"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.

May 7, 2015


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

September 19, 2015



November 6, 2018


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

November 26, 2014


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.)
November 26, 2014


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

May 28, 2015


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

May 28, 2015


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?

June 7, 2015


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.
June 7, 2015



April 9, 2016


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.

February 23, 2015


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?

May 3, 2019


I totally agree with your top three paragraphs.

May 6, 2019
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