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"Vi är flera syskon i familjen."

Translation:There are several siblings in my family.

November 21, 2014

116 Comments


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/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/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/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/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

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

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

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/SrMarien

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 :)


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/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/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/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/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/Mike982343

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


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

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/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/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/AlexTiefli

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/nummus27

"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/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/Pavel46634

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yamese4

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


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

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Super8Mario

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


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

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Super8Mario

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stephenbal4

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".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/david967443

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/david967443

Thanks! - thought I had but I missed it.


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

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??


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

    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...


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

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


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

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


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

    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?


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

    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.


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

    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


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

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nadim344137

    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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/5JUKeZu0

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


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

    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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/damjansimi1

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


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

    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


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

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyanHaywar10

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


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

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


    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/FaroukHaj

    We are several siblings in the family


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

    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?


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

    Just one of the siblings, I'd say.


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

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


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

    Yes, that is correct.


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

    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...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sarah21189

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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SaharKamal11

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


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

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

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