"There are several siblings in my family."
Translation:Vi är flera syskon i familjen.
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.
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.
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.
(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)
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'.
Please shouldn't it be "flera syskonar" instead of "flera syskon"
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.
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"?
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.
(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'.
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.
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.
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
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.