"Du gamla, du fria"

Translation:You ancient, you free

November 27, 2014

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The Swedish National Anthem (from the opening game on Friends arena):

where Zlatan scored four goals. Number four:




For ett-words like "det", it's "fantastiskt".


"I wanna go and give you a man hug" - That killed me ahah


Best anthem ever :D


" Du fria" sounds funny for Spanish speakers since fría means cold in Spanish, so at first sight I have read it as ...you old, you cold


In Portuguese as well. XD


To be fair, that would work just as well for Sweden.


Ja, Jag vill leva, jag vill dö I Noooooooooooorden


För Sverige!


Jon Snow's theme.


I believe the anthem was written for the Scandinavian countries. That's why it references the North and not Sweden.


Not quite. When it was written Norway was part of Sweden (technically United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway) and that's why it refers to the North instead of Sweden.


I get what it is, but without context it was impossible to understand.


Yes, that's true, but now you know the first words of the Swedish national anthem. :)


Sounds about right for most anthems, really; flowery and vaguely archaic, memorized by brute force and recited rather than interpreted because nobody really gets what it's saying, beyond "yay country."


För Sverige i tiden!


Du fjällhöga nord <3


Du tysta, du glädjerika sköna.


jag hälsar, dig vänaste land uppå jord


Din sol, din himmel, dina ängder gröna :-)


Det vackra landet av majestätiska nord.


Du tronar på minnen från fornstora dar, då ärat ditt namn flög över jorden


Jag vet att du är och du blir vad du var. ja, Jag vill leva, jag vill dö i norden!


Awesome vid.. and wow, an anthem without any word about going to war killing enemies or about how the local people are better than in any other place.. I'm positively impressed :)


A very beautiful version. And Sweden has a beautiful anthem.


This rendition is fantastic.


Jonna Jinton sang it live on Swedish tv at Globen in Stockholm for the annual football (soccer) awards program a few years ago. I’ve followed her for years. This is the version on her YouTube channel, not from the awards show. I think it’s also beautiful:



Why are the adjectives in plural? Is this some sort of honorary form of address?


No, it's just in definite form - not plural - since it addresses an entity, i.e. the nation of Sweden.


Does that mean that gamla and fria are nouns ('the ancient one', 'the free one') rather than adjectives? Could you say 'Han är fria' to mean 'He is the free [one]', as opposed to just 'Han är fri' 'He is free'? Or is this only the case if someone or something is being directly addressed?


I think they are just adjectives, but definite, like when you call a king 'Charles the Bald'!


When you use an adjective as a noun you need the definite article: "Han är den fria". In this case also "...den frie", since it's a man we're talking about, though I think this rule is not observed everywhere.


Thank you; I realised this long ago. However, I still don't really understand why putting an adjective in its definite form should give it a vocative meaning, as in this song; it would be nice to see more examples of it, but I've never come across any.


I don't think the adjective form makes it vocative. It's just du that does that. The adjective could only be in the definitive form here, so there's no choice.


What about "gode Gud", or "kära"?


'Kära' does indeed seem to be an excellent example! Thank you; I knew the word but never really processed it grammatically.


Ops, there was a typo in my previous answer, fixed now.


This now makes sense to me, addressing the country. Previously, I was wondering why the plural form of "you" was not used, given the adjective forms of the phrase.


It's rather definite, because 'Du' is used. So we know who is old and free and therefore the plural/definite form is used.

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I guess I would have felt more comfortable with an English translation of You the ancient, you the free. It just seems that in English we pretty much always put the appropriate form of to be between a personal pronoun and an adjective (You are ancient.... ), or else convert to something more like a noun (the ancient). I can't really think of any situations other than inner-city slang (e.g. You bad!) where one might just juxtapose you and an adjective.


I can't really think of any situations [...] where one might just juxtapose you and an adjective.

'O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant'?

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Well, I suppose faithful is an adjective, but it is also a noun, and it is that aspect of the word which I think is being used in the English translation of Adeste Fidelis, and then the joyful and triumphant are simply modifying that noun. As to devalanteriel's comment, I was not complaining about the Swedish usage of gamla or fria being put in direct apposition to du, acting as a noun when put in the definite form, it was that doing effectively the same thing in English by turning ancient (adjective) into the ancient (noun) wasn't accepted, and it seems to me that throwing the in front of the adjective does that for English where we can't show our purpose by changing the ending on the adjective to make it definite. Of course, ancient, as faithful, has a specifically noun form without throwing a the in front of it, but specifically referencing people of ancient times (except for a few obsolete specific uses), and is usually used in the plural, as in the ancients.

All that said, I probably spoke too quickly, being momentarily annoyed that my translation had not been accepted. The Swedish Duolingo is so good at considering natural alternatives, compared to say the Russian DL, that usually when something I try is marked wrong it is simply because I really made what I consider to be an error. Perhaps that is because Swedish and English are so similar, but I think in large part is because the moderators are so thorough and meticulous.


I don't know if this helps, but for "you the old, you the free" the Swedish would have been du den gamla, du den fria, or variations of it for other numbers and gender.


If you add a definite article in English, you typically need to add a definite article in Swedish as well if there's an adjective.


Well, I suppose faithful is an adjective, but it is also a noun, and it is that aspect of the word which I think is being used

Well, if 'faithful' is a noun in that case, it isn't preceded by an article, so it still serves as a example of the same construction as the English translation of this sentence —'ancient' and 'free' can equally be nouns without needing articles; in fact, any adjective at all becomes a noun if you treat it as one by the same rationale, so distinguishing between adjectives and nouns in these instances becomes something of a technicality.
I agree it's not a terribly common usage, but it is still good English, and bear in mind that it is being used here to translate a fragment of poetry, not an everyday utterance.


In addition, in du gamla, du fria, both of those are in the definite, which turns it into a name-like function.


Did I miss a lesson? This sentence is completely out of context (of the lessons) and actually doesn't translate into english.

"You old, you free." What rule are we supposed to learn from this?


It's the first line of the Swedish national anthem


It might be, but it doesn't translate well into english. Especially when you attempt to translate it word by word... Either it should be moved to a bonus lesson or other English forms accepted.

Like the person above said, it's great that we now know this but it really doesn't fit with the lesson we're doing.


This sounds really odd in English. Is it meant to mean that you are old and free? Or is something lost in translation.....?


It's the start of Sweden's national anthem, so it's about the North.


Another reason I love the Swedish course. Thank you to all the contributors for giving us these cultural tidbits.


You ancient, you free... What is next? Du gamla, Du fria, Du fjällhöga nord Du tysta, Du glädjerika sköna! Jag hälsar Dig, vänaste land uppå jord, Din sol, Din himmel, Dina ängder gröna.

Du tronar på minnen från fornstora dar, då ärat Ditt namn flög över jorden. Jag vet att Du är och förblir vad du var. Ja, jag vill leva jag vill dö i Norden.


Du gamla, du fria. Du fjällhöga nord.❤️


According to the last sentence of the exercise, gratis means free. I was counted wrong for using the word "fri". But in the very next sentence of the exercise, I am not allowed to use "gratis" to mean free, but (you guessed it) "fri."


James, the English word "free" has different meanings:
1. unconfined = fri
2. with no monetary charge = gratis


and the third one: ledig = not busy


No idea what sentences you are talking about, but "gratis" means "free" only in the meaning of "no cost". That is, as in "free beer", not as in "free thinking".


Lol, is this a regular saying in Sweden? It's funny.


It's the first line of our national anthem. It's no more a regular saying than "O say, can you see" is in the US.


Oh you made me laugh out loud again!

To answer the question in a broader way, I think of poetry and oral traditions spanning back more than a thousand years. "Thou, who are ancient of days, and throughout this time, free"... free thinkers, free to explore, free to create a culture that valued beauty in 900 AD with silver work carvings that take the breath away. The history, music, rune stones, old religions... Thou ancient, indeed.


Wait: If du is singular, why do the verbs end with "a"?, like gamla. Shouldn't it be gammal?


The -a forms here are definite singular, not indefinite plural.


Oh ok, thanks!!


The audio sounds odd. More like 'sia' than 'fria'

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