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"Is it a dream or reality?"

Translation:Är det en dröm eller verklighet?

February 15, 2015



"Är detta det riktigt livet eller bara en fantasi?"


If the original text clearly says "a dream" (articulated), why is "är det dröm" (without the article "en") an accepted answer?


Because in the construction "dröm eller verklighet", dream is percieved as an abstract concept rather than a dream in particular. In that case, the indefinite article may be omitted.


Of course it may, and I get that. But my point is: "dream" can well be an abstract concept in English, too. And when it is, it also uses no article. Therefore, by explicitly using the article, the original text eliminates ambiguity, and clearly makes reference to a particular dream, not the abstract notion. Hence, I felt that the Swedish translation should preserve that aspect.

In other words, since the concept of abstract vs concrete exists in English too, perhaps there should not be room for interpretation.

The point is pressed by the further fact that "reality" also suffers from the same interpretation, and in the original text it is clearly used in its abstract form (a curious choice).


I have nothing to add, but would like to stress that I agree with your interpretation and feel the mods should take a second look here.


I agree as well. Was very confused by this


Funny: I was thinking about leaving out the "en" because I was translating from a line in Verdi's "Falstaff": "è sogno o realità." I went with the "en" and it was graded correct. I am now glad to learn that Swedish offers the same alternative phrasing as Italian.


I may be wrong, but I seem to remember another similar sentence where the only correct translation accepted for verklighet in this expression was "the reality". Hence i put "verkligheten". Was this a dream, or reality?


We don't have a lot of sentences with reality. There's one that says Detta är den nya verkligheten where you have to translate verkligheten into English with the reality which I think is pretty obvious and anyway works exactly the same as in English – 'the new reality' vs 'a new reality' would give different meanings.

Generally they tend to use the indefinite more for abstract concepts in English: for instance we say i verkligheten in Swedish but you say in reality in English. But Är det en dröm eller verkligheten? sounds odd in Swedish. It's strange to compare one indefinite entity to another one that is definite. Is it a knife or the fork? There may be contexts where this would work, but generally if you want to make comparisons like that, you should start out with the known entity, the one that is definite. Otherwise you're going against the information principle (going from the old, known, to the new, unknown) which is one of the most important factors deciding word order.


Very complete and clear explanation, as usual. Tack igen!


Understood. Is then ' Är det en dröm eller en verklighet?' an acceptable answer? If not, then why? Is the 'en' not to be used twice around the 'eller' unlike English?


Isn't "sanning" correct also?


Nah, that should be truth then.


From the choice exercise I learnt that no "en" before "dröm" is needed, so in the translation exercise I left out the "en" - and was marked wrong and the correct translation shown is "Är det en dröm..." How's that?

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