"Varför kommer du hit?"

Translation:Why do you come here?

November 23, 2014

This discussion is locked.


Just for those who are interested, English, also a Germanic language, once had this similar distinction too, namely, hither/here/hence. 'Hither' is used to convey a movement TO 'here', 'here' is the static reference, and 'hence' is used to convey a movement FROM 'here'.

Sadly, English loses this distinction over time, but apparently Swedish still partially retains this one. (In fact, 'varför' can also be translated directly into 'wherefore' (why), so this sentence could easily be rendered into an archaic version of English, 'wherefore doth thou come hither?'

Languages are FUN!!


I suppose it could even be "wherefore comest thou hither" if we also skip the do-construction that the other cousins in the Germanic family avoid. :D


Wherefore DOST thou ;)

I do, thou dost, he doth

Here endeth Lesson 1 of 'Thou Too Canst Learn to Speak Antiquated English'


Wait... Wherefore and henceforth are archaic? Since when? I grew up with those in common use! Likewise whence and hence.

Every day I feel more like a linguistic dinosaur, but there's some small comfort in thrashing my way through svenska as I keep coming across old friends like varför.

Just don't ask me what anything is that has an -igt or a -vis bolted onto its tail. I think those are age-of-mammal additions. All I can do is guess at them.


I think that these hither and thither sound so Icelandic :). I would love to know what they call it!


In Icelandic it’s hingað and þangað.


We still have the living (albeit very formal) fossils "hithertofore" and "henceforth"


In English we have 'heretofore' (before now) and we have 'hitherto' (until now), but to the best of my knowledge, we don't formally have a portmanteau of them (hithertofore). I believe that word has been used, but it's not legitimized by, for example, the Oxford English Dictionary.


This is a wonderful explanation of our old words.


Just to make sure I remember the exact duo phrase in Swedish, I'm going to translate this as "wherefore commest thou hither?" in my head.


JohnWycliffe ~ I miss yoy and your input. Hope you're going on with your studies. So, how are you taking English? Are you not a native? If not, what is your native tongue? I want to take duo English so I can see if I can pass as a native, not so sure. lol Swedish is so easy esp. compared to French, I've been doing some old Norsk, on line with Prof. Crawford. He's amazing and so are you. Hope this reches you wherever you are. Good luck


English is my native tongue. Around the time I first completed the German tree I decided to start taking English for German speakers, but haven't spent a lot of time on it since (I probably will whenever I get back to doing a lot of duo). And yes, I, too, find the Scandinavian languages to be much easier than French or Italian, especially Norwegian. I am going to take Arabic and German while at the community college (starting this Fall), and when I transfer to Boulder I intend to take Old Norse, Farsi, Finnish, and perhaps some more German or something. They have a wonderful selection of languages. :)

Other than what's on Duo I have studied Latin, ancient Hebrew, and a little bit here and there from dozens of languages, but can't claim 100% fluency to anything but English yet (getting there with German).

Thanks for the encouragement and continued correspondence.


Could someone please give examples of when you would use the (position) and the (direction) variants of the here in this statement?


Can you elaborate? I don't understand your question. Do you mean the difference between "här" and "hit"?


Yes, with examples please. Particularly "Varför kommer du hit?" vs "Varför kommer du har?"


First off, you can't say "Varför kommer du här?". That doesn't work. You could say "Varför är du här?" or "Vad gör du här?".

I haven't thought about this before but I guess, as you said, that one is about position and one about direction. "att komma" is about a direction, not something you do in a place. See if these examples help.

  • "Jag sover här" (I sleep here)
  • "Jag äter här" (I eat here)
  • "Vad gör du här?" (What are you doing here?)
  • "Vad gör du där?" (What are you doing there?)
  • "Jag åker dit" (I go there)
  • "Jag flyger dit" (I fly there)
  • "Kommer du hit?" (Do/will you come here?)

  • "Du kan åka där" (You can drive there [while pointing at a place])

  • "Du kan åka dit" (You can go there)

Does that help?



That clears things up, Kommer Du is in fact tied with position like Dit and Hit. That makes sense!


You can say "Kommer du att vara här?" (Will you be here?) :).

Don't know how good you are at German, but I think they differ between "här" och "hit" as well.


To HelenCarlsson: Yes, in German there is a difference. The equivalent of "här" is "hier" and the equivalent of "hit" is "her".


That automatically made me wonder whether there is an equivalent of "hierher" in Swedish as well (though it probably can be seen as a variant of "her")


To ViArSkoldpaddor: I believe so. See hitåt and ditåt.


@Hashmush - thanks, does look that way...


Tack så mycket!! :)


Hashmush ~ Tack! That's what I've been doing, relating it to middle to old English, that way I can , memorize and understand Swedish better. I just copied your sentences so I could keep it as a reference.
Will you do examples with "här" and "hit" as with " där" and "dit"? I understand hither and thither (simple).. I'm just not clear on "här" and "hit" I'm going to be more dependent on middle English for my understanding, of how to translate You're a gem. Thanks again!


Well, if you know them, it really is quite simple: här - here, hit - hither, där - there, dit - thither


Why "hit" instead of "här"?


How would you differentiate between Why aren't you coming here? and Why don't you come here? the former of which is a question and latter of which is more like a suggestion


That's a good question. Can "Varför kommer du inte hit" mean "Why aren't you coming here"? And "Varför inte kommer du hit" would be a suggestion, "why don't you come here."


I don't believe Swedish differentiates between the two English sentences given, as almost no languages do. Also, I'm pretty sure if you start a sentence with Varför inte you follow it with the infinitive (e.g., komma). Perhaps a native can comment on whether there's a significant difference between the two, but my guess is that the difference is greater in English. The reason being "why don't you come here?" has a connotation that you never come here, or at least not as often as the speaker wishes. On the other hand, "why aren't you coming here?" is entirely here and now.


[...], as almost no languages do.

That's a pretty bold statement.

Here is my take on the whole situation. In English, the phrase Why don't you ...? have two interpretations. The first one is as a suggestion, Why don't you come over?. The second one is as you said, purely a question (I'd use Why won't you come here? or similarily, but I'm not a native speaker).

  1. The equivalent way of saying Why don't you ...? as a suggestion would be using kan in Swedish. The question Why don't you come over? would thus be translated to Kan du inte komma hit?.
  2. The translation of the remark would probably involve the word aldrig (never) in Swedish. This means that Why don't you come here? would be translated as Varför kommer du aldrig hit?

EDIT: After further thought, Varför inte + infinitive works.


Well, when I said "almost no languages" differentiate, I was speaking moreso of the difference between the positive forms of the root statements. Few languages (English and Dutch come to mind) distinguish between "you are coming" and "you come." The negation of each is "you aren't coming" and "you don't come," and although this is a little simplified compared to using them as a question, there is a clear difference in the English for both the positive pairs and the negative pairs that can't be found in most languages I've studied (including ancient ones). In almost all languages I'm familiar with, both would be translated the same, at least for the positive if not for the negative statements.

Also, thanks for the information on Varför inte. I had found it used with the infinitive here and here, but I have no idea how common this is in spoken Swedish.


I don't like the statement "almost all/no languages". That's why I said that. But anyways.

Interesting, I didn't know that Dutch had the progressive aspect and I'm not proficient enough to guess what the negation would mean in each case.

Regarding the fake progressive aspect in Swedish, e.g Han sitter och läser. does have a negation different from the simple aspect.

  • Han läser = He reads
  • Han sitter och läser = He is reading (sitting down) (lit. He is sitting and reading)

  • Han läser inte = He doesn't read

  • Han sitter inte och läser (längre) = He isn't reading (anymore)

Also, thanks for the links. You convinced me that it's used more than I thought. I think we need a name for the concept when natives are trying to explain something to non-natives and completely misjudges the situtation. Something catchy, like Native Nearsightedness.


Dutch does’nt distinguish between “you are coming” and “you come”. In both cases it is “Jij komt”. Native speaker here.


The sentence Varför inte kommer du hit? is not grammatically correct. For more info see my conversation with @JohnWycliffe.


I come here for Swedish lessons!


"....när du vet att det gör det svart för mig"


My native language has several words for this - ovdje, ovamo and ovuda. Ovdje means "här", ovamo means "hit" and I'm not sure if Swedish has a translation for the last one, but it essentially means "this way", meaning the path which one takes to get here. There are also questions kamo/kuda?, meaning "to where"/"by which way/path", are there also single words in Swedish for this, or like English it's translated like "by which way" or something?


That's cool! Is it Croatian? We have
varifrån? - from where?
var? - where?
vart? - to where?
but we don't have anything like "ovuda" or "kuda?". Unfortunately :).


Yup, it's Croatian :) thanks for the answer. Croatian has "gdje?, kamo?, kuda?" (Where, to where, by which way), and then answers to those three questions ((t)here, to (t)here, by this/that way) depending on where you're refering to. Close to yourself: ovdje, ovamo, ovuda; close to the other speaker: tu, tamo, tuda; far away from both speakers: ondje, onamo, onuda. Croatian loves exceptions and word changes by case/tense/gender, so I'm not hopeful on it coming to Duolingo :/ but it's good because unlike Croatian Swedish doesn't have different verb forms depending on the pronoun used and 7 cases in singular and plural, so it's a bit easier :)


Well, there are Polish and Russian courses in the making, so I can't imagine Croatian will be a larger problem. "By which way" is normally expressed as "how" in english, by the way. ("How did you get here?")


Yes, you can also use how in Croatian, but it has broader meaning, as in, using what means of travel, like by bus or by car. "kuda" literally refers to a certain path, as in "we came by A1 motorway and then by a small rural road". I hear that Croatian grammar is similar to Slovak https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serbo-Croatian_grammar


I think the audio is not clear, it sounds like it says Varfit or something like that


...To chew bubblegum and...


... Sadly, I am all out of gum.


Why is "Why did you come here" not acceptable? Tack


Because that's past tense. The Swedish sentence is present tense.


Tack! How do I apply past tense to this?


Varför kom du hit?


Tack! Har en lingot!


"Ta en lingot" doesn't work, since it can't be used if you are giving away one. "Här har du en lingot!" or "Här får du en lingot!", maybe...


I see what you're getting at, but the expression Have a ...! does not translate literally into Swedish, and I can't really think of an equivalent expression right now.


@Hashmush, I think the equivalent would be Ta en lingot ("Take a lingot"), though Ha en bra dag ("Have a good day") is used, so "Have a.." isn't completely absent from Swedish.


It "hit" really necessary? I have the feeling that it is a little repetitive, for if a person comes/is coming, it necessarily has to be towards the direction where I am, i.e., "here".


"Kommer" also mean "going", as in doing something.

Jag kommer att jobba mycket den här månaden. I'm going to work a lot this month.

Jag kommer inte att kunna betala mina räkningar. I'm not going to be able to pay my bills.

To say "varför kommer du" is not a complete sentence. You can say "jag kommer" when someone is calling for you.


"...när du vet att det blir svårt för mig, när du vet, åh varför kommer du?"


I can't even hear what it is saying and my volume is turned up all the way.


does this sentence also mean why have you come here


Any etymological connection between hit - here and hittar - find? (find = it is here?)


Since 'hit' is directional, is this question asking 'why do you come to me?' Or, 'why do you come this way/this direction?'


Can someone please explain the difference in usage between the words "hit" and "har"? OH, and just so you know .... I can't do the accents on my PC .....


Why is "Why do you come hither" not correct?

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