"What books are you reading?"
Translation:Vilka böcker läser du?
In English, the meanings of which and what have merged somewhat, and you can use both for this purpose. But in Swedish, their corresponding words - vilka and vad - still function differently. You have to ask vilken bok and vilka böcker. You use vad in the sense of what do you think? - vad tror du?
So i can switch between (vilken/vilket/vilka) and (vad) like when i switch sometimes in English between (which) and (what) ?
No, I'm trying to make the opposite point. :) In English, you can mostly use either which or what, it doesn't really matter. But in Swedish, vilka and vad have different meanings, and you cannot substitute one for the other.
ok, so the sentence we are discussing is originally swedish and translated to English but not the opposite :)
If you say Which book are you reading? in English you are implying a known list of options as opposed to what where you have no idea what they're reading. So there is a difference, but it's subtle.
Well, it can't really make it, since vilken and vad mean different things entirely.
Vad läser du för böcker is a well-formed and perfectly idiomatic phrase. :)
Does Swedish make that distinction? Also is it possible to say Vad läser du för böcker or something similar?
In English there can be a difference between "what books" (answer : biographies, novels, poetry, fantastic...) and "which books" (answer : those on the table etc...). Is there such kind of distinction in Swedish or does vilka cover both meanings ?
Yes but it could have been worded as "Which books are you reading?", which would have made the translation clearer...
Oh my gosh, how wrong I read. I misread this sentence as "What books are you stealing" lol
It's a question. The V2 rule only applies to main clauses that are not questions.
In questions, the verb goes first and the subject right after that. The only thing that can go before the verb are question words (like what or who) or, as in this cases, phrases that fulfill the same function. (what books has the same function in the sentence as just what could have had).
More about word order here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/8970470
Ah I see - because you could replace it with "What are you reading?" just as easily, which would be "Vad läser du?"
Is there a verb-first variation of this that would be appropriate as well? Like "Läser vilka böcker du?" or "Läser vad du?"
Those both sound wrong to me but I notice you said that the following would be correct in your example, so I'm wondering if the same is appropriate when asking what someone is reading: Läser hon? 'Does she read?'
Late answer, but: normal question word order without a question word would be e.g. Läser du de här böckerna? 'Are you reading these books?' Since vilka is a question word here, it wants to go first.