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  5. "Ingen kan kunna allt."

"Ingen kan kunna allt."

Translation:Nobody can know everything.

February 18, 2015



NB! "Kunna" could here also mean skills, as in knowing how to do stuff.

There is, however, something worth discussing here; we would usually say "Ingen kan allt," which could indicate that the person who made this sentence wanted the answer to be simply "know."


why isn't this "Ingen kan vet allt"?


"Ingen kan veta allt."

Both are fine, but they mean different things.

kunna allt = Have the ability to do everything, be able to do everything.
veta allt = Have knowledge of everything.

It's not as straightforward as that of course, there are nuances that are hard to translate, because the two verbs overlap in ways different from English. For example, kunna generally refers to ability, and veta to knowledge, but you'd use kunna about knowing a skill (how to knit, how to speak French). Indeed, "Do you know this word?" is best translated by "Kan du det här ordet?".


Correct me if I'm wrong, please: so because I can reason out and explain Swedish grammar and vocab, jag vet svenska; but because it takes me effort to actual use Swedish, jag vet bara lite svenska (because I can speak/write/understand Swedish at all, just not very much of it). Is that correct?


With regards to language you say "kan" (ie "att kunna"). So in your case it would be "jag kan svenska" is "I know Swedish" and "jag kan en del svenska" is "I know a bit of Swedish". Instead of "lite"/"a little" we have a tendency to use "en del", which means "a part (of)".

It's better to think of knowing languages as abilities in Swedish. Also, I would never say "jag kan svenska", I would rather put it in the context of understanding, ie "jag förstår svenska".

A couple of examples:

I can speak (in) Swedish - Jag kan prata (på) svenska

I can write in Swedish - Jag kan skriva på svenska

I know Swedish - Jag kan svenska

I know a little Swedish - Jag kan en del svenska / Jag kan svenska till en viss del

I understand Swedish - Jag förstår svenska

I understand a little Swedish - Jag förstår en del svenska

I understand most spoken Swedish but I would not imply that I'm fluent - Jag förstår det mesta ni säger men jag pratar inte Svenska flytande. (contextual translation though)

Does that make sense @Sninguistics?


I'd disagree with the translation of "Do you know this word?", I would say the contextual translation is "Förstår du det här ordet?" eller "Kan du använda det här ordet?"

"Kan du det här ordet?" would be more of a spelling/writing/other-ability-like-context, ie "Can you spell this word?", not "Förstår du innebörden / meningen / användandet av det här ordet?"


If I understand the above discussion correctly, att kunna is about knowing how to do something (in German etwas können). As english does not have a verb with this notion I translated it as Nobody can do everything which - in my opinion - reflects the notion of having the ability better than Nobody can know everything. Though my answer was flagged as wrong... What do you guys think about that?


I'm in the same situation as you: att kunna is "kunnen" in Dutch. Translating att kunna as "know" feels wrong for us in this sentence. It's not about knowledge but about capability.


Your answer flagged as wrong is correct I would say. "Nobody can do everything" would be "Ingen kan göra allt" in Swedish. The sentence "Ingen kan kunna allt" is very hard to translate, the exact sentence cannot be made in English, neither "Nobody can can everything" nor "Nobody know know everything" makes sense, but in practice it means "Nobody can know everything".


How about: "Nobody can be capable of everything." Would seem more accurate than "Nobody can know everything."


Is the verb 'kånna' no longer in usage?


Speaking as a swede, I've never heard the word 'kånna'. I don't believe it exists, or it's an old-swedish word no longer in use.


I've never heard that either. Maybe EleniaT thought of känna, but that does not mean 'know' in the sense used in this sentence. känna either means 'feel' or 'know' as in 'know a person'.


I checked it up, it appears to be a mistake from an anki deck. I thought it was just another old word from the FSI course, but it is actually just wrong. Apologies!


It seems there is a bit of overlapping between the verbs "kan" and "kunna" that gets me really confused. Are they the same verb?


They are different forms of the same verb. Kunna is the infinitive while kan is the present form. See also https://sv.wiktionary.org/wiki/kunna


Thanks :) Sometimes it is difficult to put all the pieces together


Is there a rule when to use a double L, or is it random, like in English?


You use a double consonant when the vowel before them is short. Thats the basic rule.

Sometimes it's more complicated than that, but this seems the wrong place for that discussion.


Out of curiosity, is this a common Swedish cliche that's passed around, or just a random sentence?


Just a random sentence.

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