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"There are several siblings in my family."

Translation:Vi är flera syskon i familjen.

January 5, 2015

116 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TinEmme

The Swedish translation has a different meaning from the English one. I agree that "Det finns flera syskon i min familj" is more correct translation than the given translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

I agree with friswing. Also, think of it the other way around. We wrote this sentence in Swedish, the way it would be natural to say it in Swedish. But native speakers of English have told us that We are several siblings in my family does not work in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bigswedeej

"There are" and "we are" have totally different meanings. We are includes the writer, there are does not.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marloes80306

It works in French (nous sommes 5), but in english is very strange. Took me some time to discover how to arrange the words


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EwaDuVarra

It does work in French and Greek. Speaking as native French with deep Greekand Latin knowledge .


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ahferroin7

I’d argue it’s only contextually strange in English. In prose and song lyrics (for example, in the American Christmas Carol ‘We Three Kings’) nobody really bats an eye at it, but it’s almost never used in everyday conversation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelHun729358

I mean, by default it does if we are saying "in my family". "We are _ in _" is deprecated in English, though.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jacob738094

Doesnt have to, for example if youre the parent of multiple children


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robert311521

I agree that we should continue to use the natural Swedish translation, but I feel the English translation could be adjusted to be less confusing. I think this is a good example of how many sentences cannot be directly translated.

In English, we would almost always say 'We have' or 'I have'. We would also tend to specify 'my family'. I understand your point that 'Vi har' doesn't make sense in Swedish, but in English 'we have' is perfectly acceptable.

I think the least confusing and most accurate translation between Swedish and English would be:

"We/I have several siblings in my family."

"Vi är flera syskon i familjen."

Whilst people are still likely to incorrectly write 'vi har' instead of 'vi är', I feel the overall translation is closer to the Swedish than 'there are', which would not specify you as the subject.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wkjii

I like your suggestion. I am near certain that i would have been able to assemble a correct Swedish sentence if the English sentence had been phrased that way. IMHO


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zack97296

Great call, absolutely right! And you're right about specifying the article for family "my/our family" vs. "the family."

Depending on the context, "the family" can work in some cases if in a previous part of the conversation we established we are talking about my particular family. If the conversation went something like:

"We are here with my extended family."

"Oh, do you all have a lot of brothers and sisters?"

"Yes, we have several siblings in the family."

That would be fine. But if someone asked you a question and the family was not the subject of the conversation, then "the family" would sound out of place.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Q_C

My issue with this sentence in English is not that it does not make sense but is contextually different to the English->Swedish translation. Saying "We are several siblings in my family" would imply to me you are one of those siblings whereas with "Det finns flera syskon i min familj" it could be talking about other generations (usually a parent talking about their children).

If the natural Swedish translation is used in the latter too though then I guess I'll just try to stick to that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Loiress

But it seems to say 'we are several siblings in THE family', but still implies we are one of the siblings.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jeanninekabaeva

you wrote this 4 years ago, still the same fault in the traslation. that's kinda frustrating


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LevRaphael1

It's still bizarre in English. I can imagine someone asking "Do you have any siblings?" But who would reply "There are several siblings in my family"? It does not sound idiomatic.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Megan134

No native English speaker would answer with 'There are several siblings in my family.' The correct and natural response to the question would always be 'I have (two/three) siblings.'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyanHaywar10

Granted but at this stage we haven't learnt numbers yet


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

Also, the intention is to teach a Swedish phrase which has no direct English equivalent. Swedish can also say jag har (två/tre) syskon.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Synthpopalooza

It's very colloquial, maybe used in literature, but definitely not in everyday English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pablopublico

Colloquial is the same as everyday language, and thus different of the literary language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DolunAy64

I would say that it was more proper than colloquial, but I suppose it depends on where you speak English natively.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LevRaphael1

It's not proper, it's stiff and unidiomatic.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GS__

Archaic, not colloquial.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EwaDuVarra

I recommend Greek. Exactly the same structure both in concept and in Grammar.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/makmegs

Can someone please explain why "Det" isn't an acceptable translation?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/friswing

(native speaker): I would never start this sentence with 'Det finns', since the use of 'sibling' implies that I am really one of the siblings. So I say: "Vi är fler syskon". I am not the only child to my parents, we are several siblings. I can't talk about myself as something else existing 'out there'. The sentence clearly says "my family", so it is Me and My siblings = We (vi)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dagummace

Yes, but what if you are the father or a non-subling speaking?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

Det är många barn i min familj 'There are many children in my family', or for a father just Jag har många barn 'I have many children' would be way more likely.
You don't speak of them as syskon when they aren't your syskon, unless of course you explicitly mention whose syskon they are – like, Min fru har många syskon 'My wife has many siblings'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shortninja66

What about "vi har..."? Makes more sense in English, but does it work for Swedish?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

Doesn't really make sense in Swedish. I mean, Jag och min bror har flera syskon makes sense, but since the whole family doesn't have siblings, saying something like 'vi har flera syskon i familjen' does not make sense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

No, most ett-words have the same singular and plural indefinite forms in Swedish.


[deactivated user]

    Please shouldn't it be "flera syskonar" instead of "flera syskon"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Miriam731058

    How would you say this, when you are talking about a different family, where the siblings you are referring to are no kids anymore? For me too, both - the English and the Swedish translations - make sense, just not for each other -> 2 completely different contexts


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/friswing

    Talking about another family, we say, e.g.: "De är flera syskon (de är sju bröder och två systrar) i familjen"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MishaDunn

    Would this also be possible with "det finns ..."? e.g. Det finns flera syskon i min familjen. Also, there are contexts where the "vi är ..." construction should be possible: Imagine I'm going on a student exchange and I'm telling my friend about the family I've been assigned to.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DrMicroChem

    My grandparents used "We are....." instead of "There are ...." when referring to groups of people, so that part wasn't too strange for me. But what I don't understand is why "my family" is expressed as "the family". If the sentence starts with "We", shouldn't it be "our family"?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yerrick

    Swedish often doesn't use possessives where the ownership is obvious: with body parts, for example, or in this case where the "We" implies that the speaker is talking of their own family.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DrMicroChem

    Tack. Jag förstår nu.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GS__

    So how would Swedes discuss the Italian mob? In that context, "a family" is rather distinct from "the family." Probably not something that comes up too often though.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bodwisteve

    i would guess that the "vi" at the beginning makes the "min" extraneous


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/friswing

    Could be, but I - as a native speaker - would actually say: "Vi är tre syskon i min familj". So for me it is not extraneous. It is as if I need to clearify that it is my family we are talking about. Otherwise I would say "I have two brothers". But when it concernes bodyparts I would leave the possessive pronoun out. "Jag har ont i benet" (my leg hurts). Obviously it is my own leg I am talking about.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tragokeratos

    I was asked to translate "There are several siblings in my family" and the correct answers are " Vi är flera syskon i min familj" and "Vi är flera syskon i familjen". With "there are" I would answer "Det finns". What am I missing?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/friswing

    (native speaker): I would never start this sentence with 'Det finns', since the use of 'sibling' implies that I am really one of the siblings. So I say: "Vi är flera syskon". I am not the only child to my parents, we are several siblings. I can't talk about myself as something else existing 'out there'.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tragokeratos

    Makes sense. Thank you. :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Malgosia007

    Friswing, but why: "Vi är fler syskon" and not: "Vi är flera syskon"?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/friswing

    Sorry, that's a typo. I will edit it now. Of course it is plural flera in this sentence. Fler could be used if it was a comparison: *Vi är fler syskon i min familj, än i din" (There are more siblings i my family, than in yours)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lagolas2010

    Why is "flera" translated as several but "fler" as more? I see no connection between the two meanings


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Malgosia007

    Thank you, I was afraid I had missed or forgotten another exception :).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ritabailao

    "det finns flera syskon i min familj is also correct.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Synthpopalooza

    Indeed ... but I like the poetic feel of "We are" as opposed to "there are" :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vicki895360

    why is this 'familjen' and not 'familj'?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lukas315

    alright so I kind of understand the meaning of Vi är, but why is it "i familjen" and not "i min familj"?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ahferroin7

    Swedish (like some other Indo-European languages) prefers to use definite forms of nouns instead of possessive pronouns when the relationship is inherent in the statement.

    Because of the use of 'Vi' here instead of 'Ni' or 'De', the speaker has to be one of the siblings mentioned in the sentence, which means that it by definition has to be their family they are talking about, and thus the possessive pronoun is redundant. But because it's still a specific family being discussed you need to have the definite form of 'familj' instead of the indefinite.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ogrefairy

    "vi äter flera syskon i min familj" I'm surprised no one is talking about this wrong answer haha


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bigswedeej

    The swedish translation assumes that the speaker is one of the siblings. The English is not conveying that.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

    Please refer to the top-most discussion on that.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yibemajam

    where is the my in this sentence?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

    Well, it says vi är in the Swedish sentence - "we are" - so there's no real need to specify the family.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yibemajam

    I do know that now, but it's after the fact, after reading some of the posts. It would be nice to have an explanation for this section in general as I keep getting confused with two words being used for grandfather and grandmother. I've tried to access the link that was given in this section but can't.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

    Thanks - that's duly noted.

    As for grandparents, we have a very straightforward system:

    • mormor = mother-mother = mother's mother = maternal grandmother
    • farmor = father-mother = father's mother = paternal grandmother
    • morfar = mother-father = mother's father = maternal grandfather
    • farfar = father-father = father's father = paternal grandfather

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/yibemajam

    Wow, quite impressed about the speedy reply to my comment. Thanks for the explanation and have a lingot.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EwaDuVarra

    Dear delavanteriel I understand their frustration. You studied some Greek. In this case I assure everybody non English native that the Spanish way makes absolutely sense. Tha English translation is rather unfortunate. Perhaps = In the family ( my own family) we are several siblings.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EwaDuVarra

    Swedish not Spanish! I never use my cell phone for writing in a forum! Excuse me.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

    No, I've never studied Greek. And I also appreciate people being frustrated with the sentence, definitely. I don't want anything in the course that creates problems for learners unnecessarily.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EwaDuVarra

    Thank you for the kind suggestion. Just trying to help. Unfortunately.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EwaDuVarra

    No, Arnauti , great teacher, did. Mea Culpa! The foundation of European languages are both Latin and Greek. Almost any basic European Language. Just in order to make this clear, i am French.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LsU33

    Why familjen and not familj?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/friswing

    You need the definite form here (familjen), otherwise you would be talking about family in general, and every family does not have several siblings. There is nothing general about this sentence.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EwaDuVarra

    Because I am talking about My Family which is The Family


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zsguthy

    The main problem is that this is a test question to intentionally fail the student. Exactly how would we know at this point in the course that Swedes do not use "det finns" in a scenario like this? And it is very haphazard when to use "i" and when "på", just by the sentences and no explanation is the prepositons section, too. You could have said "we have several..." for the English sentence instead of strongly hinting a wrong answer...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

    I think we originally had the English translation We are several siblings … but were told off by hordes of angry native speakers, so we changed the translation into something they told us would be correct. :D

    Also, I think learning by trial and error is core to the Duolingo method of learning.

    PS, if we did change the English to we have several …, you would probably just ask the same question about vi har flera …, which also doesn't work in Swedish.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zsguthy

    Arrgh. I got it in a "chose all correct" question so the leap from har to är would have been easy. I am a Hungarian native and can say this sentence both akin to the Swedish way and the English one, but the meaning is quite different. Because while frishwig's explanation was helpful, the "there is" construct does not really imply that I am one of them - it could very easily refer "globally" to other branches/generations in my extended family.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

    I just passed by and wanted to point out that your extended family in that sense in Swedish is not familj, it is släkt – if you wanted to say for instance that you have many cousins because your parents' siblings also have many siblings who have lots of children, you would use that word.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LevRaphael1

    It's still bizarre. Who would be saying this? In reply to what question?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NordicWay

    We cannot use på instead of i here, right?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

    Nope. much like you can't use on my family instead of 'in my family' in English.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Antti22

    I'm confused: why is "många" in the sentence "det finns många syskon i min familj" not accepted when in the previous example "jag har många kusiner" många was accepted.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

    In this course, we differentiate between många which means 'many' and flera which means 'several'.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Antti22

    Thanks, but I still don't understand why "många kusiner" is ok and "många syskon" isn't.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

    The sentence about många kusiner has 'many cousins' in English https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5849211


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

    It took a little while until the separation between several and many was put into place, and there are just so many places where either occurs that there are still a few inconsistencies left. I can't check at the moment, but you probably came across one of the places where it remains even though it shouldn't.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Antti22

    Thanks for the explanation. I am no longer confused :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robert159803

    Surely this is not a direct translation but rather a translation of meaning. It starts "We" not "There".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

    Yes, that's correct. We actually accept a very wide list of translations in both directions here, but the (arguably) most idiomatic options are the defaults.


    [deactivated user]

      Familj vs Familjen?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pablopublico

      Familj = "family"

      Familjen = "the family"


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/musicsyellow

      Why is 'familjen' allowed here? What is the rule? I expect a 'the' in the sentence.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JHG3l

      Why cant the 'speaker' be a parent? This would be in the family definition by swedish standards, wouldnt it? Or is the use of sibling already implying that you are one of them? If so, why would this be correct: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/5884031 ? Thanks four your help!


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Taki961

      Hi! What is the difference between "i min familj" and "i familjen"?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vicki895360

      The system gave "Vi är flera syskon i familjen" as the correct translation, however, I am not sure why 'i min familj' is not correct- as it specifies 'in MY family'


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelHun729358

      For clarity's sake for English users please use the deprecated translation "We are several siblings in the family."


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olaf78

      Just noting that I find this really confusing, as several components of the sentence do not literally translate to English i.e 'the family' vs 'my family'. I suppose this must be learnt rote, as a set expression, rather than one that can be worked out via grammar and vocab.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/damjansimi1

      I have filling that Duolingo doesn't care about our comments


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GerhardMen1

      It is absolutely random in this entire program when to stick to a literal translation and when to use a more idomatic one. If I were a single child with several aunts and uncles, there would be several siblings in my family although I'm not one of them, but 'we are' would make me one.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DesislavaP816967

      There is doesn't imply we


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zaxc

      Isn't 'Vi ar' tantamount to 'we are'? I feel like it's misleading putting det finns when that is the actual translation for 'there are'


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

      This has been explained in the thread already. English native speakers tell us that We are several siblings in my family does not sound good in English. Scroll up to see it explained in more detail.


      [deactivated user]

        Familj vs Familjen?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

        Indefinite vs definite.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DestinyLow1

        it didnt even give me the wprds that i THOUGHT were the correct translation. luckily i guessed right. doesnt "Vi är flera syskon i familjen" mean "we are several siblings in the family"? is that supposed to mean the same thing?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

        Yes, that's the most idiomatic way of phrasing it in Swedish. We do accept other variations as well, but the word bank is generated automatically.


        [deactivated user]

          your translaition is not correct mine is bettar


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trilby16

          I protest! As it seems many others have as well. It didn't ask for "we have."


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyanHaywar10

          Why is det är not correct? Vi är is though?


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/friswing

          Because this is a statement done by one of the siblings, it is a "We"-phrase.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyanHaywar10

          As others have said Vi är is surely we are and not there are


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/daniellekca

          I'm seeing this confusion a lot among native English speakers. Some phrases in other languages don't translate word for word to match English phrases. If anyone is familiar with French, you'll notice that it's also "on est quatre." (for example, you might say this to a restaurant host for seating) this translates literally to "we are four." Of course this conveys that there are 4 people in a group. Also, I've heard many native French speakers say in English "we are #." I've seen people on comment threads such as this one explain this similarity in German as well. We kind of have to get used to phrasing that may not sound natural if translated word for word in English. Just go with it.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyanHaywar10

          That's all very well but when you have the phrase, there are drummed in to you and you're then expected to translate there are and it's wrong it's very frustrating


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/koJAfa

          There are is not vi


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vitalii279305

          "There are" -> "Vi är" ? Could we not confuse people who trying to learn essentials


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/friswing

          Well, language learning is about recognizing that different languages are different (and where that is the case).


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robert311521

          That would make sense with the correct English translation, but no native English speaker would say "There are several siblings in my family". It sounds stiff and doesn't specify the subject (Are they your siblings, or your parents siblings?)

          As the contributors have said, the subject is you and your siblings. Therefore it should be "I have" or "We have" to make it sound accurate in English.

          "We/I have several siblings in my family." is not only more accurate in English but less confusing for people trying to learn either language.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keith98606

          Is there a way to differentiate statements about the number of siblings in one's family such that the speaker is included among the siblings and another where he/she is not? For example an only child might have a lot of cousins and want to say that there are a lot of siblings in his family- it's true; they're just not his. "Vi är" doesn't seem like it would work in that case.


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/friswing

          Eg. Jag har inga syskon, men min kusin har sju syskon. De är åtta syskon i min kusins familj. The cousin might say: Vi är flera syskon i min familj, än i min flickväns familj, de är bara fyra syskon.

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