"Jag äter det."

Translation:I am eating it.

November 25, 2014

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In this sentence the e in det is short, but when I listen to det by itself it uses the long e. Is there supposed to be a difference, and is there a general rule for this? Tack.


Late answer, I just answered this at the bottom of this thread but I'll post it here too.

The normal way of saying a sentence like this is "Jaétere", skipping many of the consonants and reducing the word 'det' so that there isn't much left of it.

If you say det in isolation the vowel is long, but when the word is unstressed the vowel sound gets shorter too. It turns into what's called a 'schwa' vowel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwa – a sort of generally blurry vowel which takes very little effort to pronounce. :) This sound occurs in English too, usually in similar situations.

Basically vowels in Swedish can only be long if they're stressed, all unstressed vowels are short. e:s easily get reduced to schwas, but other vowels such as o or i don't.


What's the difference between "Jag ater den" and "Jag ater det"?


den refers to an n-word. det refers to a t-word. E.g. the fish = fiskeN, so if you are eating a fish you could say "Jag äter deN".


Tack sa mycket! :)


If you have a general "it" that doesn't refer to a particular object, like "I can do it" or if the genus is unknown, do you sa det or den?


I got this phrase as a "type what you hear" task. It sounded like "Jag äter der" to me. I knew it had to be either "det" or "den," and it turned out to be the former. Does a final t always sound like an English r?


I don't hear an R in there. The T in det is silent, and this is no exception.


Yes, listening to it again I wonder why I imagined an English r. Orthographically, though, it seemed it needed something. Now I know what that something is. :)


Is the T always silent? Is there any exception ? Because native speakers pronounce the T in ''Forvo.com'' .


Yes, it's silent.


For whatever it's worth, I heard the same 'r' in there that you did. I typed "der", knowing it was incorrect but not knowing what else to try.


Yes, it is some consolation. Thanks for commenting.


In the normal speed version I hear a very realistic jaetere, quite like most of us would say this.


Tak. so 'd' in det is silent


In everyday speech, very often. But if we speak more clearly or slowly, it's heard.


Maybe it's the intonation that brings out the "english r" in the end? It's something you learn to distinguish though, the more you listen to the language.


Okay I read all the comments but I gotta ask something. I already know the words in a sentence blend in with each other (or part of it) and the sentence is pronounced as a whole. What I want to know is, can it be understood by the Swedish if I were to speak slowly word by word and may end up pronouncing every word seperatly? Like in this sentence the äter and det blended with each other and created a new sound "ätere". Will it be totally wrong if I were to clearly pronounce each words? For a newbie its difficult to form a sentence and speak it as a whole.


Bloody good point! I had the same wonder. When I say this sentence then she does, well its completely different. No wonder I dont hear what they say when they speak fast HAHA. Thanks for the question.


This is sooooo difficult to say!


For me, it sounds like Jag äter/ə/. I can't hear the "d" of det. Is the TTS really correct?


Yes, we often tend to blur or even skip the /d/ in det and similar words after an r sound. (I mean, this happens for short common words like det and dig ('you') but not for all words).


I thought I heard "jag äter dig"... Would this also be a possibility?!


No, you would hear a /j/ sound at the end if it were dig (like the first sound in English "yes".


Does everyone talk this fast?


Not when speaking with foreigners :)


How relateable.


Because there is nothing I am referring to in this sentence, i.e. fish or coffee, should this not be 'den', as 'den' is the default?

More clearly, what I'm asking is: what is the empty 'it'?


As far as I know (I'm a native but not a grammar expert) the default it should be "det" . E.g. It's your fault = Det är ditt fel. In any case, the "det" in "Jag äter det" is not a default "det" but is clearly referencing to eating something with the neutrum gender.


You're right. To elaborate a little, the default it for grammatical purposes is det – used when the sentence needs a subject, but there isn't one. For instance if we say Det regnar 'It is raining' – there's really no one there who rains, but the sentence needs a subject anyway, so we use det. Same goes for the presenting construction, which I wrote more about here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/9708920 – we say Det är min hund 'It is my dog' even though hund is an en noun, because det is only there for grammatical reasons and does not refer to the dog.

However, when we do refer to some specific object, only we don't know the gender of the object, den is normally used as the default. For example, there's some device on the table and you don't know what it is, you want me to pick it up and give it to you so you can have a closer look at it – in this kind of situation, you could use either, but den would be more common.

So to sum it up, den is default (but not obligatory) for unknown objects, but for grammatical uses, det is not only default, but also obligatory.


I don't know if the sound changed recently, but it now sounds to me like "Jag äterra", or something... Almost like the Hungarian word 'étterem (restaurant)' pronounced really fast.


There are a couple of comments about this in this topic already, jaetere is how most people would say this in real life.


I hear jag äter-a, no 'd' sound at all, why does this happen?


Scroll up to read previous comments about this!


Thank you very much. So I understand the blurring of the sound d when it comes after a word ending in r but, does the e sounds different? Is as if it changes from a long sound to a short one. If so, why, does this happen? I went through all the comments and the only one I could see asking something alike was funtaco but no one answered. Thanks again


Sorry, I only noticed the part about the d sound. For the vowel, if you say det in isolation the vowel is long, but when the word is unstressed the vowel sound gets shorter too. It turns into what's called a 'schwa' vowel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwa – a sort of generally blurry vowel.
Basically vowels in Swedish can only be long if they're stressed, all unstressed vowels are short.


Thank you very much, again!!! =)


When using "det" and "der"? Thank you for your answer.


I don't think "der" is a word in Swedish (correct me if I'm wrong, Swedes!)


You're right – there's det and den for ett and en words respectively, and där for 'there' – but no der in Swedish. :)

[deactivated user]

    Would the meaning change if you replace 'Den' instead of 'Det'??


    Not really. Both words mean "it" (and "that" in some contexts), but you would use "den" when referring to an en- word and "det" otherwise.

    For example: "vad gör du med kycklingen? - Jag äter den" "What are you doing with the chicken? - I am eating it" (kyckling is an en-word). If the noun you're referring to is an ett- word, you'd just replace the den with det.

    Here, there is no context regarding what is being eaten, so either is appropriate.


    is it like in pronunciation we just say et (sounds like "ay" ), please suggest.


    And what should I use to say "I eat this"


    In your translations it is unclear to me when you translaye the verb as "I eat" v "I am eating". Seems random


    why det not den?


    Is there a way to know when to use long/short vowels?


    If I heard someone say this I would have no idea what they said. In reading other peoples comments, it looks like I'm not alone .... SIGH!


    Eat what, evil green owl?

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    My experience is that swedes often don't say a clear e or ö for example. Often it is an ea (an e with a a slight bow to an a) or öa (an ö with a a slight bow to an a). And an r is often rolled. So in combination "Jag äter det" the rolling of the r is melting with the slightly pronounced d ending with the bow to the a. That might sound like "Jag ätera" or better "Jag äterä".

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