"Vi är flera syskon i familjen."

Translation:We are several siblings in my family.

November 21, 2014

113 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/warhymn

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rananananan

On the app these links don't work :(


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MasterBadger

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MikeDeacon

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/corinne191800

but vi translates as we.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Agustn930228

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joel__W

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DogePamyuPamyu

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelenCarlsson

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 :)!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SrMarien

That is a nice explanation indeed!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jangboo

This is a great explanation! Take my lingot ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DogePamyuPamyu

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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelenCarlsson

"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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/schneeofschnee

Easy? I'm not so sure :P


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/like_water

What makes this one confusing is the unnecessary syntactic calque from Swedish. "There are several siblings in our family" sounds bizarre in English. If it was supposed to mean "I have several siblings", that's how they should've tranlsated it, instead of this weird sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/like_water

To me, the Swedish sentence doesn't sound difficult or unnatural at all. The one in English, though, is confusing. "There are several siblings in my family" So, you have several siblings? Or does it mean there are several people in the same generation, and they all have siblings? (So, no cousins who are only children) ❤❤❤. It just sounds bizarre in English. I think if it was supposed to mean "I have several siblings", that's how it should've been translated, instead of making a calque from Swedish.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SrMarien

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 .


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DogePamyuPamyu

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"...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anrui
Mod
  • 39

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DogePamyuPamyu

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anrui
Mod
  • 39

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" :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DogePamyuPamyu

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anrui
Mod
  • 39

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)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/curiousminds

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?'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bonoetmalo

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SrMarien

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

No, that would be det finns.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DCNvW4

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Daniel798919

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sustained

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tola_sz

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

It's definitely said by one of the siblings.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexTiefling

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DonForbes

Yes! Scrolled a long way to find this thread. A professional translator would surely rephrase the thought and say "I have several siblings". This exercise is one of those cases where different languages express the same thought differently and no translation is going to please everybody. But in this case the Swedish and English sentences proposed by Duolingo do not mean the same thing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BarbaraMorris

I thought it was clear that the Swedish sentence implies that the speaker is one of the siblings. But an earlier comment said to think of the Swedish sentence as "We are WITH several siblings in the family". That suggests to me that the speaker is just saying there are several siblings, without implying that they are one of them.

I am very confused now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ranskanainen

Thanks for clarifying this!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trilby16

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SwedishSucks

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SwedishSucks

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IG_martincerny27

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarolinaViking

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Qov-jIH-je

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larry-Johnson

I felt that the most natural way to translate this sentence into English so that it includes the sensibilities of the Swedish was, "There are several of us siblings in my family." It wasn't accepted though.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Balder94

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)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

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).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zoomer88

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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Goose_Gosselin

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!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Austin211825

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aryan1337

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/matthew583808

I thought vi meant we


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarvelMani1

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SonniSonny

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DarcX

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mike_MS29

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RikkRogn

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"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/matthew583808

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarvelMani1

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hangaroid

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShreyaBhat290025

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mia99514

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/damo530797

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarolinaViking

"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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DMN2020

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."?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/matthew583808

Vi does not mean there, someone explain...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Obstgeist

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KndlerKIRS

Where is in the sentence the Word my?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pavel199584

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lisa78354

Translation to English here is wonky. And it seems like the translation changes with the same sentence within the app...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MARIECUTE609

Why Vi är and not det finns ? The sentence says "there are and not we are" right ? I'm confused


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/corinne191800

we are several siblings .....


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/corinne191800

we are several siblings...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/corinne191800

why do I have to say MY family when there is no "min familj" in the question.??? I put in the family. and was counted as wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kimkonex

Could I use det finns instead?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/giovannibienne

i said "our" instead of "my" - doesn't strike me as wrong. maybe change that?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanielVanB339801

Why is "we are several siblings...." not accepted but only "There are...". I find this is not fair. Espacially for non english first language speaker who would like to focus on swedish rather than english. Sorry.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanielVanB339801

This sentence is getting anoying.... my third (or fourth?) mistake....


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SpoonLikesFrogs

Maybe im just stupid and have forgotten this but is there a word fir sibling (like one singualar that you don't know the gender of)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarvelMani1
  • ett syskon... a sibling
  • syskonet... the sibling
  • syskon... siblings
  • syskonen... the siblings

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_._bidisha_._

Can we say "Det finns flera syskon i min familjen" instead?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/James704885

Why not vi har?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wrickmeister

There are many siblings in my family. What's wrong with that? How daft!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AboodEleyan

There are several siblings in my family


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/roosappp

Why it's not "We have several siblings in a family", and why is it "there are several..."? That doesn't say that I am one of the siblings. It just says that in my family there are several siblings. Or did I misunderstod it? Can someone please explain?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/roosappp

Why it is "there" and now "we"? "We" was accepted but it sounds weird.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olga833607

we are several siblings in family


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BarbaraMorris

"in family" is not valid English here. "We are several siblings in our family" is grammatically correct, but it doesn't sound good.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/imsilk

in the family madrigal!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PascalMadu1

Please will "det fins flera syskon i min familj" work?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarvelMani1

As per HelenCarlsson earlier on this page...

"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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rita.optimum

Could you give another example of such a 'sentence-construction', in swedish of course? Thank you!

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