"Barnen håller på och lär sig engelska."

Translation:The children are learning English.

December 27, 2014

This discussion is locked.


To clarify: "håller på och" indicates that these kids are actively practicing English right now, and "håller på att" would mean that they are learning English in the long term, but are not necessarily doing so right this minute.


But that point is not well reflected in Duolingo's exercises.


what is the function of the 'haller pa och'? Why would it not make sense to say 'barnen lar sig engelska'?


Since Swedish lacks a distinction between ”learns” and ”is learning”, you can sometimes use ”håller på att” to stress that it’s an ongoing event.

You can also read my comment at the bottom of this thread.


As i see, it seems similar to german. In German one can say "Die Kinder sind dabei Englisch zu lernen." (haller pa att...). This memory hook helped me as German nativ speaker.


I don't think håller på has been fully explained on this course (or I missed it!). Why does this take och and other sentences take att? Does it differentiate between I am about to... and I am busy doing.... Am I right in thinking:

Barnen håller på att lära sig engelska = The children are about to learn English

Barnen håller på och lär sig engelska = The children are busy learning English


I'm curious about this as well. Also sometimes, håller på takes med:

Barnen håller på med att låra sig engelska.

Is there a difference? Or is it all roughly equivalent?


no, there is no difference, both means ''...in the process of doing...'' which can in both E and S mean right now or this school year and only interrupted by sleep and som other stuff ;-) I learned in school abont 100 years ago that 'och' here was wrong and only used in spoken S. Maybe it has changed while I was abroan for the last 20+ years, but 'att' here is always right. Did that help ?


oops -- I have no edit button -- 'och' and 'att' are only interchangeable in the sense of the meaning, but 'och' just sort of continues and takes the same verb form as the verb prior to 'och', but 'att' of course always takes the infinitive ! But (some of) you already noticed that.


Check out the "tips notes" for section "Continuous Forms" https://www.duolingo.com/skill/sv/Continuous-Forms


Should the tips for this course be updated? It specifically states,

"You will likely also come across it with och plus the present tense, but this is colloquial and not accepted in the course."

so... obviously it seems like that isn't the case.


Yes, my thoughts exactly, I came here to say that too.


It's interesting that this construction is used here, since, according to the tips (describing håller på att): "You will likely also come across it with och plus the present tense, but this is colloquial and not accepted in the course."

I can only assume that this means it won't be accepted as an answer, but still appears here as something that may be encountered in Swedish?


From the course notes:

"håller på is used when the continuity is strong and we want to emphasize this. It is followed by att plus an infinitive. You will likely also come across it with och plus the present tense, but this is colloquial and not accepted in the course."

Yet here the version with och is used. Does that mean that whenever we translate into Swedish we can only use the att version?


Wouldn't "the children keep learning english" also be a good translation? Or is that bad english


"...keep learning English" sounds very strange to my (native American English) ear. The expression "keep learning" isn't unknown, but it's generally restricted to the idea that people should continue to learn new things over a lifetime. Here's an example: https://blog.adioma.com/how-to-keep-learning-infographic/ .


"The children hold on and learn their english" reminds me of the phrase "buckle down"... like they strive to do it. However the literal translation isnt accepted.


Why is "sig" the reflexive here, having in mind "the children" is plural? Why isn't the word "dem" used here instead as reflexive?

  • 1107

Sig is actually the reflexive pronoun used with de (and also with han/hon).
→ Barnen lär sig svenska.
You can see here the reflexive pronouns: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/sv/Verbs%3A-Present-3/tips-and-notes.

Dem is not a reflexive pronoun, but an object pronoun (https://www.duolingo.com/skill/sv/Pronouns-objective/tips-and-notes). It's a bit tricky because some reflexive and some object pronouns are identical (mig, dig, oss, er), but reflexive and object pronouns are different sets of pronouns. So you could say for example: Jag ser dem (= object pronoun), but not Jag ser sig (= reflexive pronoun).

  • 1107

I could add, to add to the confusion, that the verb att lära is a bit tricky because it has two meanings. It has a reflexive form, att lära sig, meaning "to learn", and also a non-reflexive form, att lära, meaning "to teach". So if you get the pronoun wrong and use a object pronoun rather than a reflexive one, you can actually change the meaning of your verb.


Why it's not LÄRA SIG and instead LÄR SIG


Lära sig is infinitiv and lär sig is present.


this sentence is in present tense, continuous but present.


Am I right to suppose that "håller på" is - historically a metaphor in the sense of "they are holding something in their hand with a firm grip, such as a bar, in order not to fall down/be drawn away"? A bit like "festhalten an" (originally: stick to/keep a firm grip on) in German...


Following to review later


How can you decide when to use på och or på att?


Why is 'the children are teaching themselves English' not ok?


Can't you say barnen lär sig engelska


Yes, but if you want to communicate a sense of the present continuous in English, that it's an ongoing event, you can use the verb "hålla på" to indicate this.


Can someone explain this construction to me? Explain it like I am an idiot, because I am and also because I do not want to read a four paragraph college essay about continuous modal verbal blah blah blah.


So can "I am working" be "Jag håller på och jobbar" ?


How would you translate "keep on learning English" into Swedish? Thank you.


Just when I thought this language couldn't get any crazier


So! Agree!!! I came here to say, OMG I just will never try to speak Swedish. That's it. I'm convinced. ha ha, and oh well. A year later in the course and what I have gained is maybe the ability to read street signs and buy a newspaper that I can't read and won't want anyway. But I'll still rely on the kindness of Swedes who speak such fluent English (which, let's admit, is not easy either)

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