"Jag vill lära mig svenska."

Translation:I want to learn Swedish.

February 23, 2015

This discussion is locked.


It's kind of funny that in some American dialects learn can be used reflexively ie it would not be surprising to hear "I want to learn me Swedish" in the rural south. Sort of reminds me of how we also attempt to create a plural form of "you" in its absence.


Yes, and living in the rural South I hear it everyday. Also, how people will use "This here", "That there", and "Them there" just like in Swedish, too. Heck, "De där" is even pronounced like "Them there". :)


Superhelpful to memorise !


Why does "I want to teach myself Swedish" not work ?


lära sig is a reflexive verb meaning learn in English. The above sentence does not imply that you want to teach yourself Swedish. It only means that you want to learn Swedish. If you want to teach yourself Swedish, that would be Jag vill lära mig själv svenska or Jag vill lära mig svenska på egen hand or something like that.


I agree. To me, "teach myself" is the same as "learn it by myself" which is a bit different from "learn". The fact that "lära sig" is reflexive does not exclude the possibility of being taught by someone else.


I disagree. What you say is true if you're talking only about prescriptive language. If we want to describe how people actually use the language however, I think we'll find that the vast majority of Swedes would find SL "I want to teach myself Swedish" > TL "jag vill lära mig svenska" perfectly reasonable, which would make the reverse translation just as reasonable.

I know that prescriptive vs descriptive grammar is a huge debate topic, and if Duolingo is intended to be prescriptive, then you are absolutely right. Personally, though, I hope that it is not.


I think we disagree about the meaning of this sentence then. I think if you translate it as 'teach yourself', you're adding something that isn't there in the first place.

As for prescriptive/descriptive, it's not all black and white. When you try to teach something, you sometimes need to simplify things. We've found that while working on this course. Sometimes accepting things that are in reality said by native speakers makes it very confusing to learners.


Yeah, I get what you're saying, but I disagree with your conclusions. Standard for linguists. :) Personally, I think lära mig covers lära mig själv too - as a subset, if you will, and depending on context, of course.

As you said, teaching the right way is never easy, and I'm not sure there is a definite right way in this case. I mean, that's why Duolingo was founded in the first place. I've deleted my second-level comment so people don't lose hearts over it.


I know, I'm a linguist myself. Brainwashed into 200% anti-prescriptivism. :D Working with this course has actually shifted my views a little.

PS Duo has a strict policy against cursing, could you please edit your comment a little? thanks.


Ah, of course - I didn't realise. Will edit the post and stick to PG profanities. :)

... and actually, knowing me, I am more than likely to have left a few other adult words scattered here and there. I'll make sure to backtrack and remove them.


I would argue that "lära sig" covers "lära sig själv" as much as "learn" covers "learn by oneself"/"teach oneself" and depenting on context there can be other things implied like "learn at school" ... so I don't see any need to accept anything else than the literary translation


In English it is perfectly fine to say "I'm going to learn my Swedish." It's probably an idiom and it could be regional. I think the Scandinavian languages are much more a part of English than we realize. I've always wondered why we spell of and pronounce it av... hum... mayhaps it's a throwback and we simply misspelled it in English.


Thanks for the comments everyone - I had exactly that question, and found it super helpful to read your discussion. Now I'm off to look up prescriptivism...


This basically sums the reason why we're all here heh.


This is the most fun section so far! "I want learn me Swedish!" All the people naysaying about literal translations are missing out on a great deal of entertainment. ...or maybe it's just me


You should you use Duolingo.


are there exceptions where lära sig not require the sig?


Not really, though it depends on how you look at it. lära [someone] really means to "teach" rather than learn, but if you teach yourself you're effectively learning - so in practice, lära sig does mean "learn".

Hence, this extends to other people as well: jag lär dem tyska means "I teach them German". No reflexion.


I´ve done it, I´m through the entire course. What a pity.


Me too. Maybe one day they will make it easier to learn languages independently.


why does it need to add mig?


Because att lära ist to teach. When you say jag lärar mig, you teach yourself :)


Thank you. This is hard to understand for me. :D


It's not a "want to" anymore, I am!

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