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  5. "Skådespelarna ser oss inte."

"Skådespelarna ser oss inte."

Translation:The actors do not see us.

November 24, 2014



Quick question about the word order. I was taught that satsadverbs, like inte, always come after verb 1 and the subject, and the complement, oss, comes later so I would have written this as Skådespelarna ser inte oss. Is that wrong?


You can move around the ”inte” a lot for different emphasis and effects. Your sentence is also right. You can say:

  • Inte ser skådespelarna oss?
  • Ser inte skådespelarna oss?
  • Skådespelarna ser oss inte.
  • Skådespelarna ser inte oss.

It has to do with the pronoun. The syntax is different for pronouns. You can say both these sentences, but if you’d say ”Skådespelarna ser teatern inte”, that’s definitely wrong.

  • Han tappade honom inte. = correct
  • Han tappade inte honom. = correct
  • Han tappade boken inte. = wrong
  • Han tappade inte boken. = correct


what would be the difference in meaning between, say, the 4 examples with skådespelarna that you mentioned above?


The 3rd one is quite neutral, but in the 4th one you slightly emphasise ”ser” perhaps. The 1st one is less common nowadays but it’s a question emphasising ”inte” and the 2nd one is a quite neutral question.


So, would you say the 1st one is similar to the english "Do the actors not see us?" (Where "not" is emphasized) And would the 4th one have a similar english meeting?


I only got 1 letter wrong! A miracle. I said skådaspelarna. Maybe next time will be the day.


So it's clear that in this case the word changes between the gender of the worker. But in the case of brandman it doesn't, despite explicitly having the word "man" in it. Interesting.


Yeah, but this is an exception, and some people (especially younger) use skådespelare for actresses as well as actors. You would never see läkerska as the feminine of läkare, and mäklerska is only used in the compund äktenskapsmäklerska 'marriage broker', not as an equivalent of mäklare 'real estate agent, broker'. Lärarinna 'teacher' was used before, but is very unusual these days, and lärare now applies to both genders.


Why is "the actors are not seeing us" wrong?


I also would like to know! :)


While not strictly wrong, this is unidiomatic. English "seeing" a person generally means to date them.


Does skådespelare serve as the indefinite plural for skådespelerska, too? Or is it skådespelerskor? What about the definite plural of skådespelerska? Is it skådespelarna or skådespelerskorna? What happens with forming the plural when there is a group of both actors and actresses?


The indefinite plural is skådespelerskor. The definite plural is skådespelerskorna. When there is a group of mixed gender, even one man among a thousand women, it takes the masculine (skådespelare/skådespelarna for indefinite/definite), just as you would never use "actresses" to refer to a group of male and female actors. Just about every language that distinguishes gender in the plural, whether in a small degree like this or actually having separate pronouns for masc. pl. and fem. pl., takes the masculine form for mixed groups (at least among Indo-European and Semitic languages, and I think some Altaic).


Tack så mycket, especially for the information about the language groups. I really enjoy learning about the origins of and relationships between languages. This information will also be useful as I continue to learn more languages.


Why is "the actresses dont see us" right?


Almost all professions in Swedish are gender neutral, but this is an exception. It could be argued that skådespelare covers both genders, and I hope that will eventually always be the case, but right now it's still mostly separated.


I wonder if this is due to the connection of the word to the name Shakespeare (I didn’t realise his influence extended that far) and the times during which he wrote when women weren't allowed to act in public.


Pardon, what connection to Shakespeare? The word skådespelare is not related to the name Shakespeare whatsoever, if that's what you mean.

Swedish used to make a difference between masculine and feminine a long time ago. This is reflected in a few things that remain, like having gendered words for some professions. All or almost all professions used to have gendered words if applicable - most just merged over time.


I'm happy to stand corrected on there being no influence of the name "Shakespeare" on the Swedish term.

However, the Swedish for actor, and the name "Shakespeare" look very similar to an English speaker. Perhaps there's an older connection still from when the Vikings invaded the northern parts of the British Isles. Perhaps the forerunner of the term for actor made its way to Britain and became a surname in English...that a later playwright had.


skådespelare comes from German Schauspieler, and "Shakespeare" comes from the words "shake" and "spear". Let's break it down a bit:

skåda means to look. It is a direct cognate of the English word "show". Both derived from a Proto-Germanic root, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European, and Old English frequently uses the sh sound where North Germanic languages use sk. You can see the same sh/sk connection in English "shake" vs its Swedish cognate skaka.

spel means "play", in this case as in a theatrical play.

-are is a suffix for someone who does something. So it's the same as -er in English, e.g. play -> player.

"spear" is a very old word, for which even its root also means "spear".

So while I can understand that they look similar at a glance, "Shakespeare" is about as close to skådespelare as to "spoonstore", etymologically speaking. There is absolutely no connection to Vikings invading the British Isles and leaving words for actors - especially since those words are much younger than the Vikings.


So would the most literal for this would be 'The actors see us not.' ?


Is that also where the stress would lie? Specifically on us rather than seeing?


No, it should be on ser.


So why is it that the inte follows oss instead of ser?


You could actually put them either way. :)


a bit cone from german Schauspieler/in


It was likely constructed after German, although it's not entirely clear.

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