"Those are its plates" is accepted as correct. 'Det' is indeed 'those' just like you want. The plates belong to "it". We don't know what it is, but it has plates. Those are its plates!
(However, it is could also be valid, instead of those are; read other comments for detail). Also, "they are" is technically a more correct translation than "those are" because it doesn't include the extra information about proximity.
It could for example be the plates that belong to a restaurant:
"Det är restaurangens tallrikar"
"Det är dess tallrikar"
The phrase sounds slightly odd. "Dess" is normally used in a subordinate clause of a very long sentence, but I guess there are not enough words at this stage to construct something more realistic.
I remember when I was in grade school (maybe 7 or 8 years old), doing my homework, and complaining out loud, "I can't do spelling!" My big sister happened to be in the room and she said, "Yes you can. What are you trying to spell?" I couldn't remember how to spell "their" - was it "ei" or "ie"?! She said, "It's easy; all three of the 'theres' start with 'the.' " That made it so easy. More importantly, the "voice of authority" of my smarter, older sister announcing that I COULD learn to spell, and then proving it with the little tip about "the," gave me confidence that lasted. She did a really good thing for me that day.
I wonder if people give up on learning the correct spelling (cenTk) or on learning a foreign language (Sandi_e) because they get frustrated and decide it is something they will never be able to achieve.
Come to think of it, without the help of the mods on DuoLingo, I might have quit working on my Swedish. I've been frustrated many times about a particular sentence and getting an explanation and individual help from a mod has kept my enthusiasm going.
It might be less confusing if, when you hover over "Det", it gave "those" along with "it - what - the" as the English translation. Otherwise, it seems the correct translation is "It is its plates", which the program accepts as the right answer, which seems grammatically odd in matching "It is" singular with "plates" plural. "Those are its plates" makes sense.
This one had me pulling my hair out (have read all below...the only way I can structure this is in reply to a question (shown below but they were NOT the right questions, sorry) Q. what IS it you like best about THIS restaurant...will evince the reply here...of A. It is its plates!... the present tense is kept throughout as the convo is happening NOW and IN the restaurant ....So the statement CAN exist without absurdity...it is the question which is missing which can/will throw English speakers... Thanks all interesting little side topic (first time I have been moved to click the 'more discussion button...lol)
In Swedish, we use det är as a presenting construction for things, and det does not change in gender or number with what is introduced.
In English however, the pronoun changes with what is introduced, so that for plural nouns, you don't want to say it when introducing them:
Det är min bok It's my book
Det är mitt hus It's my house
Det är mina sockar Those are my socks
In the given example: "Det är dess tallrikar" the meaning of "dess" is "its". "Dess" has a more widely meaning though. Let me give you an example: "Dess mer du arbeter, dess rikare blir du" can also means "Ju mer du arbetar, desto rikare blir du" (eng: the more you work, the richer you get). The best translation for "dess" would be "the" even though there's no synonym for this word in english. "Dess" is though a word very few are using in real life. I also have to add that my language is norwegian and not swedish.
In Swedish, it’s much more common to use ju…desto or ju…ju than the variations with dess, even though they exist. The primary meaning of dess is still ’its’. It’s a word that’s more common in the written language but still exists in the spoken language and I imagine it’s used more in Swedish than in Norwegian that often uses dets or some garpe-construction instead.
i have a rather academic question. ju...desto and ju..ju sound familiar, in german there are je...desto/umso/je although the combination je...je sounds wrong to me and according to a well known grammar wise guy it is old fashioned. is it the same with ju...ju in swedish and ju...desto is more common nowadays?
Some speakers do that, but you can't always use their. Do you call a light-pole "they"? No, you do not. Most inanimate objects are treated as such. We use different pronouns with inanimate objects.
The exercise asks you to translate the pronoun dess and we don't know what dess is referring to. We do know it's not plural like your reference to Google (that would use deras). We also know it is not referring to a male or female (that would use hans or hennes). It's singular inanimate, like a tree, and should probably be translated as such.
Q: "What are those things hanging on the tree?" A: "Those are its plates".
Also, there's a typo in your question. That its shouldn't have an apostrophe.
But the example used is one where "their" would be used in English.
I understand what you are saying, but the example sentences do not communicate the concept it's trying to teach in English. It is constructed in an unnatural way for English speakers.
As for your example question, "What are those things hanging on the tree?". An English speaker would reply, "Those are plates" or simply, "Plates".
The exercise does not specify. You don't know if the context could allow you to use "their". Even if it did, you don't have to. Not everyone refers to an inanimate restaurant as if it was people. The restaurant has a roof. That is its roof. The restaurant has received all new plates. Its plates are new. What are all the boxes out back? Those are its old plates. So, when translating dess, "its" can work in any context, but "their" is only possible in some contexts.
If you can't do silly, or your imagination fails to think of a scenario where we could indicate inanimate possession of plates or one that uses a genitive when referring to a tree, then read the example I gave earlier using "pollution". Pollution is an abstract inanimate thing, but it is able to possess without referring to it as people. In that comment you will see what dess is for and why we translate it to its.
If a Swedish speaker wants to treat an inanimate restaurant as people, as you do, they could instead use deras which does translate to their. "Jag kommer att gå till restaurangen och slå sönder deras tallrikar!".
I guess my point is that in English it is uncommon for a person to talk about a restaurant in its inanimate form. It sounds unnatural and is not helping to convey the concept you think it does.
Thank you for the extra examples though. I do understand better now. I just disagree with the sentence in the program.
Q: "What is that package in the kitchen" A: "it is its plates". This could mean the plates that belong to the kitchen are the package. They're bundled to make a package. Or Q: " What is the cause of all that noise in the kitchen?" A: "It is its plates". The cause of the kitchen noise is the plates that belong to that kitchen; collectively, they are the cause. Those plates are its worst aspect. Its plates are a nuisance. However, the version of this exercise that I actually received is multiple choice and the answer is "Those are its plates" which is easier to imagine used than "it is its plates", even if both versions are possible translations.
'These' is the plural form of 'this', and 'those' is the plural form of 'that' In Swedish, 'this' is 'den här' or 'det här' and 'these' is 'de här'. 'That' is den där' or 'det där' and 'those' is 'de där'. There is also a literary form 'denna/detta' for this/that and 'dessa' for 'these/those'. (Following this literary form, the indefinite, not the definite, form of the noun is used.) Finally, 'den/det' and 'de' can sometimes be used to mean 'that' instead of 'the'.
Some dictionaries claim that detta corresponds to both this and that, maybe because it's mainly used in the kind of context where either works in English, because that's what very abstract contexts tend to be like. In this course however, detta/denna/dessa are only allowed to be this and these. This corresponds better to how detta is used in the parts of the country where detta is used in informal speech.
Yes. its is for inanimate things, as is dess.
You would say "The study talked about pollution and its effects on global warming". Pollution is not a person. For the same reason, you would use dess to translate my example. Both English and Swedish use different pronouns for inanimate things than for males/females.
I think it's a question of singular vs. plural rather than animate vs. inanimate. English does use 'their' for inanimate in the plural: e.g., 'pollution and industrialization and their effects ...'
its = dess
their = deras
That is why "their" is not accepted in the Duolingo sentence being discussed here, I believe.
Thanks for improving my answer. I might have been barking up the wrong tree.
I think there's a good case for sometimes translating between dess and their. In English, it's so common to refer to certain inanimate entities with they and their. We can personalize it, if the entity consists of people. For example, "Microsoft put out its newest release." and "Microsoft put out their newest release." would both be common. This might be what led to the question we are responding to about this exercise. In our exercise, we don't know the context and I would generally want to say dess should only be its but, if we knew it referred to a library run by people, we might want to allow translating to their.
"Those are its dishes" should also be accepted.
"Dishes" and "plates" can be synonymous.
"Dishes" can also mean all the stuff you use to eat - plates, knives, forks, spoons, cups, glasses - "Do the dishes" or "Wash the dishes." "Dishes" can also mean a significant food item, such as "Lasagna is a favorite dish of mine."
But "dishes" and "plates" are used interchangeably in many instances.
If someone asks, "Where do you keep your dishes?" they are not talking about forks, knives, or glasses.
(I submitted it, so maybe it will be accepted in the future.)
Sigrid, is it the translation into English that you find strange, or is it the original Swedish that you find strange?
In my opinion, the English we are given is a reasonable translation of the Swedish we are given.
As for the original Swedish sentence -- yes, it is unusual, but see the other comments on this page as to whether it is reasonable or not.
If the original Swedish is strange, and the translation is a good/valid one, then the English too will sound strange.
In other words, one has to distinguish between (1) the source language, (2) the target language, (3) the translation.
If the sentence in the target language is odd, it may be because the translation is bad, or because the original source language sentence is odd.
In the case here, I don't think anyone (except maybe Sigrid?) is saying that the translation here is a bad one.
Sorry, I did not want to raise such a great discussion. I don´t know if the Swedish sentence is strange. I´m just learning, and I have to say: I am doing that with great joy. The English translation sounds strange to me. Maybe it would be easier for me, if Duolingo would have a Swedish-German-Course.
Yeah, using the word "plates" was not a really good decision, according to many of us. I appreciate learning the concept that was intended to be taught with this sentence, the possessive of "it" in Swedish. Substituting a different noun for "plates" would fix it. There is nothing to be done right now, but in future this sentence will evidently be changed or deleted. Oh well, we all make mistakes, right?
You see "det" at the beginning of a sentence much more often than "den".
"Den" is used at the beginning of a sentence to refer to a previously mentioned singular non-neuter noun that does not refer to a person. For example:
Jag har en bok. Den star i bokhyllan.
Similarly, "det" is used at the beginning of a sentence to refer to a previously mentioned singular neuter noun that does not refer to a person. For example:
Jag har ett hus. Det är stort.
However, "det" also has many other functions in Swedish. Among these is to serve as a placeholder or formal subject. For example:
Det är dumt att försöka = It is stupid to try
Det har hänt en olycka = There has been an accident
Note that this "placeholder" function, using "it", also occurs in English. Instead of saying "To try is stupid", we usually say "It is stupid to try".
In English, the demonstrative pronoun at the beginning of the sentence must match the varb and noun in the predicate of the sentence:
1. That is my dog
2. Those are my dogs
In Swedish, "det är" would be used to translate both of the sentences above. The only difference would be the grammatical number of the noun in the predicate (hund v. hundar).
Yes, it is incorrect English.
For one thing, "It is" doesn't go with "plates." Singular and plural have to match in English. You'd have to say, "They are its plates" or "It is its plate."
I think this is a case of Swedish preferring to start a sentence with, "It is...," regardless of whether the words following it will be singular or plural. It's kind of a set phrase in Swedish.
Jeanbean, the official DL translation at the top of this page is "Those are its plates", not "It is its plates". I agree with you that the latter is incorrect English, but the former uses the plural word "those", and so the English sentence is quite correct.
As for the Swedish, my point of view is not that "Det är" always means "It is" and that therefore sometimes Swedish uses "It is" when referring to plural entities. Rather, my view is that Swedish "Det är" sometimes means "it is" and sometimes "they are". In other words, in this topical use, "Det" can be either singular or plural.
It's already been revised at least once, which might have made half of the comments a bit obsolete. However, it was actually fine before the revision and it's still fine after the revision. The speech (not speach) in these exercises mostly only seems abnormal to people because of the lack of context. We rely on context more than we think. Nobody would have batted an eye if they heard these phrases in conversation on the street. So, the only way to make the exercises more "normal" would be to redo the course to give paragraphs (and pictures) rather than just short phrases with no context. and seriously, what else could you possibly do to this exercise to make it better? They would have done it already if there was something. I think they gave up on developing new skill trees but the volunteers would have left this one out of the new one to spare themselves the complaints and maybe just not taught people dess at all. By the way, there are no paid Swedish course developers and I don't think it's productive to beat this dead horse any further after it's been covered so thoroughly on this page.
I think it's good that the sentence confused people. That sparked a lot of good discussion where quite a few of us were able to learn something more about the Swedish language. It's not a criticism of the DuoLingo developers. It's a frustration with not being able to understand and wanting to know for sure what is accurate.
Sometimes it's hard to know whether to overlook the awkward sentence as "it just doesn't translate easily to English," or report it as incorrect because the English translation really doesn't make sense at all or is grammatically incorrect.
But the discussion is good and doesn't necessarily mean the item needs to be changed by DuoLingo or completely explained by a developer.
I say, talk on, people. This is how we learn.