1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swedish
  4. >
  5. "En vitlök är en vit lök."

"En vitlök är en vit lök."

Translation:Garlic is a white onion.

December 20, 2014



I have never heard "A garlic" spoken before. I would just say garlic.


Yeah I would say this translation is straight up wrong. If it has to be a single object then "a bulb of garlic" is the best you can do.

"Garlic is a white onion" is accepted so it's okay but the one with "A garlic" in should definitely not be the recommended answer.


A garlic could refer to a cultivar of the genus of garlic. As in: "A garlic originating in Canada is..." It is, admittedly a bit constructed, but possible.


I've read through the discussion here, and I must say: It does not matter whether the statement in Swedish is true or false. It is what it is. The question is how best to translate it. In other words, it doesn't matter whether garlic is a white onion or not, just whether the Swedish sentence is saying that it is ...


Yeah, i would also like more false statements to translate in the training modules(not the learning ones) to see if you're paying attention and learning the words


This is a good point. They do catch you off guard and make you remember!


This sentence appeals to me because of the wordplay: vitlök and vit lök. Besides, when I run out of onions, I use just a bit of garlic in ground beef, so garlic really is a substitute for onion, at least for me.


People do get angry about things.

En jordgubbe är en jord gubbe...


This gave me laugh, three years on from your comment! Tusen tack :D


At least in Italy you can buy "l'aglio rosso", in Swedish "röd vitlök" :)


Here in Ukraine you can buy white onion which is not garlic, so är det en vit lök som är inte en vitlök :)


In Slovakia as well - you can get white, yellow and red onions. And I could never think of garlic as a type of onion :)


Jag tror det är också det samma i andra länder


In Indonesian, garlic is called 'bawang putih' meaning 'white onion'.


In Danish garlic is called "hvidløg" also meaning "white onion"


Funny that it's pretty much the same in Filipino - 'bawang' is garlic and 'puti' is white


wyrmwood: Salamat po!


They are two different species of Allium. So no, garlic is not really a white onion.


Allium is considered "the onion genus" which includes garlic, onion, leek, etc. So it could go either way.


In English, “onion” is pretty much just used for the species allium cepa, not the whole genus — so garlic is not a white onion. But Swedish “lök” seems to be used more often in the wider sense of the genus, so vitlök är möjligtvis en vit lök.


Does "en vitlök" mean a bulb of garlic, a clove of garlic, a garlic plant, or something else?


A bulb of garlic. One clove is en vitlöksklyfta.


en lök = a bulb... or an onion


Great sentence! I love dissection the language :D


garlic (n.) Middle English garlek, from Old English garlec (West Saxon), garleac (Mercian), "garlic," from gar "spear" (in reference to the clove), see gar, + leac "leek" (see leek).


Excellent. Thank you! And I believe lök comes from the same root (no pun intended) as the English leek, so there you have it. Linguistically, at least en vitlök är en vit lök


Yup. And also, as you probably already know, the German Lauch and the latter half of e.g. Knoblauch.


Yes, exactly. Gotta love languages. No two ways about it.


I think this sentence has put me off Garlic


Garlic itself puts me off garlic. Although, garlic soup is great if you are suffering from altitude sickness in the Himalayas!


Oh really? Thats interesting


I wrote "en vit lök är en vitlök". Couldn't it be an acceptable answer ?(it sounds the same or did i miss something?)


The point of the exercise is to show the difference it makes in Swedish when you use a compound noun rather than a space. Hence:

  • vitlök = garlic
  • vit lök = white onion

If you switch the two around, you get a different sentence. And while the truth contents may be the same, it's not really a direct-enough translation in a language course.


I'm under the impression this was in response to a type-what-you-hear exercise, in which case it still should not be accepted, because "vitlök" has a different pitch accent than "vit lök", right?


Why vitlök have en here


Hi samira, In English, the word "garlic" is a mass noun, so we do not use an indefinte article (the word "a" )in front of it. But in Swedish, "vitlök" is NOT treated as a mass noun, so it DOES have the indefinite article "en" in front of it.


In my country we have white onion, red onion, and garlic. How in Sweden would i ask to sell white ONION? Or there is no red one, and all the ONION is white by default?


That depends on what you mean. If you mean just regular onions, those are considered yellow in Swedish. We mostly just call them lök, but we might specify gul lök.


Oh, wow. Thank you so much!!


In English (at least in my dialect), these are white onions and this is a yellow onion (or possibly a sweet onion; I can't tell them apart visually). These are both gula löker?

Edit: another comment, with a link to a Swedish supermarket's website, indicates that the Swedish word for white onion is "silverlök"

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