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  5. "Over the children, the birds…

"Over the children, the birds fly."

Translation:Över barnen flyger fåglarna.

November 26, 2014



The English translation is the literal translation of the Swedish phrase, but, outside poetry, there's only one person who would phrase the sentence this way: Yoda.


Poetry: where grammar goes goodbye and sentences get contorted out of recognition as English. -my English teacher 10th grade


Are you sure he said “goes goodbye” rather than “goes to die”? Still, I can agree with this, and am usually upset when I see modern-day poets not even caring any longer about upper-case and lower-case scripture. As for sentence structures, I would partially agree. At least there are still blocks that only change places inside the sentence, which makes recognition feasible. :D


Rewarded with a lingot you must be


Which is quite funny because in Italian we usually talk like the Swedish way and Yoda is translated with the English way even if it is still okay in Italian


And Dorothy. Sing with me now: "Somewhere over the children (blue) birds fly."


Why isn't it "over barnen faglarna flyger" ?


Because Swedish has this rule called V2 (verb second) which means that the verb must come in the second place. So if you start the sentence with an adverb like ”over the children”, then the verb must come after that. Compare these examples:

  • I går såg jag honom. (Yesterday I saw him.)
  • ”Hon kommer”, sa han. (”She’s coming”, he said.)
  • Inte har du träffat min vän? (”You don’t happen to have met my friend?; lit. ”Not have you met my friend?”)
  • Här skulle jag översätta det så här. (Here I would translate it like this.)


Tack så mycket! I kept wondering why this construction kept showing up when there was no question intended. So, if I understand this subject-verb inversion thing, it goes like this: 1. It is necessary to have the inversion to form a question but, 2. The presence of an inversion does not necessarily mean that a question is being asked.


I would only add that "over the children" is a prepositional phrase, not an adverb.


In Swedish grammar, it’s called rumsadverbial (adverbial of location), which is a syntactic constituent that can consist of for example a prepositional phrase (over the children) or an adverb (home). So, you’re right, but its role is an adverbial in the phrase. Perhaps it was sloppy to use ”adverb” for ”adverbial” but I thought English didn’t distinguish between the two, just as the syntactic role ”verb” is identical to the lexical category ”verb” (they are different in Swedish), but perhaps it does: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adverbial#The_form_of_adverbials


So basically, does that mean that V2 word order would apply any time a sentence does not start off with the subject? So would anything from conjunctions, interjections, prepositions, etc?

  1. But I run to the store.
  2. And we are going there.
  3. Under Sam, I lay.
  4. However, I was alone.

Would these sentences all utilize V2?


Not the first two, because ’but’ and ’and’ are conjunctions, and introduce new main clauses so you ’start from scratch’, so to speak. The last two would indeed.

  1. Men jag springer till affären.
  2. Och vi ska dit.
  3. Under Sam låg jag.
  4. Dock var jag ensam.


Tack så mycket


Is there an update planned or upcoming which offers grammatical help, beyond just the literal translation of specific words?

It's frustrating to me that grammar is learned in Duolingo by trial-and-error. Even though I grasp the V2 explanation... in practice, I have yet to fully grok its rhythm and cadence.

It feels awkward to just get an answer wrong... lose points... and that be my only introduction to/reminder of these rules. It feels like learning via negative reinforcement, rather than by positive.

Could we--I don't know--maybe apply a color gradient to the sentence as it's typed out and, thus, the student may suss out a word's correct placement based on the color of each helper word and where it fits within said gradient, maybe?


I completely agree. Many times I feel like I'm just memorizing the answers instead of understanding how their grammar works.


I totally agree with your top three paragraphs.


There is one thing that took me a while to figure out: if you log into the duolingo website on your computer, there are introductory bits, explaining the grammar, for most topics. Sadly they don't show up in the app at all...


This English sentence is so strange.


why isnt "över barnen, fåglarna flyger" accepted


Because of the Swedish language's V2 rule which forces you to place the verb in the runner-up place of the sentence, i.e. the second position. See Lundgren8's comment above.


I guess no one cares but it's the first time that I got the V2 rule right and I'm so happy about it!!


Yay! Congrats!


Excessive poetry for an entry level

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