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"Vi är flera syskon i familjen."

Translation:There are several siblings in my family.

November 21, 2014



Why does this sentence work as a possessive? I see no word indicating "our".


We generally like to use definite forms when speaking about things that are most likely our own. I've written something about this here (about 'my pocket' vs 'the pocket') and Lundgren8 has written a long post about how to speak about body parts in Swedish which is here.


On the app these links don't work :(


I wish there was a way to bookmark useful posts like these for future reference from within the app.


I think it's a more natural equivalent in English, rather than a direct translation. That said, "we are several siblings" isn't a phrase I think I've ever heard. "I have several siblings" perhaps... and the family is implied by the fact they're siblings. But I digress.


In Spanish the literall translation is fine, so the use of "There are" was confusing to me. Learning some English too! Thanks.


From my own experience, it is actually becoming more common in Swedish to refer to your own family members and partner in the definite form, especially among male speakers, and not use a possessive pronoun. I'd bet there are a lot more guys other there who refer to their girlfriend as "tjejen", than there are girls who call their boyfriend "killen". The definite is also more common when using colloquial terms, e.g. "syrran, tjejen, farsan" vs. "systern, flickvännen, fadern" (c.f. "min syster, min flickvän/tjej, min far"). I believe "familjen" enjoys a much wider usage though, when the fact that it is my family is implied by the context.


Is "vi är" always the plural of "det är"?


I think it's English that is odd in this case – for some reason We are several siblings in my family sounds wrong.


Is 'det är' the swedish version of 'es gibt' in german and 'er is' in dutch and 'hay' in spanish?


No, that would be det finns.


I don't understand how vi är is there are? Can someone explain this to me please?


I have an idea about what could be confusing!

The Swedish sentence says: Vi är flera syskon i familjen". Since we don't use the possessive pronoun before family (it would have been min familj), we have to say "vi är" or else it could be any family. (compare to : "Det är flera syskon i familjen" which could be any family).

Now to the default English translation: Here, the possessive pronoun "my" is used with family, so we already know which family we are talking about. Then, it is okey to use the neutral "There are" in the beginning.

So there are just two different ways to specify that it's my family:

Vi är... blablabla... i familjen
There are... blahblahblah... in my family

Come on now! Swedish is fun. And easy :)!


That is a nice explanation indeed!


This is a great explanation! Take my lingot ;)


I am coming back to Swedish now that I have more time & now I find it easier :3 But I just read your explanation again... Could you also say "Det finns blablablabla i familjen"? Because in English it sounds unnatural to say "We are several siblings in the family" -- that is different from "There are several siblings in our family" o_O

Is this just a Swedish thing to say?


"Det finns många syskon i familjen" is a perfectly normal sentence, but it sounds as if you are talking about another family (there is no "vi" and there is no "vår").

If you really want to say "Det finns många syskon i min/vår familj", people will of course understand what you mean :). It just sounds a bit unnatural in Swedish.


Easy? I'm not so sure :P


It doesn't literally translate to it, but it is the best english translation though. Literally it means "We are several siblings in (the) family". Think of it as "We are WITH several siblings in the family". There is not a real explanation for it, it is just a swedish thing .


So "Vi är skedan i köket" = "There are spoons in the kitchen"...? I can't even understand how it would be the slightest bit of sense in meaning "There are"...


No, "There are spoons in the kitchen" would be "Det finns skedar i köket".

The reason why the sentence above looks the way it does is because it is not possible to make a direct translation between Swedish in English.

A direct transltaion would be "We (Vi) are (är) several (flera) siblings (syskon) in (i) the family (familjen)".

So "vi är" only means "We are", nothing else.


That is what I answered and it was right... But does that not actually mean that we are several siblings of a certain family?

Can "vi är" mean "there are"? Sorry, I'm still quite confused.


We accept "we are several siblings in the family", but since it really sounds bad in English, we cannot put that as the best translation.

"Vi är" can never mean "there are" :)


Oh okay, thanks I understand that. I understand the "We are several siblings of a family" part, but there was a second correct translation suggestion that said "THERE ARE several siblings of a family" which confused me a lot because vi är wouldn't make sense to be "there are"...

Thanks, I kinda understand it now


Hmm... I cannot find that sentence among the accepted translations, so you must remember it wrong. However, we do accept quite a few translations here since there is no one perfect translation. (To be specific there are 74 accepted English answers here)


De enige reden waarom there are goed gerekend wordt is omdat dat een equivalente engelse zin oplevert. "We are several siblings..." zou gewoon geen correcte engelse zin zijn snap je? Het is puur een eigenaardigheidje van het zweeds dat niet letterlijk naar het engels te vertalen is :)


I believe we do in fact sometimes use a similar construction in English, using 'we are many' to mean "there are many of us". For example a waitress might ask "how many are you?" when seating a large group, meaning 'how many of you are there?'.


The official answer to this one reminds me of one reason why I am so grateful to the contributors for the Swedish course. I want to thank you for allowing the literal English answer to this and many other phrases in the course. I'm in several courses and this is my favorite because it is the only one I know that consistently accepts the literal english rather than insisting on a paraphrase that is typically how it MIGHT be worded in English. Thank you for trusting us to understand what the paraphrased English might normally be while accepting the literal translation. In this question, you allow me to answer using the literal, "We are many siblings in the family." THANK YOU!

Allowing me to answer with the literal translation helps me to practice the Swedish word order in my head. And that, in turn. helps me to understand MUCH better how a native Swedish speaker might word another sentence that is not covered in Duolingo and helps orient my brain to thinking in Swedish, which is the key to being able to speak the language with someone else.

I wish the Czech course was as forgiving about this because Czech has some difficult to remember word order rules that would be easier to remember if my English answer could be literal rather than paraphrased, especially when the literal English is often quite acceptable (even though it might be rare to hear). Great job, Swedish contributors! You've made this course a joy to me.


Why does the word 'flera' only translate as 'several' and not 'many' (which is much more commonly used in English, for example)?


But "several" doesn't mean "many"? Several is closer to "a few" and many is closer to "a lot".


What's great about the vocabulary-before-grammar method is that you can read a sentence like this and make sense of it without agonizing over the grammar.


Why not "Vi har flera syskon i våra familjen"?


har isn't used like that (see Arnauti above), and våra familjen reads just like its English counterpart "our the family" since possessives don't use definite forms.


Then what about "Det finns flera syskon i vår familj"?


It's not quite as good as the main answer, but it works.


In English siblings is a slightly rare word, and most people would say brothers and sisters, even though it's longer. In Swedish is syskon more natural and normal?

P.S. I have no problem with There are being the translation of Vi är.


Yes, to the point that I would probably question why someone didn't use the word if they said something else.


I understand the logic behind saying it like this, altough it is confusing when you compare it to english. I am wondering, if these sentences would also be correct: "Det är flera syskon i min familjen" "Jag har flera syskon i (min) familjen" ( Now that I type it I suppose this way you're not mentioning clearly that they are Your siblings)


They're both wrong. You can say Jag har flera syskon ('I have several siblings') and Det är flera syskon i familjen (but then it will sound like you're talking about someone else's family, not your own).


Even though Balder94 suggests adding "min"? I.e. does it still sounds unnatural to Swede's ears and in that exact case we should really stick to "vi är"? Also, are there any similar cases where we should use "vi är"? For example "there are several of us in the garden". Should it also be "vi är" here?


This one confused me, so did the explanations. I guess it just chalks up to being a Swedish thing. C'est la vie. Really a great language lesson though, thanks to all involved!


We tend to use definite forms in England too when talking about our own immediate family. "The family." I'm don't know about other English speakers in the world though


Why isnt it "We are several siblings..-"?


The literal meaning isn't very idiomatic in English, so we default to a better fit.


I thought vi meant we


It does. See HelenCarlsson's comment from 5 years ago for a good explanation of why vi is used here.


The most natural German translation for this sentence makes way more sense than the English. In German I'd say "Wir sind mehrere Geschwister in der/meiner Familie" which would be a direct translation of the Swedish sentence.


So would "De är flera syskon i familjen" work for "There are several siblings in their family"?


Ok, that's cool, but, wouldn't it be better if the app actually offered the correct translation?


Why "Vi är flera syskon i familjen" instead of "Det finns flera syskon i familjen"?

Or perhaps swedes more commonly say "we are many siblings" instead of "there are many siblings"?


"several" rather than "many", but yes, that is correct.


Vi means we and deras means there so why does duo say vi means there?


See HelenCarlsson's comment from 5 years ago for a good explanation of why vi is translated as there in this specfic use.


Can I also go like "Det finns flera syskon i familjen"


It's fine Swedish, but please refer to Helen's answer below.


Marked wrong on 'There is several siblings in my family'. Why is this so different?


"There is" is terrible English grammar. It should be "there are" when speaking using plurals. "There is" would be acceptable if sibling had been singular.


Can this sentence be said by a mother, who has several daughters? "Vi" suggests (at least for me) that the person saying the sentence is one of the sibilings, while mother is not.


It's definitely said by one of the siblings.


This is what bothers me about this, going from Swedish to English: the 'there are...' translation loses the fairly important fact that the speaker is one of the siblings, which is crystal clear in the Swedish.


"i familjen" is "in the family", not "in my family"....am I wrong?


You are not wrong. You are forgetting that it started with "vi" which is we in English which when combined with "in the family" would mean "my" in implication.


For the avoidance of doubt, can this be said by a member of the family who is not one of the siblings, or does the use of 'vi' imply that I am included in the siblings?

i.e. as a man, if I wanted to say that there are several sisters in my family, could I/would I/should I say "Vi är flera systrar i familjen."?


Vi does not mean there, someone explain...


I honestly dont care about the liguistics here, the english sentence just sounds illogical and isnt the right translation


Where is in the sentence the Word my?


Vi är - it's simply "we are". Not "there are".


wouldn't you say "Det finns flera syskon i familjen." ?


That sounds to me as if you were talking about another family. With "We are..." it is clear that I am one of the siblings.


that's because "familjen" doesn't have a possessive pronoun here, right? so is "Det finns flera syskon i min familij" right here? or we should always use vi är


It is correct, but it still sounds a bit odd, I think. Since it's my family, I am either one of the children or one of the parents. If I am one of the children, it makes sense to say "we are.. " and if I am one of the parents, I would probably talk about "my children" instead of the siblings in my family.


tusen tack! Makes sense now, it's the exact same sentence structure as my first languge


Every time I get to this question, I struggle to come up with the English version that's considered the answer. Not sure I've ever gotten it right. This time, I tried "We have several siblings".


So why would you say "vi är ..." rather than "vi har flera syskon"?


Thanks! - thought I had but I missed it.


In England we sometimes even use definite forms for immediate family members. The mother = My mother in some cases when it's obvious it's one's own mother being discussed.

[deactivated user]

    What word means "my" here??


    There is no direct translation to ''my'' as Swedes do not use a possesive pronoun before family, as I just learned also. ''Vi är'' denotes that you are talking about ''my family''. I'm guessing it is a respectful thing, as to say ''my family'' is to say that you somehow own the family instead of being a part of it. I like that idea, but not sure if I am correct...


    I have probably always said this wrong then, ''Min familj bor på Höga Kusten.'' How would I say that correctly?


    My(but not me) family lives on/at/in the High Coast. Tusen tack!


    I am still a bit lost. Could someone explain it again but different so I can grasp why Vi isn't the word We in this case?


    We do allow the literal translation "We are several siblings in the family" as well, it's just that this is a far less idiomatic way of saying the sentiment in English, so we use another way as the default translation.


    I just have a great feeling that this sentence is translated incorrectly. Those should be simple examples that don't need deep philosophy to justify them


    What do you find incorrect? I honestly don't see how you would require "deep philosophy" to have a family with several children.


    The sentence written in swedish was different than the words in english, it started with "vi" and they said the meaning was "we", there was no "we", it ended with "the family" but there was no "the". I managed to get it correct by making a meaningful sentence, but that doesn't mean it can stay like this


    Why not "we have several siblings in the family". I do not accept the change to passive from first person, not with any explanation.


    Because Swedish isn't English and doesn't use words the same way. You can choose not to accept it until the cows come home but that is the way these work in their individual languages.

    Part of the language learning process is learning to accept that literal translations are terrible and that idiomatic usage may mean you just have to accept things that seem foreign or unfamiliar because that's how they work in another language.

    If you want to get into Swedish grammar, Routledge makes 3 or 4 books that will give you an overview or complete overview in deep detail if you want that.

    But for Duo, which isn't nearly that complex, you just have to accept that English grammar and rules are not equal to Swedish grammar and rules. They evolved differently.


    My as min does not exist in Swedish sentence.Translation cold be: there are several siblings in family.


    The my is implied in the -en ending of familjen.

    see these two links for the explanation: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/6014446 https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/6094128


    Actually yes there is deras so why was that not at the start of the scentence?


    I used are instead of is and it failed, why?


    That makes no sense. The default is "are".


    Doesnt Vi är translate to We ar ? Why is We not in the options


    Shouldn't it be "We are several siblings in the family"?


    We are several siblings in the family


    My father's generation might say "we are four boys in the family". It would only be said by one of those boys, so it was different from "there are". For example Mother would not say it. So, who can say this Swedish sentence? Anyone in the family or just one of the siblings?


    Just one of the siblings, I'd say.


    I typed "We are several siblings in my family." is it correct too? It marked it correct.


    Yes, that is correct.


    Given the "vi" surely this would have to be "i am one of several siblings"? Because "there are several siblings in my family" doesn't mean the speaker is one of them, it could be the parent...


    Or both... Seems to me there could be multiple sets of siblings.


    The meaning is :we are... Why you translate there are????


    The literal meaning isn't very idiomatic in English, so we default to a better fit.

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