"Vi äter olika mat."

Translation:We are eating different food.

December 6, 2014

This discussion is locked.


Why is it "olika" and not "olik"? "Mat" is singular and undefined.


Because "mat" is the same in singular as in plural". It's like "water" in English. You can't have one water, and you can't have "en/ett mat". However, you can have a lot of water, "en massa mat".

I hope this to some extent answers your question :)


I think you meant 'en massa vatten'?

  1. We eat different food = the food that you and I eat is different from the food that others eat.
  2. We eat different foods = The food that I eat is different from the food that you eat.

Which does the Swedish mean?


Both "food" and "foods" are accepted translations, but personally it makes me think of the second one. I would translate the first as "Vi äter (en) annan mat (än dem)" ("än dem" = "than them").


Why is different foods not accepted?


For some stupid reason I still sometimes translate 'mat' into 'meat' instead of 'food' :(


Not so stupid. In older English, "meat" was the general term for food. Cf. "one man's meat is another man's poison."


It is the same for the French word "viande", from Latin "vivenda/vivanda", which originally was a general term for food. It replaced the original term "carn/charn/char/chair" = "flesh"


Even with glances of explanations down here I admit I'm still not sure why 'olika' and not 'olik' (if olik is indeed degree zero of the adj) : it mat here simply considered as a plural ? Or is it basically the way it works for uncountable concepts in Swedish ?


I'm no expert, but it seems that 'mat' is being construed as plural. The Swedish 'mat' seems to be like the English 'food' in that you can use it as either a count or a non-count noun. So the Duo translation could also read 'We eat different foods', I would say.


'Olika' reminds me of 'alike' so much that the real meaning seems strange.


The first letter "O" implies "the opposite". Möjlig/omöglig. Vanlig/ovanlig. Lik/olik.


Beware, you accidentally spelled it "omöglig" which means non-moldy...


Oops, my bad. Omöjlig is bättre. Tack.


So is "mat" plural here? Is it one of the very few gender nouns which don't take any ending in the plural, like mil, fot, tum (as measures)?


I think that you could see "mat" as a collective noun

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