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  5. "Det är knappast en spindel!"

"Det är knappast en spindel!"

Translation:It is hardly a spider!

December 1, 2014

42 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lesliewilman

Why? Does it have only seven legs? Has it not yet hatched? I struggle to imagine a context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gertyb

Det var bara en harvestman: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opiliones

Commonly mistaken for spiders, but completely harmless! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

In Swedish, it's called en lockespindel.

knappast in this sentence means 'hardly' as in 'it is unlikely that it is a spider'. So I could be claiming that some dark spot on the wall is an insect and you'd disagree with me. You're just saying that you don't think Object X is a spider.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IanCaliban

The English rendering leaves something to be desired for a native speaker.

In the sentence given, hardly is read as synonymous with barely, turning the sentence into something akin to It only just qualifies as a spider.

Much more natural in English is I don't think/believe that's a spider or the more emphatic There's no way that's a spider.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/maryrosemary

I had understood it the wrong way too ahah, even though English is not my native tongue.

For those of you who speak Italian, I think that "Difficilmente è un ragno" is an accurate translation in this case. The English translation made me think of "è quasi un ragno", which is not the actual meaning of the Swedish sentence!

Is it of any help for someone? :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tom98033

The word hardly doesn't mean what you think it does.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

It really does, but it has other senses as well, and many natives - like you, Ian, and Leslie - are not accustomed to this sense used in this manner. We've had several other natives look at the sentence as well, so it's not just Swedes trying to teach English, and the sentence does not have high error rates, so most people appear to understand it.

I'm not saying the sentence is good, nor that you're understanding your native language wrong. Clearly, any sentence that results in unnecessary problems for a lot of our users is a good candidate for change or removal. But just writing that we don't understand a word is hardly constructive.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arkonide

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the English translation given by Duo. When used as an interjection (here it actually is, hence the exclamation mark), 'hardly' can mean: certainly not, far from it! (Source: Oxford English Reference Dictionary) So, if someone claims that looks like a spider, the answer can be: That is hardly a spider (it actually is 'just' a beetle). By the way, I am not a native English speaker.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Embla_

'hooiwagen' in dutch (haywagon), I like the names for these things! (my dad used to call them 'play spiders' so we wouldn't be scared :P)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Victor-Lecomte

It was changed forever when it found that ring in the riverbed.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cathmach

I think the problem with "barely" is that it is a synonym of "hardly" when that means "only just/almost not" (e.g. "She was hardly/barely able to speak") but not when "hardly" means "probably/definitely not" (e.g. "That's hardly surprising"). In this sentence "knappast" means "hardly" in the second sense, so that's why "barely" isn't accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/takver

what about 'barely' as well? It seems to me like a pretty exact synonym for 'hardly' in this context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CsabaDaday

Hardly is often used as a euphemism for "clearly not." Like "I am hardly an expert on this, but..." Barely is used literally. "That is hardly a spider!" Can be used in a debate when you and another person. "What is that insect there? A spider?" "I am not sure but it is hardly a spider, it has wings and feathers!" "Barely a spider" would be used for a very very small spider I guess but just sounds strange to me. However, I have no idea if the above applies to the Swedish word too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yuki_Shiro

A spider is hardly an insect :).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wowa269009

A spider is not at all an insect. This sounds to me more logical.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sustained

Are "knappt" and "knappast" synonymous?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelenCarlsson

Knappt normally means "a little less than": Han väger knappt 80 kg.

Knappast means "almost not": Jag kunde knappast ta mig över den hårt trafikerade vägen.
Knappt works here as well: Jag kunde knappt ta mig över den hårt trafikerade vägen.
(I could hardly cross the busy road.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sustained

Ah okay, so the opposite of drygt then!

I thought I had seen cases where knappt was used in place of knappast but I must have been mistaken.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelenCarlsson

Exactly, "knappt" is normally the opposite of "drygt" :).

But "knappt" can also be used instead of "knappast" (see my examples above).

I just realized that "knappast" actually can be used in my first sentence, but then with a different meaning:
Han väger knappt 80 kg - He weighs a bit less than 80 kg but
Han väger knappast 80 kg - He almost surely doesn't weigh 80 kg


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tim_Erlandsson

"That's definitely not a spider!" is a correct answer, but, it was not accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

"definitely not" is not a correct translation of knappast.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tim_Erlandsson

Even though "definitely not" isn't a direct translation of "knappast," it can still be used as an equivalent of it in this kind of situation. Take, for example, a situation where person A asks person B if they want a cookie, and they respond with, "knappast". That would be a way to say no said question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

It would still mean "hardly". Please bear in mind that this is a language course for beginners. We're not trying to teach finer nuances between specific phrases. You obviously speak native Swedish, so you can afford the luxury of considering such equalities, but most people here cannot - it would be detrimental to their learning experience.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tim_Erlandsson

I see, I was not aware of the limited extent of the course. I am sorry for any inconvenience caused as of this. You are welcome to ignore my recent comments on the site. I will stick to commenting on more basic mistakes/gaps in the future. Although, my foremost language is English, and my Swedish is definitely more of a riddle, especially when it comes to my vocabulary being more old-school because of this (I am also only fifteen, so that further forwards my sake of you ignoring my, in this situation, clueless rambling.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

No need to apologise. I'm grateful for the input, whether I agree with it or not. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Peter292948

Thanks @Tim_Erlandsson, now it makes sense! :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Matt92HUN

Why is barely wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Matias426045

See the comments above.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NordicWay

So the -ast ending its not coming from the superlative ending right? it s just a coincidence?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

Quite the contrary, actually - it does originally come from the superlative knappast, from the adjective knapp. The adjective means "scarce", so the superlative was "scarcely", so to speak. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Salva265354

Denna fras har knappast någon mening.

I think one of the underlying problem of Duolingo, given that is anyway a great platform to learn, is a lack of "accountability" when it comes to people who contribute those kind of sentences, and unfortunately there are several instances of really odd and pretty much meaningless and sometimes also kinda creepy sentences sprinkled all over the place. A contributor who makes too many of these mistakes should be in my humble opinion prevented to add any other nonsense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

Many of those are marked for future deletion and none of the contributors who added them are still involved in the course.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/C0C0PANTH3R

In my experience, "knappast" is usually used in context where it's like, "Is it a spider? Oh, I guess it IS a spider." So kind of like "finally"?!? I don't know, I'm probably wrong but I feel like I've heard "knappast" used in that way. Maybe I inferred wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

No, sorry. It cannot mean that at all.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chaz.smith

Poor spider, you hurt his feelings. That's a blow to his confidence, he IS a real spider. Haha


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HaroldWonh

This is a nonsense sentence. It is either a spider or not.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

I imagine this phrase would primarily be used for e.g. satirical purposes. I could easily imagine a British panel show with a scenario like

Host: *shows image of weird-looking animal*
Contestant 1: What on earth is that?
Contestant 2: I think... it might be an elephant from the back?
Contestant 3: Well, it's hardly a spider.
Audience: HAHAHAHA
Jimmy Carr: Ca-caw!

Besides, I don't mind a little nonsense now and then. I find that throwing people an occasional curveball may even facilitate learning.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Antti22

I wholeheartedly agree on the part about curveball facilitating learning. A little nonsense makes me think about the word slightly differently and gives me another perspective. So thank you, semi-spider, for teaching me the word knappast!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HaroldWonh

I see your point about lightness in these lessons. But I am married to a VERY scientific woman, and so . . . "Curveball" - DL is so good at showing up my ignorance of American culture! Let me see: I know it's about baseball . . .


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

I suppose we could talk about spin bowlers instead - I can't imagine many Americans having heard of those. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/danielmccord

This should do the trick. Find one of these in a dark basement or staircase and see what you say. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhaphidophoridae

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