"The wolf eats the black duck."

Translation:Vargen äter den svarta ankan.

December 5, 2014

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Why is this "den svarta ankan" and not "de svart ankan"? I thought "svarta" was used for plural nouns.


Perhaps I answered my own question: http://www2.hhs.se/isa/swedish/chap5.htm#after

Since "den" is used to identify a <i>particular</i> black duck (and not just any black duck), the following adjective gets an "a" after it no matter what.


Yes, you have to show the definiteness in three places. By an article, by an adjective ending, and by a noun ending. So ”svart anka” turns to ”den svarta ankan”.

[deactivated user]

    This explanation is fine, its just a shame that the lessons on colours had no notes on this at all. There is nothing on using den in this way or the "a" ending. So muddgirl had to go trying to find an explanation that could have been easily provided where it was needed. I had just had this "den svarta ankan" encounter. It creates confusion and undermines confidence (or is that the aim?). Can lesson notes be added so that the learner does not feel ambushed?


    I totally agree with John Templer. It is really improtant for us to get the logic and rules behind certain grammatical things like this beforehand. Maybe when when topics like this first come up we can just have an introductory reading lesson which we can refer to for these rules. So we know what we're doing instead of just guessing and faking till we make it.


    It’s explained later in the lesson ”Adjectives 1”.

    [deactivated user]

      Yes that's exactly my point - its 7 modules after this sentence is first encountered which too late. Another rather obvious point - maybe this test sentence should be in the Adjectives 1 module instead of in Colours?


      I agree, this should either be introduced later on or explained beforehand. This is really confusing, I keep making mistakes.


      Is there really such a thing as definiteness of adjectives in Swedish, or is it merely a helpful way to think of this a-rule?


      Yes, that’s what it’s usually called when taught Swedish and in Swedish grammars, since it occurs in definite constructions and after possessives.

      Historically, it’s the same distinction that German and Icelandic have in weak/strong adjective declensions.


      I'm not sure I understand. Wouldn't this sentence translate to "The wolf eats it black duck" or something? Should I just not worry about it until I get to the adjectives lesson?

      [deactivated user]

        This one has tripped up a lot of us because most of us had not learned about this point by that particular lesson. It was pointless to have a question which students could not answer correctly at that stage. It will be covered later so don't worry about it. Just be prepared for other trick questions and incorrect faulting later on and in revision lessons as well.


        This concept is one of the more difficult for us English speakers, as a direct translation just sounds weird. But, now that I've been studying Swedish for a while, I think I'm finally getting the hang of it ......


        As an English speaker, myself, I would agree that the 'definite' wording takes a while and lots of practice to sink in. Of course, at first - at least to us - it seems like they are saying "the black the duck." So, I wonder if Swedes find the English way of saying it strange ????


        At least don't give us these kinds of sentences. Since when did we learn "den" ?


        The incorrect answer I submitted was: den svart ankan

        My thinking was: 1) The duck is definite, so it's ankan. 2) The color is in front of ankan, so there needs to be a double definite. Since anka is an en word, use den. 3) Black = svart for en/ett, svarta for plural. We are talking about one specific duck, so the word is svart.

        So, den svart ankan.

        According to muddgirl's link:

        "When an adjective is preceded by a word that points out or identifies the noun in question as a specific thing or person, or belonging to somebody, the adjective is weakened, and will only take the ending -a, no matter if it refers to an en word or an ett word or is in the singular or the plural. (With one exception: If the noun is a male person, the ending will be -e instead, a remnant of the old three-gender system"

        I just want to make sure... does this mean that, if you are using a color to describe a definite thing, you will always use the plural form of the color? If so, is this generalized to all adjectives and not just colors?



        In the indefinite singular form (a black duck), the translation is "En svart anka", But in the definite singular form (the black duck), the translation is "Den svarta ankan".

        So the adjective form (in singular) depends always on the indefinte/definite form of the article. If the article is "en/ett" the following adjective is "svart". If the article is "den/det", you always use the a-form of the adjective, in this case "svarta".

        You don't have to think about the adjective form every time, just follow the cue from the article and you'll always get it right.


        Thank you so much for explaining this in this way. I hadn't considered the definites and indefinites forms. It's very clear to me now. Tack så mycket!


        From the discussion above I understand that you mentioned above is the rule. Would like to get an opinion from someone experienced.


        I just wanted to say I'm glad it wasn't just me struggling with this one


        So "den" and "det" mean both "the" and "that" interchangeably??


        SFI online provides really good lesson notes when colours are introduced, with a table of all the forms (en, ett, plural) and I am pretty sure it also answer's muddgirl's question. This module needs a notes page pronto!


        Why isn't it Vargen äter svart ankan or Vargen äter ankan svart? Would those translate to The wolf eats black the duck and The wolf eats the duck black, respectively? Is that the reason, because it doesn't make sense?


        I suppose "Vargen äter ankan svart" would mean "The wolf eats the duck black" with svart being an adverb, which doesn't make any sense.

        "Vargen äter svart ankan" is grammatically incorrect because the adjective and the noun have to be congruent, which means that since "ankan" is the definite form, "svart" has to be used in its definite form "svarta" as well.

        I don't know why you apparently need the article "den", though.


        Neither do us natives know why the definiteness is doubly marked, but it is there nonetheless.


        The "den svarta" did not trip me up because I've already done the Danish course (which I think explains definites a lot better). There really should be notes for this.

        And there DEFINITELY should be notes to explain the use of "ankan" rather than "anka", because even knowing Danish this was a surprise. I accept that Swedish grammar requires a sort of double-definite (literally almost 'the black the duck') but that definitely is not obvious to an English-speaker and is the sort of thing that requires explanatory notes.


        My first thought was Is this accusative?


        This svarta ankan is not impressed with this sentence lol


        Why are we using the "den"?


        Why not "Vargen äter svart ankan"


        Thanks Lundgren8 for the explanation. I agree with JohnTempler.


        Are the words varje (every) and varg (the wolf) pronounced the same?


        Black ducks are cute though!

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