"I did not get the answer I was hoping for."

Translation:Jag fick inte det svar jag hoppades på.

January 7, 2015

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The determinative pronoun "den/det" is used together with an indefinite noun when followed by a relative clause. It is used when you want to focus the noun and its belonging relative clause. You can change it for a simple definite noun, but then this special focus is lost. Translating it with English that would be too strong, but I'd say its somewhere in between the and that.

When you have "den/det" + indefinite noun, there should always be a relative clause following it.

Det här är den bil (som) de flydde i = This is the car that they escaped in.
Den politiker som inte ljuger vill jag träffa = The politician who isn't lying, I want to meet.
Jag vill ha den katt som är sötast = I want the cat that is cutest
Han såg den kvinna (som) han var kär i = He saw the woman that he was in love with

In a relative clause, som can be omitted when referring to the object.


Up until now, I was under the impression that Swedish grammar does not distinguish between restrictive and non-restrictive types of relative clauses, whereas English grammar does. (The former type of relative clause narrows down what the antecedent refers to, hence it is also known as defining relative clause, while the latter merely provides ancillary information about it.) In translating a relative clause from Swedish to English (where the antecedent is a definite noun), one has to infer from the context which meaning is intended and choose the appropriate construction in English accordingly.

Now with determinative pronoun + indefinite noun as antecedent, I see that all of Blehg's relative clause examples are of the restrictive/defining type. This seems not just accidental, and it makes sense that one wouldn't put the "special focus" on the noun, if the relative clause is only to provide supplemental information. It seems that Swedish grammar does distinguish between restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses after all, albeit it is only optional to make this distinction.


Is there a longer article on this in duolingo?


I've been trying to learn I Riden Så, and I was curious about the line "All under den linden så gröna". I thought it was a case of poetic license, but now I'm confused.


It's lyrics, and it's deliberately using sometimes old to archaic Swedish. I would consider every line in such a song completely useless for learning grammar.


Tack! Jag tycker om lyssna på den gamla låtar. Jag hittade Brun, I Riden Så, och Herr Mannelig. Jag försöker lär mig dem för att jag kanne sjunga dem på reenacting evenemanger.


Don't get me wrong - I think that's great. Just not a very reliable teaching aid. :)


I completely understand. Like I said, I thought it was just poetic license at first and disregarded it, then I saw something similar here and wondered. Thank you so much for the clarification.


@Brian: Could you please give any specific examples? I had to google the lyrics to the song Segwyne mentioned. :)


Of course :) I can't answer your comment for some reason, so I hope this makes sense here. The myrkur song I was thinking of in particular is "Fager Som En Ros" I think it's an old folk song, but that's where I heard of it. There's a lot of repetition so the lyrics are:

Flickan står på golvet fager som en ros/ Denna vackra gossen vill hon sova hos/ Flickan sa till gossen, vill du bli min vän?/ Ja, gärna om det vore uti denna kväll/ Vill du bli min vän, så räck mig hit din hand/ Och håller du mig kär så tar du mig i famn/ Mitt uppå golvet bäddas upp en säng/ Där jag skulle vila med min lilla vän

Some specific Garmarna songs are Min Man and Vedergällningen. These songs seem so close to things I understand that I can't tell if it's my ignorance or they are using old forms of speech.


Fager som en ros and Min man both use contemporary Swedish, although obviously they use some poetic license since they're lyrics rather than speech.

Vedergällningen uses some older grammar, and words that aren't really in use in contemporary Swedish. It's not comparable to Shakespeare - more like 19th century language, again obviously being lyrics.


This is actually something I've been wondering about. I LOVE Garmarna and some of Myrkur's versions of older swedish folk songs. I imagine it at the least gets me more used to hearing and making out the sounds of a language. How archaic do those Songs sound? I mean, is it like shakespeare compared to modern English, or is it barely recognizable? I know there was relatively recent agreement on an official "Swedish" but I keep trying to figure out how far back is just trying to read an antique language :)


Thanks a lot! I appreciate all your help (•‿•)


I just wish I wasn't seeing this for the first time on a timed exercise :\


I was worried this would be a complicated answer and my worries were accurate. I will never remember this.


So, basically, it treats "svar hag hoppades på" as a block concept@


Fantastic explanation! Much appreciated!


så man kan säga jag fick inte svaret jag hoppades på, bara det ändrar fokus på meningen?


The amount of times I get a question wrong due to PÅ is quite astonishing.


This discussion is a great example of why I always try to read all the messages before I ask a question. Often the answer is already answered and even if it isn't, I often learn something else new that is useful and/or interesting. Tack så mycket.


So many questions. So little time...

Where can I find more info about this strange new rule and what are relative clauses?


Relative clauses are the parts of the sentence which contain words like "who", "that", "which", "where", "how", etc. that describe another part of the sentence. "I am the potato which she ate." So Blehg is saying it's equally valid to say "Jag är den potatis hon åt." or "Jag är potatisen som hon åt," but that the former focuses on the fact that I'm the potato that she ate, not the chicken she chased, for example, or some other potato she cuddled with.


Why can't att be used in these sentences? Something like "Jag fick inte svaret att jag hoppades på." My first instinct is always to use att because "that" feels natural in English, what am I missing?


A tip that may help you: every time that in English you can substitute a "that" for "which" or "who", you should use "som" instead of "that".

For example:

  • I eat apples that/which come from Italy
  • "Jag äter äpple som kommer från Italien"

  • I think that you need a new car

  • "Jag tycker att du behöva en ny bil"


Thanks! Some of my confusion is probably a misunderstanding of the difference between conjunctions and relative pronouns, even in English :) "that" can serve both functions, which allows us to be lazy to an extent, but I see now "att" and "som" don't have that same flexibility in Swedish.



Past tenses ending with es are confusing


If the infinitive ends with -s (as in "hoppas") the -s will follow with all forms: Jag hoppas = I hope; jag hoppades = I hoped


After a few lessons, my gut answer was to put "att" before the second "jag." Kind of like "that" in English. In Swedish is it only ever used before an infinitive?


No, it's also a conjunction, as in e.g. jag vet att de ljuger = I know that they're lying.

But in this case, you'd have to use som for that meaning, since "that" is a relative pronun here.


I had the answer: Jag fick inte svaret jag höppades på. Is this not a correct sentence in Swedish? Why is 'det' put before the noun?


Why det svar and not svaret?


Please refer to my above comments on that.


Why is it det svar and not svaret?


There are already answers to this (e. g. from Devalanteriel and Blehg) but you can add to the sentence a "som" (which is often dropped, like the English "which"): "Jag fick inte det svar som jag hoppades på". Before a relative clause (som...) we use a construction "den/det + indefinite form" (= without the ending -en / -et).


Please refer to my above comments on that.


Is it okay to insert som between the halves of the sentence, or is it unidiomatic? It would help me understand the whole det svar/svaret distinction better!


Sure, it's perfectly idiomatic.

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