"Min syster är brandman."

Translation:My sister is a firefighter.

December 12, 2014

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Brandman etymology: from Swedish brand + man. Brand is from Old Norse brandr and means, according to wiktionary, "accidental, uncontrollable fire." Therefore, my sister is an accidental, uncontrollable fireman. :D Languages are fun.


It's funny: in Dutch we have retained this distinction between controllable and uncontrollable fire with the words 'vuur' en 'brand', like in 'vuursteen' 'brandalarm'. I think that's even not so weird because they're quite different things: the former is something useful and spectacular, while the latter is a feared and devastating monster which swallows everything on its path.


Swedish had the same.

"En eld" is a controlled fire, like when you go camping or in a fireplace.

"En brand" is an out of control fire, like a forest fire, or a house on fire.


I'd say that's still almost always true, actually.


In Russian (and probably in all Slavic languages) we also have distinctive words for controllable an uncontrollable fire: "огонь" and "пожар". And we call a firefighter "пожарный".


In Slovene it is 'ogenj' and 'požar' :) while croates have 'vatra' instead of 'ogenj'. Firefighter is 'gasilec' in Slovene, while in croate 'vatrogasac'. 'Gasiti' ('pogasiti' in finite form) means to 'extinguish fire' but also 'thirst' for example, but it is not general translation for 'extinguish'.

'Požarni' is here one who does the fire watch or fire guard (not necessary the firefighter), for example, when works with open fire, electric installation, gas, ... i.e. the works, when there is a high risk of fire, are done. It was an expression in Yugoslav Army for one who guarded the amunition and arms, although the prime reason was to guard it from theft.

For example in slovak (most similar of all slavic languages to slovene and croate) 'light the fire' is 'zapáliť oheň'. Say it, one slovene and one croate word. :) Slovene: 'prižgati ogenj', croate: 'zapaliti vatru'!


English "brand", as in branding iron, came from the same root. Both related to fire.


In English, brands or firebrands can also refer to the embers of a fire.


Is it ever appropriate to say 'brandkvinna'?


Not really. It's become a fixed expression for the profession, just like sjuksköterska has become the fixed title for nurses despite it being feminine.

There are however many more examples of -man forming the title of profession, and this is not unproblematic. Thus we now prefer talesperson (spokesperson) rather than talesman (spokesman), for example.


Do you mean talesman? Is that a word?


talesman, taleskvinna, talesperson, and språkrör are all good words. Språkrör has become a bit tied up with the Green party though, because they call their party leaders that way.


Yes, that's what I did mean. Thanks for pointing it out. Edited it to make sense :)


It accepted firewoman !


Not anymore :/ , I tried it but Duo told me I was wrong


We never stopped accepting it, actually.


interesting....so that's where brand like the act of marking with fire probably comes from


I am a bit confused, why isn't it like so Min syster är "en" brandman. Is there no room for "en" here even though in English we would say it?


The indefinite article is not used for occupations in Norwegian (or in a few other languages such as French, generally).


Or Ukrainian.

Wait. We don't have any indefinite articles in Ukrainian at all. Why do you need them?


Shouldn't it be a brandkvinna


Why is "fireman" wrong??????


It is not - we accept that, too. Although that said, I would prefer "firewoman" or better yet the gender-neutral "firefighter".


Wouldn't it have to be "Min syster är en brandman"?


No, Swedish doesn't use the article for people being things such as professions.


Thank you, Duolingo! I wouldn't mind seeing all of the 'brandman' translations to English as 'firefighter,' unless the gender of the person is specified in the given sentence.

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