For example, the dog is searching for the company's toy, etc.


Maybe the man reads the town's newspaper, its newspaper


Or maybe the newsstand of the the town :D


Surely if you had to translate it to " The man reads their newspaper" it still refer to a 3nd party? "Its " refers to an object which cant be possesive where "their" refer to another person of organisation?


I understand the transition, but this is probably the most extreme example of missing context I've thus far encountered on Duolingo. I have found the occasional lack of context to be the biggest challenge to learning in this format.


》translation《 not transition.


Lived in sweden all my life, never heard anyone use the word dess. It would make more seen if it would have been "mannen läser hans tidning" than "dess". I have heard of "dessa" but never dess. I belive it is either a dialect thing or something else


dess is a very common Swedish word. It is not dialect. Honestly, I find it very hard to believe that you've never heard anyone use it, though it's more common in text.

Note that dess doesn't mean the man here. It means that the newspaper belongs to some other thing, like a library, for instance. Hence, you can't use sina or hans.


Jag är född och uppvuxen i Sverige, med helt svenska rötter och jag kan förstå Joel98B eftersom "dess" är ett uttryck som sällan används idag. Det ett talesätt man använde oftare förr i tiden, men inte lika ofta nuförtiden. Fast ditt exempel är ett väldigt bra tips på hur man ska förstå hur ordet ska användas. Jag kom hit för att se om folk verkligen förstår ordet "dess".

Jag skulle nog aldrig säga denna mening. Snarare "Mannen läser bibliotekets tidning" eller "Mannen läser skolans/företagets/myndighetens tidning".

Däremot använder man ordet så här. Jag förstår dess innebörd. I understand it's meaning.


I've noted here and/or elsewhere that I don't like the specific sentence either. I'm just opposed to the idea that a native Swede would have never heard of the word.


Not a very good sentence. It should say the man reads his newspaper. I suspect a typo here!


Diana, you are mistaken. Read the other comments on this page!


The sentence "The man reads its newspaper" does NOT work in English without first providing context. You cannot be expected to use the possessive for "its" without knowing what "it" is.

Duolingo should have provided something like this:

"The man reads the newspaper." "The man reads that newspaper." "The man reads their newspaper." "The man reads his newspaper."

OR given a more extensive sentence in English?

The newspaper has to belong to someone or something. If you want to say "its newspaper" you have to specify like a city or an establishment.

For example:

"I love The Daily Planet, printed in Metropolis. It's the pinnacle of journalism because it has the most reliable coverage of Superman! I know I don't even live in that city but I read its newspaper."

"I don't live in that city but I read its newspaper" *


Have to agree with other comments about this being a really weird sentence. Correct. But unneccesarily weird.


VERY strange use of the word "dess". Better examples: Vad tycker du om dess nya utformning? Innan dess fanns endast smala gångvägar. Alla ska vi dö men tills dess ska vi leva.


Very strange use case for the word "dess". Better would be to use one of these examples:

Vad tycker du om dess nya utformning? Innan dess fanns endast smala gångvägar. Alla ska vi dö men tills dess ska vi leva.


Sure, the sentence is much better off replaced by a more suitable one.

That said, two of your examples are actually a very different sense of dess, which I think does display nicely why it's so hard to teach well.


Åhhh, väldigt bra förslag på hur dess kan användas. Jag helsvensk tycker till och med Mannen läser dess tidning är lite underlig, men dina förslag är ju superbra förslag så att folk förstår. Men jag tror att meningen med den här ovanliga meningen är att man ska göra fel, diskutera och förstå hur dess ska användas på rätt sätt.


since we have a highly educated duck from Norway, a boy and a revengeful bear from Denmark, it's not strange that the man reads a newspaper of an animal lmao.


This is super confusing to me still, after I read the comments. Not the reason"dess" is being used, but why duo would use this word without adressing it first. I was never previously showed what this word was until level 4 of the lesson. But now that I know its not to hard to understand. I know there are many examples, but here are the ones I think of: "dess" refers to: the press', the school's, the dog's (lol).


Good if you are confused and start reading the comments. I have learned Spanish for two years only through Dúo. And it has been a strougle sometimes, but through other peoples comments I've learned the hard things in the language. If all the sentences would have been easy I wouldn't have learned so much so fast, I think.

I am 100% Swedish I see why people have trouble understanding "dess", but it is in conversations and comments you really learn the language the best. Best of luck everyone.


This should be changed. The sentence makes little to no sense.


On the flip side it does mean that to answer this question correctly we can only use our language skills and not our common sense.


That's what i thought, but its supposed to be a sentence referring to a previously mentioned subject with no gender. (i.e the press, the school's, the dog's)


And yes Howtomakestuff you're right about press, school and etc.


In english, newspaper and magazine are two different forms of publication. With the use of tidning, how do you know which is being spoken about?


We can use tidning for both, though I'd presume a newspaper without context.

There are also words you can use to be more specific, e.g. dagstidning = daily newspaper, veckotidning = weekly, magasin = magazine. And though tidskrift can be either, we tend to use it for magazines.


Could "The man reads its journal" also be a valid answer?


Not really, a journal isn't that synonymous with a newspaper - we might call it a journal in Swedish, even.


"Mannen läser dess tidning" müsste doch eigentlich übersetzt werden mit "the man reads his newspaper.... und nicht "its newspaper" - oder?!


Keineswegs, Dorothea. Bitte Lesen Sie diese Seite! Zum Beispiel, die Bermerkung hier von HelenCarlsson: "The man is not reading his paper, but the paper of an organization for example".

dess = its


I'm getting used to neutered men thanks to duolingo :D


No, it is not. Please refer to the many other comments in this thread.


Kolla up Dess med Deras (Plural vesus Singular)


This would never occur in English. There must be a better example!


This is a perfect example. Because it seems so strange at first, we will never forget that "dess" means "its". And indeed, it occurs in English in exactly the same situations it occurs in Swedish: when the man is reading the newspaper of some organization.


Very well stated. Have a lingot!


Jag instämmer. Mycket bra sagt! En lingot från mig också.


The man reads it newspaper = O homem lê o jornal. Ele lê um jornal e nao uma revista= He reads a newspaper and not a magazine.


I don't know how often this sentence would come up in Swedish but it would almost never occur in English.


An estimate of its probability puts it more or less on a par with the more famous sentence "My hovercraft is full of eels" that can be rendered in swedish as "Min svävare är full med ål" also an accepted translation can be "Min svävare är full med ålar".


No, maybe it wouldn't occur so often in Swedish, but that's why they made this sentence, because then everybody will comment and you will all remember the word dess. And yes it is the same in English. Uncommon but correct.

Jag är 100 % svensk.


It might be an idea to change this to "The man reads her/his newspaper" because this just sounds silly in English. Even if we were to refer to a non-gendered entity such as a newspaper company, we would be more inclined to refer to it my name. For example: The reads the New York Times (newspaper) or the "daily" newspaper..." but never "its" newspaper.


I don't dispute that it's hardly an ubiquitous phrasing, but the entire point of the exercise is to teach the word dess. It could be done in a better way, but not by changing the English into something the word doesn't mean.


Given that the word that is generally used in the same way in Dutch as it is in English, would it not be easier to simply use a phrase which works in both languages. I am sure between all of us here, we can come up with something much better. Let us know what you think.


I don't speak Dutch very well, but yes, I agree that would have been nice. I'm sure whoever is working on the next iteration of the tree is planning to replace this sentence. I know I did when I was. :)


I would humbly suggest, also considered the embarassing amount of complaints (146) on this sentence that it is just removed from the list of possible sentences and replaced with some better example of intended and possible use of "dess".


I'd have loved to have done that when I was a contributor. Unfortunately, Duolingo has a bug where, if you remove a sentence, it isn't actually removed and still turns up - but now without being editable by admins, so that translations can no longer be changed or added. Hence, removing a sentence practically serves the opposite purpose. It's a very annoying bug which has prevented quite a few immediately obvious improvements to the tree.


Does this mean, it cannot be changed at all, or we just need to wait for an update. I mean, I just had a recommended change in Swedish be accepted, so I am not sure I follow.


At the moment, the Swedish source sentence Mannen läser dess tidning cannot be changed, but English translations can be added / edited / deleted. And additional translations for the reverse "translate into Swedish" exercise can also be added / edited / deleted.

If the sentence is deleted, it still turns up in the course, but all of the listed opportunities to add / edit / delete translations of it are removed.


You wrote "at the moment"; does this mean it is possible eventually to change? If not, that seems like a rather odd set up. I say this as a former software project manager for a hospital information system. Usually, it can be done, companies just prefer to get to a certain amount of time or a collection of minor changes otherwise the effort is not really worth and I could understand this not being changed immediately. In German, this sentence would make sense because of the neutral gender. In languages like French, their speakers will have a difficult time with this over the long run.


Well, yes, if developers either fix the bug or change how sentences work, then it would be possible to change it. Hence "at the moment".

It's just that Duolingo doesn't appear to have any interest in fixing some very glaring bugs such as this one. I'd be happy to give it a go myself (or I would have been if I knew Scala), but obviously they don't and shouldn't give code access to volunteers.

Just to be clear since this has been a source of misunderstanding before: I am not actually employed by Duolingo. I just like to answer people's questions in my spare time. So whenever I say that something "can" or "can't" be fixed, I'm usually referring to the technical limitations placed on course administrators, and not to the abilities or knowledge of Duolingo's developers. Additionally, I suspect a number of them would like to make some fixes but are being prevented by management.


someone needs to correct this- no one says The man reads its newspaper


Please refer to the many other comments on this.


Not sure if this has been addressed, but having previously referred to 'the man', it is simply not possible for him (person) to be replaced by the possessive adjective 'its'. This is impossible in English, so any native speaker of English will always get this question wrong.


Jase, in the sentence here, "the man" is not being replaced by "its". Rather, the "its" here refers to some non-human something that is not mentioned here, but would have been previously referred to, or otherwise made apparent if more context had been given.

So actually it is quite possible for an English speaker as well as a Swede to correctly translate this sentence. In fact, all that is necessary is to literally translate the Swedish word for word into English. (If you do this, you don't even have to know what the sentence means and you will get it right.)

The problem many have here is that they cannot surrender the idea that the possessive pronoun here, "dess", refers somehow to "the man". Once you resist that temptation, there is no problem whatsoever in translating exactly as DL has done.

I should add that, when it comes to context and assumptions, a Swedish speaker and an English speaker are on exactly the same footing. As the Swede Helen Carlsson said on this page 5 years ago (see near top), "one [even a Swede!] has to imagine a noun that has been mentioned earlier which "dess" is referring to".

This is NOT a case of a sentence that works in one language but not in another. Rather, it is a case of a somewhat unusual sentence appearing shorn of context, and therefore demanding some flexible thinking.


The man reads his newspaper. Once identified as a man it isn't its.


Hence, logically, the "its" doesn't refer to the man but to something else.


Nate, you are correct that things that belong to the man are his rather than its. But you have missed the point that the newspaper belongs not to the man, but to an unidentified third non-human party. Please look at the other comments on this page.

The sentences DL gives us sometimes implicitly refer to a background or context that is not expressed (since the DL format allows the presentation of only one short sentence at a time). Such DL sentences may be nonetheless valid and idiomatic.


As much as I appreciate you also taking the time to respond - in more detail than I do - to these comments, I must say that I am really looking forward to replacing this sentence in the next tree. :)


Thanks. I don't always see that you have already responded before I write my own response, as I am responding to an e-mail that I see that does not include your comment.

I agree that the DL sentence here creates a lot of confusion.


That's a weird sentence. Should be: mannen läser hans tidning
The man treats his newspaper


Please refer to the many other comments. Also, why would he treat a newspaper?

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