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  5. "Vad äter pojken?"

"Vad äter pojken?"

Translation:What is the boy eating?

November 21, 2014

53 Comments


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

Could this also be "What is eating the boy?"


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

It could indeed!

The very well known Swedish children's song Bä, bä vita lamm (a translation of the English Baa, Baa, Black Sheep) ends "och två par strumpor åt lille, lille bror". This has (maybe just jokingly) sometimes been translated to "and two pairs of socks ate the tiny little brother" rather than "and two pairs of socks for the tiny little brother".


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

If I were asked to translate "what is eating the boy" I'd write "Vad är det som äter pojken". Could you comment on which is more correct/natural/common, please?


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

Yup, your sentence would be the natural way of expressing it, although both would be correct. Since What is the boy eating is the more logical translation of Vad äter pojken, hardly anyone would interpret it as the boy being eaten, except in the söi pikku pikku veljen example.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bjere001

Doesn't vita mean white? Am I missing something?


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

Vita does mean white. I guess there's some artistic licence involved in the translation of the song, as there often is.


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

Well, the song does have an second verse : Baa, baa, white sheep, have you any wool? yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.

one for a jumper, one for a frock, and one for the little girl, with holes in her sock.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BenjaminWeber1

The two aren't the same song word for word but likely descended from the same original nursery rhyme, but changes down to the 'Chinese whispers' effect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kurio
  • 1671

[Digression] I just realized the same sentence in Italian also shares the same potential ambiguity about whether "what" is subject or object :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Steph.Ro

That's why I love the German case system. No danger of the poor boy being eaten there, thanks to nominative and accusative.


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

Yeah thats what i put in


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

Heh... Duolingo accepted my answer of:

  • What is eating the boy?

This reminds me of Italian, where:

  • Che mangia il ragazzo? (Italian)

could mean either:

  • What is the boy eating?
  • What is eating the boy?

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vincent395751

I wrote What is eating the boy and it said I was correct. So that's pretty morbid.


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

I did that too, was totally shocked that that was the answer haha, poor boy


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

That's only one of the two ways you could translate it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Betelgeuse321

I also said that and was like oh god Duolingo is a Cannibal, oh wait hes a bird so hes carnivourous, Look out for Duo the- i got nothing


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

But it would have to be Vem äter pojken for it to be cannibalism. :-)

(Again, regardless of whether he is the subject or the object of the verb.)


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

Ya never know maybe a dog was salivating up his...toes


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chris903849

In english, what's eating the boy means the same as what's bothering the boy. Not so strange.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

Looks like they use gnawing for that in Swedish. Although, the English for metaphoric corrosion is more commonly eating at rather than just eating.
Vad gnager dig?
https://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=what%27s_eating_you#Translations


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

I don't think that's very common. There are many ways of saying it but I can't think of a really common expression for it at the moment.


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

Which dialect? Im native english speaking and have never heard that


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

At least some American dialect, I guess, as in the movie What's Eating Gilbert Grape?.


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

Does "vad" and "var" (inside the sentence) pronounced in the same way [vo:]?


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

Oftentimes in speech, you'll hear them as /vɑː/ without the final letter, yes.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Antik69

Vad is more [va:] and var is more [vå-o:]


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

Could this also be "what the boy eats?"?


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

That doesn't really work as a sentence on its own in English, I'm afraid.


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

Oh really? my bad then. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Margaret278812

"What does the boy eat? " has the same meaning as "What is the boy eating?" The first just sounds more formal to me - Australian English


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

If a doctor was asking a mom about what her son eats in a specific meal wouldn't it be correct to say "what the boy eats for breakfast" ?


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

It still wouldn't be a complete sentence – the doctor would ask What does the boy eat for breakfast? then.


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

thanks for helping


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

Closest English to that might be "What is it, that the boy eats?"


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

Could this be translated,"How is the boy eating?"


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

I don't think so, that would be Hur äter pojken?


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

Hold kæft, is this like. . . literal? Or is it like English's little idiom, to ask what's bothering someone?


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

Also they say Hold kæft a lot in Danish but there's probably a bigger risk that you sound rude in Swedish if you say that.


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

It's not used as an idiom in Swedish. Most likely it's just a question about what the kid is eating, although a more sinister interpretation is also possible as has been pointed out elsewhere.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/svenska1227

Do Swedish people say the d in "vad" when speaking?


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

No, only if we're really trying to speak very slowly and carefully.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tuncay.55

Isn't this true?: "what does eat the boy?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bev77028

When I hover my cursor over 'vad', both "what" and "how" are suggested as meanings. I don't understand why "how is the boy eating" wasn't acceptable. Maybe his mother has been trying to teach him good table manners, and he's gone to visit his grandmother, and the mother asks her, "how is he eating now--in a nice, gentlemanly way?" Someone below asked about this translation, and you said "hur", not "vad" would have been used. I see a grammatical distinction--at least in English 'what' is a pronoun, while 'how' is an adverb--(except maybe in something like "Do you know how?" where it is perhaps a ...pronoun?...standing in for a noun clause "how to do it". But then "how" would be the direct object of "know".).
So I guess my question is, is 'hur' only and always an adverb, and is 'vad' only and always a pronoun? And then, IF 'vad' is only a pronoun, why is 'how' suggested as a meaning for it in the lesson?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/thorr18

The pop-up suggestions are not specific to the exercise. They are specific to the word (or fixed phrase).
Vad is what but I think it translates to how in phrases of the type: "How interesting!" such as "vad bra".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Toby588220

I love how most of the comments aren't even talking about how weird the sentence is :-D


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

I almost put 'Who is eating the boy'


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

Is "Vad den pojken äter" better?

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