Incredible film by master Ingmar Bergman called "Fängelse". Perhaps the first in his great black and white run, 1950-1970...
Why is 'my sister's sitting in prison' wrong? 'Sister's' is an acceptable English contraction of 'sister is', is it not?
It is pretty intense how many swedish words there are for the english 'is'. Är, ligger, finns, står, sitter, did i miss any?
Out of interest, does it sound very unnatural to say 'min syster är i fängelse'?
Well, I would say a little. 'Sitter' is definitely what I would use, but I guess it's a smaksak (a matter of taste).
I think "sitter" makes definitely clear that she is a prisoner. While "är" could (theoretically) mean that she is only visiting someone in the prison or working there as a warden or something (at least that would be the case in German with "im Gefängnis sitzen" vs. "im Gefängnis sein").
This is sort of a set expression. But in sitter, there is often a nuance of 'being stuck', which explains why it is used here.
Ok, thanks, that makes sense; but it's not exactly clear in the context and based on what's been in previous lessons, I was lead to believe "ligger" would be perfectly acceptable.
There's really no surefire way of knowing, it varies with the expression. When we still had conscription (it was compulsory for men until 2010; there are discussions about bringing it back), being in the military service was colloquially called ligga i lumpen; (lump means 'worn out fabric').