I'm not sure immigration legalese is really the best default word choice to convey the actual meaning here. It might not be common for someone to introduce their partner as their domestic partner, but they are even less likely to introduce such person as their cohabitant. I went through several lessons thinking sambo meant 'roommate' and someone had just picked up a really awkward translation for it. I'd even go Chez Geek route and use "Live-In S.O." long before 'cohabitant' ever became an option. Government applications and everyday language don't meet all that often.
I expect you know, but for any learners out there who have English as a second language, be aware that sambo exists in English as a racial slur. I think it's archaic and rare enough that most people won't immediately think of it, but I'd avoid it unless the context is heavily Swedish. As people have said above, "partner" is the word we'd most likely use (though "partner" has lots of non-Sambo meanings, which is why it's not the preferred translation here).
I'm not surprised: I can't imagine anyone younger than, say, Prince Philip saying it. There was an allegation ( I should stress, one with basically no evidence whatsoever) that Sarah Palin had used the word, so at least for some people it will trip the "bad word" sensor in the brain. http://www.snopes.com/politics/palin/sambo.asp
It is the more formal term used in the U.S. for the Swedish Sambo. It works the for same sex or different sex relationships. There is no easy translation into English as the language is well behind changing attitudes about couples living together and we are also well behind Sweden in the legal recognition of such relationships.
And it gets further complicated by different English-speaking countries having widely different terms for it...
There's no really good word that means "my significant other, with whom I live" - but it's an important word to know in Swedish. I imagine it's one of the most challenging words for the course creators. Way harder to get right than the classics, such as lagom, or fika.
At least in the US, common law spouse has a distinct legal meaning. A common law marriage is a marriage that exists even though no formal marriage ceremony was ever conducted. The rules for these vary widely between states. Dissolving a common law marriage requires a divorce. I wouldn't use the term common law spouse loosely. It means much more than Swedish sambo.
Excellent question. You're actually not the first one to ask, so I looked this very thing up well over a year ago, only to find that the phrase has been prevalent even in British English on and off for centuries now. It also exists in many European languages that are not Scandinavian. So while it's not impossible - it does seem unlikely.
Unfortunately de-facto also has the connotation that comes with pretty much only ever seeing it in news items, that are usually about domestic violence. For that reason you pretty much never hear someone introduce themselves with something like, "Hi, I'm Peter, and this is my de-facto, Susan." Whereas sambo is used very readily in such situations; it has a much more positive connotation.
Disagree re the negative connotations here. De facto is in common use in my regional English (NZ-Britain etc). We would tend to use it more formally - like when filling in forms etc but you would often describe someone else's live in partner as their "de facto". I think it makes a good translation here. Or at least the best translation it seems we may be able to get!
Face it, there is no useful equivalent in English. This is the man/woman I live with. Once back in the early 70s, I went on a vacation with my girlfriend (now my wife) to stay in a house in Maine lent us by a friend. The day I arrived I met and conversed with a neighbor while my girlfriend was running an errand. Later the two of us met her again and my girlfriend started to introduce me. The neighbor said, "Oh, I've already met your . . . . " The sentence ended there. She couldn't find a word.
In 1970, the US Census Bureau coined the abbreviation POSSLQ, which morphed into the wonderful but short-lived word posslq, pronounced pahs'-ill-cue. The abbreviation meant "person of opposite sex sharing living quarters." I remember reading a poem that started "Oh, there's nothing that I wouldn't do/If you would be my posslq." I don't think that there's a precise English equivalent of Swedish sambo, but I am sure that that useful Swedish word will never make its way into English. The English word sambo, as has been pointed out elsewhere in this thread, is a crude racial slur.
I would like to make it clear that my previous comment wasn't a complaint, but an observation. Correct translations have to work both ways and 'cohabitant', although technically accurate, just isn't used commonly used in English, whereas 'sambo' in Swedish is. I think 'partner' is the best translation even if it leaves out the cohabiting element ('bo' in Swedish). It is generally assumed in English that you live with your partner.
Yes, maybe you could say Den här är min sambo if you have, say, three people in front of you and you point right at one them. It would mean more like 'This one is my cohabitant' and to my ears at least it would sound both dehumanizing and rude. Don't recommend it, unless your cohab is a potted plant.
You're right that it has nothing to do with the gender of the word indicated. I'm not sure what you mean by defined vs non-defined, but it doesn't matter whether the object is definite or indefinite, previously known or not: both Det här är boken and Det här är en bok are perfectly fine. It's just that this construction, saying that 'what I am talking about is X', the subject is always neuter.
Yeah there really is no direct translation because there isn't a full cultural equivalent. It's useful to remember that laws and practices around marriage and cohabitation aren't necessarily the same across cultures - for instance a much larger proportion of the swedish population than, for example, the american pop, will live "in sambos" with their partner instead of pursuing marriage. There are different legal protections (regarding assets and children in the events of separation or death etc.) in sweden for people who are sambos with each other than people who live with their romantic partners in the u.s. too.
I don't disagree, but it's virtually impossible to find a suitable term that works for all native speakers. I think you could easily make a similar complaint no matter the default term chosen. The course accepts a ridiculous number of alternate solutions as well.
To echo the comments, partner is the word we would use in English. I would never use the word cohabitant in a million years!
If you live with someone and are in a relationship, they are your partner. If you share a place with someone you aren't in a relationship with, they are your flatmate or housemate.
People don't learn English with Duolingo?
'People understand that it's the Swedish word..'
You're saying that users already know this:
"I'm learning English but I know that 'sambo' is a Swedish word which is a racial slur in English but has no precise equivalent in English and that I can use it when speaking English with Swedish speakers"
Duolingo doesn't teach? Everybody already knows everything?
The problem is that there is an English word and it does not mean the same thing.
It's not saying en. "smorgasbord" = sv. "smörgåsbord" it's saying en. "bad" = sv. "bad".
Given that it is a racial slur I think it is a particularly bad false friend to teach.
Mod me down again.
Thanks ;) someone else modded my second comment down. So I'm wrong. However I don't get it, it's like teaching German speaking students of English that "handy" is a good English word for 'mobile phone' because people that speak both English and German will know exactly what you mean.
Yeah, I get your point. And I'm absolutely not saying you're conclusively wrong - we evaluate these things over and over and over again ad nauseam, then we change our minds now and then, and I expect we'll have a thorough discussion on it for the next tree version as well. Clearly, there are pros and cons to either approach here.
We only allow the Swedish word in English translations for things that are important culturally to teach, but which lack a direct equivalent in English. This includes words like fika and a few other nouns - verbs don't work well in this manner.
Ideally, I would love to be able to enter a pop-up description that appeared optionally whenever certain words come up in the course. For instance, the first time you encounter sambo, you're shown a small info box on its meaning and cultural relevance, as well as why it is difficult to translate well while maintaining brevity. Then, whenever you come across sambo again, you're shown a small icon - maybe an exclamation point in a circle, or something - which lets you toggle the explanation again.
However, that's entirely hypothetical and I don't think such a feature is coming any year soon. So for now, we have to weigh the benefits and drawbacks for each of these sentences.
As you know, I'm currently leaning towards presuming that people will know that "sambo" is neither the English term for the Swedish word, nor an appropriate thing to say in English at all. But having lots of people trying to improve their English through using this course is a problem, as is the comments section not being available for all platforms as well.
To be honest, the more I think about it, the more I'm starting to question my judgement here. I won't change the translations at this time, but I'll bring it up with the team again to have another discussion about it.
Either way, thanks for your input. I do appreciate it whether I agree with it or not. :)
I gather from newspapers and a few personal communications in the US, that "partner," as GWYNNETHHAUXWELL proposed, without any other context is being used and understood to mean "cohabitant," which no one ever says. It doesn't have to get more complicated than that. However, in a sentence like this in a Duo context, there is no good solution. Human resources language in companies uses "domestic partner," which covers the subject, but again, one probably wouldn't introduce someone that way.
I agree with you. We try to accept as many reasonably feasible solutions as possible to at least try to cover what people may try to enter. Here's a list:
cohab/cohabitor/cohabiter/cohabitee/partner/significant other/live in boyfriend/roommate/domestic partner/housemate/flatmate/partner/flat mate/common law partner/life partner/live-in partner/live in girlfriend/live in partner/defacto/de facto/cohabitant spouse/cohabiting partner