"They are our cooks' knives."
Translation:Det är våra kockars knivar.
de is definitely not allowed, so it shouldn't have been marked correct.
Swedish has a very, very strong tendency to default to the neuter det är when beginning a sentence. The tendency is so strong that most natives will use it even when the subject is already grammatically known.
Well, Zmrzlina, you are talking about demonstrative pronouns, but dszymcza is pointing out that the given sentence in English does not use a demonstrative but an ordinary (personal) pronoun. In English, we are referring to items that are already under discussion. Doesn't Swedish make such a distinction as well? John210530 and Martin18022 have also raised this issue, but so far have not received any further clarification.
Edit: This question was finally settled by devalanteriel elsewhere on this thread. Search on this page for "alternative" to jump to that answer.
We frequently address this in the comments as well. The way Duolingo is built, whatever we put as the default translation is automatically chosen for the reverse "translate into Swedish" exercise. Hence, for many sentences, if we put idiomatic English as the default translation you will never be asked to translate into idiomatic Swedish. So we have to sacrifice English idiomatics for teaching Swedish efficiently. It's not fun, but what can we do? We have no way of affecting how Duo's system works, so we have to make do with what we can.
I'm not currently a contributor, but I disagree - I think the system should work better instead of lesson notes having to explain something. Besides, not all people can see the lesson notes because Duolingo hides them, and not all of those who can read them do - and even then, there's a large probability that people forget about it even if we mention it once.
I don't think the same thing ! It is wrote "they are" and not "there are". In French : "they are" means "ils sont" and "there are" means "il y a". So I have write "de är" too. But you're right, in this example, "they are" is used like "there are" but the correct translation in french will be "ce sont" and not "il y a" :)
The explanation that 'det' is a formal subject not referring to the knives themselves seems a bit contrived. And really begs the question...why would a formal subject be used? Sometimes a formal subject makes sense such as in the phrase "it is raining" or "det regnar" where a 'real' subject seems to be lacking... clearly not the case here. Just an arbitrary Swedish oddity I suppose.
To my understanding, "de" means "they" as in people. In this case the subject is "knives" which are inanimate objects". The confusion for English speakers is we use "they" for both forms of "multiples" and have learned "de" to mean "they" thus far. Natural speaks, correct me if I am wrong.
From what I understand, "Det är" technically means neither "It is" or "They are" in English, but acts as a pointer to the actual subject, in this case "knivar". I guess kind of how "those" and "they are" aren't really the same thing, maybe "those" would've been more appropriate in the English sentence. If the sentence was changed to "They are sharp", then "De" would be used, as it's the subject in this case. De is not a plural form of det. (more knowledgeable Swedish pals please correct me)
I feel like I'm beating a dead horse, but here goes anyway.
If I happen to come across some sharp things - knives, thorns, whatever - I would say "Det är vassa!". If I'm in my kitchen, putting away the cooks' knives, talking to ... someone ... I might say "Det är våra kockars knivar. De är vassa."
I get why it needs to be "det" instead of "de", but I do think the English sentence is a bit misleading. I'm not a native English speaker, but I think the sentence sounds like it follows another sentence which "they" refers back to (in which case, if I'm not mistaken, Swedish could also use "de"). "These are" would probably be clearer and sounds more like a sentence you'd say out of the blue.
We do accept "those" as well, but Duolingo uses the default translation to construct the reverse "translate into Swedish exercise". Hence, with "those" being e.g. de där, if we use "those" for the default, you'll never get asked to translate into the very idiomatic det är. It's a very annoying dilemma that has consequences all over the course.
Well, you know how English can sometimes say "it is" at the start of a sentence even though you're not talking about an "it"? For instance: "Congratulations! It's a girl!"
Swedish does this extremely much. We would pretty much only say de är if the subject was already explicit, for instance from the previous sentence - and sometimes not then, either.
I think the problem many learners have with this exercise (as I did myself) is that in the English (what we are translating from), the use of "they" suggests that the knives have already entered into the conversation. For example, "Don't use those knives. They are our cooks' knives." Does "det är" still apply in the second sentence in this situation? Or, is "de är" at least a possible alternative?
Okay, so the easiest way my mind can process this is to think of it in terms of the object of discussion, "knives" has no gender and is there for an "it", in terms of the svenska language. so for example, if it were they are happy cooks, it would be de är lycklig kockar, because the subject now has a gender, or is a living object...is this correct?
HI! I'm a native spanish speaker and i'm learning swedish from english, because (at the moment i'm writing this) its the only option that exsits (and this is an important info about what I'm going to explain). Having said that, and after had read a lot of comments on the current discussion, I think I had understood that:
On the sentence "Det är våra kockars knivar./ They are our cooks' knives", the active subject are the knives (that make the action of being the property of our cooks). And indeed, in this case, THEY are, DET... Because in english we can use "they" referring to "a group of IT" as much as "a grup of he/she". In other words, "they" can be used as a plural neutral gender pronoun. But in swedish, it can't happen.
"Knivar/knifes" is not masculine nor femenine, its neutral (as in english). Then, as "en kniv/a knife" uses a singular neutral gender pronoun that is DET, shifting it to the plural form, the only possible pronoun would be DET again. Never "de", because using "de", we assume they (the knifes) suddenly has a masculine/femenine gender because "de=a group of han/hon".
In spanish all the inanimate objects had a gender like in french (that someone commented over here)... so yeah! it has been such an effort to understand that and try to explain! So please, can someone tell me if I understood correctly?
It looks like you really made an effort to think this through, which is great, but I think you've misunderstood some things a little.
kniv is actually an en-word - that is, a common-gender noun.
The reason for using det is that Swedish always defaults to the neuter singular when the subject isn't yet known. It's like how you can say "What's that?" "It's a man, I think." in English, even though a man would never be called "it". You just use it because it's new information - grammatically speaking.
Nice! and thank you! I perfectly understood what you mean about the "grammatical new information" XD. Also I have made some research a few times (because finding good Swedish lessons for Spanish speakers is so hard) and it is always confusing about the en/ett words, the gender and so on. So yeah, i'm misunderstunding almost everything I think jajaja and trying to do my best.
Would we then switch to 'de' after the (plural) items have been introduced?
For example, would the following sentences together:
"They are our cooks' knives. They are long and sharp."
be translated as:
"Det är våra kockars knivar. De är långa och skarpa."
(Hopefully from the context, the listener would realising that I am not describing the cooks).