1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swedish
  4. >
  5. "Det är en konst."

"Det är en konst."

Translation:It is an art.

January 15, 2015

27 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/takver

I think in English this sentence would only be used in speaking about someone's occupation or the application of a skill, so that 'art' is acting as a synonym for 'art-form' or 'knack'. Is this the sense if this sentence in Swedish? Or is this a grammatically correct way to point to a concrete object and describe it as a piece of art?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Blehg

It's the same as in English. Otherwise you'd say:
Det är konst = It is art
Det är ett konstverk = It is a piece of art


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Baba7249

Yes - in fact I think you'd be more likely to say "it is an art form" in the first place.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AquaAmber

Yes, "it is an art" makes no sense grammatically in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bex42

Perhaps it's regional. "It's an art" is a phrase I use quite often.

"How does the gardener get such straight lines in the lawn?" "I really don't know. It's an art!"

It doesn't mean art in the sense of painting or sculpture, it means something involving a skill or a knack. In the example above, the gardener has mastered the art of lawn-mowing. It's perfectly grammatical to say "It is a skill", and "It is an art" is equally valid.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KiwiDressager

Not regional... widespread use. At least on the 4 continents I have lived on!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BalvinderC1

Agreed from a British English perspective.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndreiFelix

I find it hilarious that konstig means something else entirely.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

It actually did mean 'artful' just a couple of hundred years ago, but most Swedes don't know this. The first time I found out was when I read about some painting from maybe 17th century that it was painted med egen konstig hand which made me laugh very hard.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bex42

Haha, that's a great line. It's fun to see where words come from and how they change. Thanks!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NathanHill16

There's an old anecdote (more legend than fact, unfortunately) that when King Charles II first saw the new St Paul's Cathedral in London, he described it as "artificial, pompous and awful" (or, as a modern English speaker would say, a work of art, stately and awe-inspiring). http://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/10/31/st-pauls-cathedral/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanSurf

Interesting indeed how word meaning shifts over short spaces of time from generation to generation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanSurf

I realised they must have been related when i was in the k-o-n part of the dictionary. Made me laugh when I had images of Swedes viewing anything art related as strange. "what the hell is she doing. It has no purpose. Strange".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Boddason

For those of you, who also learn German: It is the same use in German as in Swedish., e.g.:

"Es ist eine Kunst, Schwedisch zu sprechen." Det är en konst att prata svenska. (förrhoppingsvis rätt översättat)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zmrzlina

Correctly translated, but the past participle of "översätta" is "översatt". ;)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MihailDimitrov

Why "...a piece of art" is not accepted?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

'A piece of art' is ett konstverk, but that's not what the sentence is about. There are some good examples in takver:s comment and other comments on this page how the sentence could be used.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DJ5qTz

I agree the art of lawnmowing is a very different case. Yes you can use the words - the skill of the artist is an art. (Its clumsy but illustrates the point )

But here we are referring to a particular skill ( an art ) . The more significant use of the word art. To mean that general category of human endeavour that we call art cannot be sensibly used with a indefinite article. You can't look at the Mona Lisa and call it an art.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DJ5qTz

Not sure I agree with that. Ballet is an art form. In that context we are referring to ballet in the large i.e. The whole of that body of work we know as ballet. The act of ballet dancing is an art (skill)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

When replying to a comment, please press "reply" under that comment so that your answer is stored in the appropriate place in the conversation. If you use the text box at the very top of the page, there is no way of knowing in which context you intended your post.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DJ5qTz

You just cannot say that in English. You must say - it is a work of art. It is just that some nouns cannot be used with an indefinite article. Another example would be water. Instead of a water you would say some water or a glass of water.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/steffi5551

So the answer should be 'it is art' in english? to be grammatically correct...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

It is art would be Det är konst in Swedish. 'It is an art' has a different meaning. For instance: 'It is not an exact science, it is an art' or 'Ballet is an art, not a sport'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tegwyn5

You can't say "it is an art" in English. It is meaningless. You could say "it is a piece of art" or "it is art". I think this probably means a piece of art in Swedish?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tegwyn5

I see what you mean. It's just not normally used in a sentence on its own in English. It is normally used to describe something. Like 'cooking a three course meal is an art in itself' where it almost means a skill or talent.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

I can appreciate that. And I agree that it makes more sense in a larger context. But given that the point is to teach the very natural Swedish phrase, I'm not sure how we could do it otherwise.

Learn Swedish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.