Translation:She discovered that he was unusually stupid.
If it took her some time to discover it, we can't say much about her level of intelligence...
I don't know – I think it was on their first date when he took her out for surströmming. :)
curious question, I was taught long ago that dumb is not being to know that you are so, but stupid is being aware yet deciding to make poor choice regardless. Is there a similar distinction in Swedish?
In British English we barely use dumb because of connotations with mute people. I imagine the distinction you describe may be only in American English.
Could Swedish also use "är" instead of "var" in this sentence? I.e., "... att han är ..."
Yes, definitely, though it's usually a lot more common to just use the past tense. There's no real reason for it, as far as I'm aware. German, for instance, also allows for both but heavily favours the present.
My father speaks German natively, and Swedish on a native level, well enough that almost nobody would think him anything but Swedish. This construction is one of very few that might still betray him as a non-native.
That said, if the "he" in this sentence was stupid but then somehow increased his intelligence, obviously you would need to stick to the past tense.
Whats the distinction between stupid and dumb, because dumb isn't accepted
For those who were saying this was a mysoginistic or machista course, here you have a counterbalancing example.
The problem I have with this sentence is the use of "discovered". To my mind the quality of unusual stupidity in a person is something another can notice, but not discover. Therefore I keep wanting to type "She noticed that he was unusually stupid", but I keep getting corrected to "she discovered...". Perhaps that is something one can discover in Swedish, but as a native English speaker I think we are more likely to use "notice" if we had a reason to describe this situation.
'noticed' isn't that great since then we'd say märkte, which would also be a great Swedish sentence. But maybe we should have had 'found out' as the main English translation.
As a native speaker of American English, I am perfectly comfortable with 'discovered' in this sentence. In fact, there is something wonderfully comical about the idea of 'discovery' of 'unusual stupidity' -- as if we are all collectors of dreadful dating experiences and we have just encountered one for the record books. But of course, that's just me... :)
It does sound funnier with upptäckte in Swedish too, and it's closer in meaning. Also, no one has complained about the choice of verb on the English to Swedish version of the sentence, so it might be more of a personal preference on RiiaC:s part. It's easy enough to find loads of similar examples in real texts online. :]
I absolutely agree. It adds a startle factor. I imagine an arranged date with the handsome trust-fund guy who also has a snygg bil but never had to learn or actually function on his own, or the classic sports figure who never actually learned to read. A friend once told me of landing a dream date with a model only to report later that it was a lot like trying to have a conversation with a really beautiful horse. Somehow we assume more -- which makes the upptäckte comically delightful!
Yep. Discovered works perfectly. I would go as far as to say it is the most idiomatic way to phrase this sentence.
Maybe she's a scientist and he is a test subject. He may not even be human- perhaps she's studying intelligence in dogs and this particular specimen is unusually stupid. The context that jumps to one's mind first in these weird sentences may not always be the most appropriate.