"What do the people think?"
Translation:Vad tycker folket?
"vad är det som människorna tänkar på?" Could this be a possible sentence? I know this sort of construction is often used in Sweden....but I would like to get more into it
personer means “people” as in the plural of “person” (i.e. you are talking about a couple of specific “persons”). folk means “people” as in “population” or sometimes “ethnicity” (i.e. all those human beings that live in a certain place, or that share the same ethnicity).
If you’re unsure, when you “the people” with a definite article, chances are it probably corresponds to folket rather than personerna in Swedish. At least I have trouble thinking of a context where it might naturally occur. You’re much more likely to talk about “the people=the populace”. Or maybe in rarer cases “the people=the human beings” (as opposed to another group which is comprised of animals or aliens or whatever). That would be människorna. For example:
- I rummet fanns det två människor och tre katter. Katterna höll på att äta medan människorna tittade på tv:n. (There were two people (=human beings) and three cats in the room. The cats were eating while the humans were watching tv.)
the people (definite form) = människorna. Here you have to use the definite ending -NA. In a more general form, 'people', could be människor ('human beings'), but in this sentence a certain group of people seems to be implied. What does that 'group' think of something - not humans as a general concept.
People can be singular, meaning a collective of persons either (in the political sense) with a common government or (in the ethnic sense) with a common ethnicity. Cf.: "There are many peoples on this Earth." ("peoples" as the plural form of the singular "people").
The Swedish "folket", being singular definitive, seemed to mean the singular people to me. Or does Swedish use a different word for that?
I agree with you: What does the Swedish people think? Vad tycker svenska folket is singular, one entity. But when I translate "What do the people say?" I would translate it Vad tycker folk /i allmänhet/?, meaning a plural bunch of different persons. Then I would not use folket which is a noun in singular definit form.
English would still use the plural in your first example. I.e., What do the Swedish people think? I can't think of any case where I'd use a singular verb with the word people. "Peoples" does show up sometimes - I'm not sure if that's just colloquial usage. I found this site when I googled it: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/peoples