"En å och en ö"

Translation:A river and an island

January 1, 2015

This discussion is locked.


Those words are so cute


What is the difference between flod and å?


There are countless watercourses of very varying size in Sweden, and consequently there are a handful of words to refer to them. In a very rough fashion of small-to-large there are bäck, å, ström and älv/flod, but where one stops and the next applies may vary regionally.

  • It can be said quite safely, though, that en bäck is about the size of a ditch. You could probably jump over a bäck.

  • En å is quite hard to narrow down in explanation. It's a small river, definitely bigger than en bäck but not bigger than en älv (which isn't a very good explanation to non-natives, I know).

  • En ström is relatively infrequent and I won't go into depth on it here.

  • En älv is largely synonymous with en flod and it's what we'd call a river, but it's use is found mostly in the Northern 2/3 of Sweden. No Swedish river is called en flod in its Swedish name.

  • En flod can be used for rivers abroad, especially large ones.

Perhaps that is more than what you asked for but... I guess you'll just have to count yourself lucky to have asked a geographer. :p


No, that's awesome! That fully explains everything! And I love geography too, by coincidence!


En älv is used for river in Norden, en flod outside Norden. E.g. in Finland we have Kymmene älv.


Is there also a difference depending on where the rivers flows to? Like French fleuve (flows to the sea/to a lake) and rivière (flows to another river) - the only language I've heard (so far) which have specific terms for this.


Would it be possible to assume that the differences could be determined in terms of navigability – "en å" being bigger than "en bäck", but still impossible to navigate whereas "en älv/flod" is large or deep enough to navigate through?


Perhaps, but IMHO "en å" isn't necessarily navigable. The size of "en å" may vary locally.


Great explanation of a tricky topic. Bäck sounds much like the now archaic English word, beck, which meant pretty much the same thing. Terms for different size natural features often are hard to define precisely and so often overlap. Think groups of trees; a clump, a stand, a woods, a forest, etc. Thanks as always for your patient and helpful explanations and clarifications.


That is one of the most adorable landscapes I've ever seen. Imagine being there during summer, playing in the water and then climbing on that island to sunbathe. ^_^


yeah, including all the country mosquitoes :) The forests are full of mosquitoes. I was innocent once, until I sat down to rest in a forest. And to my wonder, my light coloured clothes changed to black. I still have PTSD :P


du får inte tillräckligt med kärlek för denna finurliga mening på norrlands svenska. du förtjänar en lingot eller tre


Google translate doesn't help at all with Matt92HUN's sentence.

wikitionary says that "e" is a colloquial spelling of "är". Also it says that "ä" is an abbreviation of "äldre", but I don't see how that fits grammatically.

My Swedish husband says that "D'ä" might be "Det är" and that "e" might be "en" which seems to fit better than "är".

So our best, incomplete. and probably entirely wrong, guess is: "It is a river, river in åa is an island."

I did find the source of the sentence: https://sv.wikisource.org/wiki/Dumt_f%C3%B4lk


Note that Matt actually linked to the source you found as well.

Gustaf Fröding, its author, is one of the most well-known Swedish poets. This specific piece is from a poem in a collection of very dialectal Swedish, specifically värmländska. It was even printed with a brief dictionary at the back, for the sake of other Swedes trying to read the darn thing.

  • D'ä = det är = there is
  • e å = en å = a river
  • å = och = and
  • i åa = i ån = in the river
  • ä e ö = är en ö = (there) is an island


Ah, I didn't realize there was a link. I didn't notice that it was blue.

Thanks for the explanation. My husband actually guessed that åa was "the river". Maybe å=och would have been the key for us to figure it out. We might even have guessed that if we hadn't been primed to think of å=river. :-D


Who cuts the grass on that little island?


I love how only three single letters built a sentence!


Is it just me or is this sentence really messed up when the TTS says it?


Native speaker / former course contributor chiming in: the TTS is definitely screwing this up. I'll make a re-recording in a while and post it in the comments.


For me it sounds like TTS have major problems. "Och" is completely skipped


It's merged into the "å", they're pronounced the same way.


but there's a big TTS hiccup. It just sounds very unnatural. almost like 2 different "voice takes" were spliced together (obviously, that's not how tts works, but as a comparison/analogy)


It sounds perfectly right to me.


are you a native speaker?



The voice is not quite perfect on this sentence, as of April 14th, 2018, so I've taken the liberty of re-recording it.

I think this sentence is probably hard to hear normally, so with the voice meshing the vowels, the difficulty level goes even higher. :) I have made two recordings in a single file: the first is a little clearer, with the och fully pronounced, and the second which follows immediately is closer to how most natives would say it.

Please find a correct recording on http://duolingo.vydea.io/71a89a335b044dcf9959aa7b72061aed.mp3

For more info on re-recordings, please check the info thread: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23723515

Thanks for listening. Ha en bra dag! :)


Thanks a lot, I thought I just can't catch up to the normal speed. but I can understand your recording much better


In that recording, are you saying two different sentences? That is, "En å och en ö" followed by "En å en ö"?


No, it's the same sentence - please refer to the description in my above comment on how they differ:

the first is a little clearer, with the och fully pronounced, and the second which follows immediately is closer to how most natives would say it.


Ja ha! Tack. Jag förstår nu. The native way sounds like och incompletely omitted. I wonder if English sounds like that sometimes? Tack igen!


Sure - how often do you say "and" and how often do you shorten it to just a quick "n", for instance? :)


Now that you mention it... good point. :)


phrases like this make swedish the most concise language i ve stumbled upon, more concise than even english


This is downright wrong. River = flod, å = stream. Or "rivulet", if you like to be poetic!


"river" covers both of those - I'd even wager that it's a much more common translation of å than "stream". The later is generally better as e.g. ström or bäck. But Swedish names for stretches of water overlap, and so do English names, and they do not overlap with each other, so... there's not as much downright wrong in general as there might have been in other subjects.

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