Your sentence means "The man reads his newspaper". But that is not what the Swedish here means. The Swedish here means "The man reads its newspaper".
In other words, the newspaper belongs not to the man, but to "it". (We do not know who or what "it" is, but we do not need to know that in order to translate the Swedish sentence into English.)
That's not really the point. It should be a completely different example at this level and then for more advanced learners this example could be brought back. As an example, the phrase "the girl" in German is das Mädchen, this is what is known as a neutral noun, this the noun girl is referred to as it. So, when a possessive pronoun is used, here to, instead of hers as in English, the possessive form would be its. My concern for this example was an unrealistic object rather than something that a newspaper would normally belong to in both cultures. Hope that helps.
Perhaps the situation in Swedish with regard to "dess" is similar to the situation in English with regard to "its".
Namely, both these possessive pronouns occur less frequently than the other (personal) possessive pronouns. When is the last time you wrote "its" (as opposed to "it's")?
Try to think of a good sentence in English that uses "its". Perhaps that same sentence could be translated into Swedish to illustrate the use of "dess".
But be careful! Remember, Swedish has the pronoun "sin" which English does not have an equivalent for. Therefore, "dess" may be rarer than "its". For example:
The child wants its milk.
Barnet vill ha sin mjölk.
No "dess" needed there!
I use "its" all the time. But you're right, it would almost always be translated by "sin". I think two sentences are necessary for "dess". The first to establish what "it" is, and the second have a different actor, so "sin" can't be used. "The man has a subscription to the New York Times. He reads its newspaper every day."
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)
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 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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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" *
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.
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.
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.
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'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.
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.
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.
I asked my husband - a writer - for his take on this, which is as follows... In good British English it is almost inconceivable that "its" would be the correct translation. The word "their" can be used for one person of unspecified gender, or for more than one person (collectively), or for something inanimate such as a café, or for a newspaper company or firm, or for a printed copy of a newspaper. Sadly, "their" is increasingly neglected, and instead we see the horrible "his or her", and now more often "her or his", when a simple "their" would be clearer - this latter example is tied to misplaced political correctness, a scourge of modern writing.
While this sentence obviously fails at its purpose, the point of it isn't to teach English but a construction in Swedish. If you use "their" for a collective noun such as a café or a library, then you'd also likely use deras in Swedish, so the "translate into Swedish" exercise would be rendered moot. However, the course is also aimed primarily at American English, which uses collective nouns much less commonly, to the extent that we regularly get complaints about us accepting translations perceived as many Americans as ungrammatical. So I completely get your point, and it's not that I disagree with it, but I'm afraid the issue with the sentence goes a bit deeper than that.
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.