1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swedish
  4. >
  5. "Nationaldagen är en helgdag …

"Nationaldagen är en helgdag i många länder."

Translation:The National Day is a holiday in many countries.

December 10, 2014



At the start of a course, it is sort of customary here on Duolingo to spam the first sentence you see with a bunch of "thank you"s and "congratulations" to the people who curated the course.

I'm sure other people have done this, but since this is the final sentence of this course for me because I got this one wrong at the start, I want add my nonsense to the pile:

As one of the original Duolingo beta users, I never actually managed to finish any course tree before. I would get to about level 10 or so and then just... stop. I know that my thing here only says Swedish and some Japanese because of a placement test or whatever here, but I had actually been learning languages for a long time since the '90s. Since I was a kid, I had been teaching myself most of the Western European languages via library books but the Central and Northern European languages were always something that just sort of "escaped" me.

When I saw that the Swedish course was nearing completion a few years ago, which was around the same time as the Irish course if I remember right, I decided to abandon and erase all of the data on my account so that I could just try to start over from scratch. I wanted to make the Swedish course be my only thing so that I could better focus and try to actually accomplish something for once on here.

I started off on this Swedish course when it first came out and I only did stuff on here maybe once or twice a month on average for a long time. When I realized that I was only one "Page Down" keyboard press away from the end, I decided to start keeping a "Swedish vocabulary" notebook because one of the most frustrating things for me was not remembering all of the words. The Adverbs and Adjectives were definitely the hardest part, for me, but also the most important because I feel like using a lot of adverbs is what makes you sound like an advanced speaker.

Now, since it looks like I have finally reached the end, I want to thank all of you guys who made this course (since you're most likely going to be the only people who will end up actually reading this). I can't help but wonder which # I am in line among the people who have finished here.

From here, I expect that I will be able to improve mostly by trying to read news articles in Swedish and maybe looking for an Anki deck or whatever.


Thank you and good luck! I totally agree with you about the adverbs. I always wish I knew more adverbs in whatever language I'm studying. :)


The translation should be accepted without the "The" – National Day is a holiday in many countries.


"National Day" would be the name of a specific national day, whereas this sentence is about the concept of the national day in general.


I disagree. In American English, saying "National Day is a holiday ..." is somewhat more natural. There is no real need to distinguish between specific days or the concept in general. It is sufficiently clear from the context of the sentence.

This is just like we could say "Independence Day is a holiday in many countries" without implying they all celebrate the same date (July 4?!). Saying "The independence day is a holiday ..." would be very unnatural.

There are many other situations where Swedish (and other non-English) languages require a definite article to refer to a general concept while it is simply unnecessary in English.


I'm American and I agree with devalanteriel's first post.


Not all of us are Americans. I'm English, and "National Day is a holiday" sounds very odd to me!


Isn't it also true that the translation back into Swedish wouldn't work if the English didn't include "the"?


Not knowing to which national day the sentence refers certainly raises the difficulty level. Given context, it would be easy to translate, but not so much without.


This is an interesting discussion, and I'll throw in my two cents.

I think the English sentence is confusing to an American with or without the definite article, even if the Swedish sentence has not the same problem. I propose getting away from a word-for-word translation: "Many countries celebrate a national day." or "Many countries have a holiday on its respective national day."


It's generic so it needs the "the." The national day has different specific names in different countries. Here it's La fête du Canada/Canada Day. Since it's generic, it should be lowercase in English: "The national day..."


What is the difference between helgdag and semester? Are they interchangeable as holiday or are they different types of holidays (like annual leave versus public holidays, for instance)?


Helgdag means public holiday or Sunday. We often call them "röda dagar", since they are marked red in the calendar. When we talk about "helg" we normally mean weekend, i.e. Saturday + Sunday.

Semester means vacation, which is at least five weeks (25 days) in Sweden. Most people take around four weeks off in a row during the summer and some "klämdagar" (single weekdays between red days) throughout the year.


I think the confusion here stems from the fact that, in American English, "holiday" always means a day that is celebrated, while in England and elsewhere, "holiday" is used as "vacation".


This clip was definitely interesting, the one that came up next for me, What Swedes think about Norwegians was great. Norwegian sounds "cute" to Swedes and so much more. ;-)


I think DL should accept "lands" as well as "countries" for "länder".


A late reply, but I recently asked on these forums for native input regarding this, and it resulted in us deciding to, indeed, accept both - here and in other sentences.

However, that's a lot of tedious manual labour so for now I'll stick to accepting it when I come across it in error reports, and make sure that they're both accepted from the get-go in the next tree version.


Congratulations! It is a great feeling, isn't it?


Yep, but where next????


Go practice vocab physically on paper, read r/sweden (sweddit) (comment sections will be the hardest). Read articles, try tv programs with and without closed captioning. Maybe read children's stories or more advanced literature if your vocabulary is up to it. Just try to immerse yourself and really listen to radio programs and TV, or talk with a native speaker to become truly fluent, and possibly learn some cultural slang and differences (stuff like "i dag, i går, i morgon etc. being spelled without a space and what not.

Keep those strength bars up and maybe even start a diary or journal or something in swedish for practice in composition. Anythinf helps as long as you're practicing!


In English it is common to say lands to mean countries, but here it isn't accepted and it should be in my opinion


Yes, I replied about that above.


Happy national day to Norway! (17th of May) I was actually surprised that some official buildings here in Sweden raised the Norwegian flag today. A sign of good ties, I assume :)


I love the fact that "helgdag" consists of "helg" and "dag", because a public holiday does kind of feel like a weekend day :)


And it's actually basically the same etymology as for "holiday". :)


It is? How? Weekends were usually holy days?


Just to be extra clear, I meant that "holiday" and helgdag are cognates. The word "holiday" used to mean "holy day", essentially - which meant the Sabbath and religious festimonies. Over time, it lost its original meaning and just came to mean "day I won't have to work". :)


Den här är den första meningen på den sista lektionen. Tack för allt.

Learn Swedish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.