"Sjutton också!"

Translation:Darn it!

December 5, 2014

This discussion is locked.


Wonder what the story behind "Seventeen too!" being an idiom?


Turns out it's a Scandinavian thing to use numbers instead of swear words. The background is that 18 was a dangerous number since it was the number of the main Nordic god Oden, (aka Odin in English), and then 17 was a little less dangerous.

Edit: the first link no longer works. Go to this page and search for the word 'sjutton', I can't seem to find a way to link to the search result. (The text is in Swedish).


Wow. Thanks for that - fascinating. BTW really enjoying Swedish - you guys did a great job. I'm able to look at Swedish websites and pick out words and get about 15-20% of the picture. So it's working!


Thank you! Swedish shouldn't be that hard for someone who knows English already, I think, although some things may be a little tricky.


I know English and bad German, so I'm finding it pretty enlightening :)

I don't know if I will ever be able to speak it, but its crazy fun seeing how much they are like three lost cousins...


Try Dutch next, then! (Even the name seems Deutsch).

Once I heard people speaking Dutch, and I was like....that's English....no, that's German....no, no, it's English.......wait....


The Netherlands was the first country I visited where I didn't know any of the language. Overhearing it sounded a lot like English, but I couldn't make out the words. The prosody is identical to English and there are many similar words.


Another very close group is the Romance Languages: Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and French. Once you learn two of them, the others are just connections.

The most interesting part is how much German seems to match Italian and Portuguese, sometimes more than English (in constructions and rules, mainly).

Learning all that language pack is like seeing them all together coming from the same origin.


That's interesting, because Italian is probably the closest modern language to Latin. Are there a lot of Latin roots in German?


Good topic! One of the most interesting things I read about modern German is that it came together as a sort of umbrella dialect created to be as understandable as possible to various german states. The details are lost in the porridge that is my brain, but I think the idea is fascinating given how close some modern language families are...


An Italian friend of mine once said Italian was basically Spanish with an O on the end. I was able to figure out a surprising amount of Italian from my high school Spanish as well as Dutch from my 1 1/2 year living in Hamburg and dating a man there for the last 7 months who didn't speak any English. :-) I was far more fluent in German than after 2 years of Spanish. :-) Nothing like loads of real life practice.


Swedish has unexpected similarities with Russian. What I cannot figure out with English or the remnants of German, I can do so with Russian :)


Absolutely! It's also on some deeper grammatical level rather than modern vocabulary


Yes, the US Foreign service rates it as one of the easiest languages for Americans to learn, but that still means it takes about 600 hours to master. "Easy" is relative in language acquisition.


Sir sir (or ma'am, I don't know, it's the internet). I did not come online to be told the honest truth. I want to be lied to. Also I have been doing this for 13 months and feel like I have made no progress.


Working my way through Harry Potter 1 in Swedish. Getting a lot and having a great time!


Where are you? I'm having trouble finding books in Swedish. I found a great bookstore online, but they don't ship to the States. :(


If you are in the NYC area, the Church of Sweden has used Swedish children's books that you can buy for $1. They also sale yummy Swedish cinnamon buns! This has been the only place I have found actual Swedish books.


I was able to get "Harry Potter och De Vises Sten" off of Amazon. I can't remember if it was UK or US, but they shipped to the US.


The Strand in NYC has some books in Swedish in the basement. Ikea in Brooklyn has lots on display but they aren't for sale! Maybe we should contact them against the inevitable time when they change décor. I occasionally see books in Danish put out on the street in Bkln; once in a blue moon in Swedish. Norwegian ones are more expensive and their owners don't part with them so lightly.


I get mine shipped to the UK from Sweden. Try www.rabensjogren.se www.Bokus.com www.cdon.se and www.Buuks.se


Seems like you might be able to get some from Ebay


Amazon now has most of the books in hardcover. They are pricey, though! You can get any of the HP on kindle for under 10 dollars US, and you can get the audiobooks for about 30 US each.


What a coincidence! I have been watching the game playthroughs and skipping to the dialogues to train my ear. XD


I totally agree. It's a great language course.


You can also say attan också which is a variant of arton (18).


This makes my inner nerd happy on so many levels I think I may explode :D


In Italy some people consider 17 an unlucky number. I wonder if it trickled down form Odin as well.


That actually comes from the Romans. It is considered unlucky because written in Latin numerals it's XVII, which is the anagram of "VIXI", i.e. "i died" (literally "I have lived"). :) That is kind of similar to what happens to number 4 in chinese, japanese and korean, because it has the same pronunciation as "death".


There is a number pun my grandson told me. "Why is six afraid? Because seven eight (ate) nine."


What does zero say to eight?

Nice belt.


Math teacher groaning.


Wow, that is interesting. Not something I would have ever thought of googling... so thanks!


In China, the buildings have their floors numbered this way: 1,2,3, (skip 4) 5,...,10,11,12, (skip 13 and 14)15...

Also, people in China will to pay more to have a phone number with 8 in it, because it sounds like "prosper", and thus it is believed to be a lucky number.


I worked at a large casino/resort in Las Vegas... In one of the hotel towers, they skipped the 40th floors because of the 4 "thing" in the eastern cultures. It went from floor 39 and the next one up was 50. I knew it was because 4 was "unlucky" somehow, but I didn't ever find out why. Interesting it's because of the pronunciation of "death".


Interesting to hear that in Latin, “(to) die” is translated to “(to) have lived”. It's the same (or similar to that) in Polish: “Nie żyć” translates to “(to) not live”, meaning to have died. There's a separate verb for dying nonetheless, but this one seems to be more in use as far as I can tell. :D


You know literally everything, Arnauti.


He's related to Duo.


Wait, have you ever seen them together? Maybe he is Duo.


He's either a professional quizmaster or any Trivial Pursuit's round's greatest threat. He would just blast the whole game and rush ahead with great force.


Hence the owl avatar.


The link no longer works but I would like to read about this, do you know if there is somewhere else I can go to do so? My google search gave way to no results unfortunately.


the link is broken on the "go to this page" and search for sjutton


I didn't look at the hovertext, so I just put in 'seventeen also!' (and wondered what the heck kind of a sentence that was). Imagine my surprise when it was correct, but: Another correct solution: Darn it!


How would you use this in a conversation?


On it's own, as a reaction to something that upsets you.


There are several mild swears in Swedish that might surprise English speakers. But I probably won't start that discussion here. :)


And several not-so-mild English swear words used in casual conversation. Can be a shock to a Brit to hear words used on the radio in the middle of the day that would constitute a firing offence back home! I guess words lose a lot of their cultural context when they are adopted by other languages, swear words included.


I had this while I was doing the Norwegian course. I was listening to Norwegian radio one morning, 0830 for me, so 0930 in Norway. Pretty standard family-friendly breakfast show, I thought. They had a phone-in competition where the contestant, in one question, had to identify the bleeped-out word from a movie quote. The clip they played was of Samuel L. Jackson explaining, in his famous style, that he had had it with all these snakes on a plane. I was surprisingly shocked to hear the quote played in full - but what made it a lot weirder was that they'd bleeped the word 'snakes' for the question.


good to hear, the Dutch do this too (kinda) so I've taken to saying "fornication under something of the king" and "rude word for feaces" (does duolingo censor?) quite often. (fixed :P)


Yes, using that kind of expressions is actually against the Duo guidelines, even if you use asterisks, so if you could edit your comment it would be great. (But don't delete it, that will just leave one of those ugly [deleted] marks).

Edit: thanks!


Under command.


Is this a modern, everyday phrase in Sweden, or is it archaic?


No, it’s definitely used. It’s very mild though.


Could this not be translated as "damn it"?


I think we're not actually allowed to add that as accepted translations because of Duolingo's no swearing policy.


Tack för att lära oss detta ! En mer skäl att älska er!


*Tack för att ni lär oss detta! Ännu ett skäl att älska er!

  • 1783

Du är en sann svenskar! Mycket tack för att korrigera våra fel.


I imagine if someone really needed you use this phrase, like "What are the winning numbers?" - "20, 17 also". And it would sound like "20, darn it".

  • 1783

Damn it, not Darn it! trodde jag, men engelska är inte mitt modersmål. Kan någon berätta för mig vad som är skillnaden mellan dem?


"Damn", literally to curse or condemn. "Darn", literally to mend or repair, with yarn (as in socks, see the pun above in Beanybadgers post). However, in some versions of English "darn" is used to avoid saying "damn" ("Goshdarn it", instead of "God damn it") so in that sense "darn"(not-quite "damn") is a perfect equivalent to "sjutton". I have also seen "Dang" used in this way.


"Darn" is used mostly by US English speakers; Brits would generally just say "Damn" (which I wouldn't really consider as swearing... But then the word is probably stronger for many Americans because of their much greater Christian sensitivities. Cf. gosh and God)


Also dagnabbit

Any arrangement of gosh/goll - dag/dang/darn - it.

I think there are dozens, lol.


One of my favorite little kid jokes is 'Heck is for people who don't believe in Gosh.' :)

  • 1783

Tack för svaret. Du har rätt, "sjutton också" är en mindre stark förbannelse. Jag kände inte ordet "darn", så du lärde mig något! Tack för förklaringen och berättelsen. O, ik zie dat je goed bent in Nederlands, dus we hadden ook in het Nederlands kunnen converseren!


this looks like German "verflixt", to avoid "verflucht"


I would advocate for a separate lesson in common Swedish idioms. Because you hit one of these and go "What the heck, how would I know that?" I guess I'm weird-- I'd rather learn something and get it right, than get something wrong and then learn it.


Well, that was unexpected!

  • 1783

Bli inte förvånad, men dra nytta av det!


sjutton också = darn it, det var som sjutton = i'll be darned

  • 1783

Du har rätt, det är en liten skillnad mellan båda i betydelse. Men du hade glömt att nämna "fy sjutton". En tredje fras som har en sådan betydelse.


So, how would you write it in Swedish if you really wanted to say, "seventeen also"? As in my son is 17, how old is yours? Seventeen also. I guess to be grammatically correct in English, we would say, "Also seventeen" or "He is also seventeen". Tack!


Också sjutton or Sjutton också both work. It'd be obvious what you meant.


This is such a fun question. I can't believe I never thought to ask it before. Thanks!


Do Swedes use this alot?


Not a lot perhaps, but it's not uncommon either. Like Lundgren8 mentioned above, it's very mild though.

  • 1783

Zmrzlina: Jag håller med! Själv använder jag aldrig dessa ord när jag behöver en förbannelse!


En svordom. "Förbannelse" means a curse in the sense of cursing someone with magic.

  • 1783

Ja, du har rätt, jag har fel. Svordom är det rätt ordet jag menade, inte förbannelse. Svenska är mitt modersmål, men jag har bott i Nederländerna i många år sedan jag var ett barn och jag använder detta språk inte den nog. Att inte glömma min Svenska övar jag det med Duolingo.


While on the subject of swear words, my "sex år gammal barnbarn" was very alarmed when she heard your Swedish pronunciation(!?), on my phone, for the translation of English "forty". It sounds totally different and less offensive in GoogTranslate.


For reference, this is the page: https://www.duolingo.com/dictionary/Swedish/fyrtio/888b84cad41c6d635ffc41220f2e689b

The audio is honestly not that bad. I can see why someone might mishear it in English, but that's not really a reason to change it.


So, wait, she thought it was a swear in English or in Swedish?


The recording can sound a bit like "futt you" to someone who knows very little Swedish. I can easily see a six-year-old confusing it for the close English swear.


That's what I thought. I was wondering if I had the opportunity to increase my Swedish vocabulary. :-)

When my son was two, he used to very courteously hold the door open and say Eff you. He couldn't quite say after.


Aww, that's cute. :) Yeah, my son showed the whole family the other week that his middle finger hurt... you can guess how...


Thank you for the detailed explanation. I agree with the other comments that it is this sort of idiomatic detail that brings the language to life.


the translation is also : damn it.


My brain translated "17 again" and I was so confused but reading the comments makes it funnier than confusing


Haha I'm Dutch and leaning Swedish makes me go: wait it is kind of logical and at other times it makes no sense at all. I guess Dutch is a mix between all kinds of languages. It's fun. Try it!


One thing I have wondered about ... is that, in English, we say "shoot" (at least here in the southeastern USA) to avoid saying the four letter word beginning with s that I shall not mention here ... and I have often wondered if maybe also "sjutton" is used as a similar alternative word for the similarly spelled Swedish swear word.


It isn't, see my top comment on this page.

  • 1333

Iirc one of the memrise decks has 'skit också' for damn. Is that legit?


Learn that one years ago in a book from the 50ies, and thought nobody bellow 85 would still understand it in Sweden!

[deactivated user]

    I love that this phrase was added. I had no idea about this history behind using numbers as swear words. <3


    People use this word usually? Haha

    • 1783

    Vissa människor, men inte jag, använder aldrig denna mening.


    A different way of writing it would be “❤❤❤❤❤❤” and—more exclusively American—“Doggone”. That's the idea behind this exclamation.

    Just saw that my first synonym mentioned was censored due to Duo's no-swearing policy. So, in case you wondered what it was, just pick your first word's last two letters and replace them with respectively an M and an N, and you see what was meant.


    How is this become like this.sjutton is seventeen i think so

    • 1666

    I’m grateful that idiomatic phrases are built into the Duo Swedish course. Without an awareness of the idiomatic elements of a language (and discussion of them) how can you not wind up handicapped? Much goes missing. I lament the reality that stories haven’t been developed and offered in Swedish. Duo Portuguese had a great number of stories that helped to build out the course in a BIG and valuable way. That’s entirely missing with the Swedish.

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