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  5. "The little boy"

"The little boy"

Translation:Den lille pojken

January 15, 2015



This is very confusing. Here you are saying "the" twice, the little the boy! But in "restaurangens personal" the equivalent translation "restaurangens personalen" is wrong because that would mean "the restaurant's the staff".

Why do we have a double "the" here for this sentence, but not elsewhere?


Late answer but this was a good question. As a general rule, Swedish has what is called double definiteness. Actually it could just as well be called triple, because the adjective also shows that the noun is definite:
'the red book' is den röda boken
The front article den, the ending on röd, and the ending on bok all show that the noun is definite.
After possessive pronouns and nouns in the genitive though, the noun isn't definite.
min bok 'my book'
hundens svans 'the dog's tail'
The possessive pronoun or noun in the genitive are by themselves enough to show that the noun is definite.


May i ask why is it plural with röda why not just 'den röd boken'?


The definite form of an adjective is the same as the plural form for almost all adjectives. So it is den röda boken, röda böcker and de röda böckerna (the red book, red books and the red books).


interestingly, one can find this across several Germanic languages:

rood: het rode boek. rot: das rote Buch. röd: den röda boken. rød: den røde bog.

in definitive form, the plural of the adjective is used.


Is it only applicable if the noun is with an adjective?


Why is lille used here? I thought little was lite or litet?


Liten is an irregular adjective. See http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/liten#Declension for its declension.


Lille is the male form of little/small. Ex. "Den lille mannen."


Is there any difference between lille and liten?


Not in meaning, but in usage. See the table here for the irregular adjective "liten": https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/liten#Swedish


i thought it should be lilla in definite form? why is it lille? is it just because it is an irregular adjective?


lille is an optional form that you can use only for masculine nouns. It's also correct to say den lilla pojken.


Why is it not den lille pojke?


It's because pojke in definite form is pojken.


why cant lille pojken be used, isnt pojken supposed to be the boy?


It is, but you have to use the definite article as well when you introduce an adjective. Another example:

  • the house = huset
  • the small house = det lilla huset
  • the yellow house = det gula huset
  • etc

  • 1392

Why is små not accepted here?


små is the plural form of this irregular adjective. Den lille pojken, de små pojkarna.


But isn't there no such thing as a masculine noun in Swedish? In some languages, boys and girls are neuter, not masculine or feminine, so how would you know which one "pojke" is? I only know that it's gendered.


As far as I understand a masculine noun in Swedish is a noun for a masculine person; all other en-nouns are just en-nouns. So you say "den lille pojken" and "den lilla flickan".


Shouldn't it be "den lilla pojken"?


Liten is the singular form. When you use the definite article "den", you have to use the plural form.


why is "den liten pojke" wrong?


You have to use the plural form of the adjective with definite nouns.


there are dozens examples of this kind, den lång kvinnan, den orange apelsinen, I don't get why it does not work for the _ boy too


It would be den långa kvinnan.


Den lille/lilla pojken.


You shall also check that it is lille when for masculine and lilla for feminine

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