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  5. "The old wizard was looking f…

"The old wizard was looking for a wife."

Translation:Den gamle trollkarlen letade efter en fru.

January 13, 2015



Is gamle the same as gamla? Does either work here?


gamle can only be used for masculine living beings, but since it's trollkarlen here, it's a pretty safe bet. The masculine form of the adjective is optional so gamla works just as well.


Okay thanks. Are there many other adjectives that take a gender specific form? Are they quite outdated now? I have always considered Swedish to be a very progressive language in terms of gender equality


You can use the -e form for essentially any adjective when talking about males. It's virtually the only remnant from when Swedish used to make distinctions between physical gender. However, like Arnauti said, it's entirely optional and quite a lot of people use -a for everything. Either is perfectly fine.


Ah okay, that is handy to know, maybe not for using it myself but certainly for understanding text. Out of interest can it be used in these situations also?

Lärarna är gamle (providing they are all male)

Läraren är gamle

En gamle lärare

Någre lärare (I suspect I'm pushing the concept too far with this one!)


We found one case where it's pretty much standard to use the -e form: old names for kings etc like where the adjective comes last, e.g. Peter den store 'Peter the Great' – this class isn't really productive anymore, but if you wanted to try to create new ones of the same kind anyway, you probably should keep the M/F distinction in the adjective. For the old ones it would certainly sound odd to say Alexander den stora instead of store. Otherwise as devalanteriel said.


Good point, didn't think of that. I'm not sure I'd even have considered those adjectives, since they're so epitheticalised, but of course they are.


Ah, no, it's just for the definite singular.


Adventure Time!


Why can't i use trollkarl here? Why is it trollkarlen?


The English sentence is in the definite, so the Swedish has to be, too.


I thought we're learning Swedish not English so we are suppose to omit the definitive as is normal in Sweden.


I think the leta makes it so that you're searching for one specific of a profession, which is why Swedish really prefers the definite here. Ordinarily, like you say, we do leave it out.


I'm still having difficulty with tenses. Doesn't the Swedish letade suggest that the action was completed where as the English 'was looking' suggests he was looking at the time and might still be?


So why "The old THE wizard" Trollkarl is wizard where as trollkarlen Is "the wizard" it's like a double "the". Den gamle trollkarlen is The The, weird


You're even missing a "the", since all three are in the definite:

den gamla trollkarlen

It's always like this whenever you have an adjective describing a noun - you then also need an article, and all three need to be either definite or indefinite. (Possessive pronouns work a bit differently.)

But I wouldn't think of it as "the the old the wizard". Linguistics textbooks would usually write it as e.g. "the old-the wizard-the" to make the point that the definites are just markers on the words.

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