"Vad hade du ätit då?"

Translation:What had you eaten then?

January 27, 2015

This discussion is locked.


In this sentence, is "då" referring to a point in time? As in, "I ate at 3 PM" "What had you eaten then?"

Or is it an interjection, as in "I had eaten already" "what had you eaten, then?"


It could actually be both, but I’m pretty sure it refers to the former.


I find it really that in both English and Swedish this sentence is ambiguous, why should two seemingly unrelated words be the same in both languages?


They're actually cognate. The Germanic root had a þ sound at the start, like English still does, but other languages like Swedish changed it to a d. In Scandinavia, the n at the end was eventually dropped, and the vowel changed.

You can practically see the evolution if you go through northern Europe:

  • Swedish:
  • Danish: da
  • German: dann
  • Dutch: dan
  • English: then


Shouldn't "what had you eaten in that case" be accepted? or am i understanding the sentence wrong?

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