1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Swedish
  4. >
  5. "De är kanske bröder?"

"De är kanske bröder?"

Translation:Maybe they are brothers?

February 24, 2015



Woops, I was assuming kanske came from a Swedish form of chance, so the leap to perchance - perhaps - maybe wouldn't be far.
But it's derived from kunna [Old Norse: can, to be able / know how to do ] + ske [Old Swedish: happen ].

Still an effective mnemonic, though (in my head anyway) :D


Can't it also be "Are they possibly brothers?"?


No, that'd be "är de möjligtvis bröder?", and while I understad the semantics of it I do think it's good to know and practice the difference between possibly and maybe.


would "Kanske de är bröder?" be allowed, or does kanske have to go after a verb?


No, but kanske är de bröder would work.


In the notes and tips, it says that adverbs can only go after the verb. Are there a lot of exceptions?


I changed the text there into this, which I think is more accurate:

Unlike English, adverbs are always placed after the verb in sentences that start with the subject. This is because of the V2 rule – the verb must always come second.

It is definitely possible to put the adverb before the verb, but
1. then the subject must go after the verb
2. this is a less common word order

But you can definitely say things like Långsamt går jag hem 'Slowly I walk home' – it can easily sound poetic since it is a less common word order, but it's a totally correct sentence.

There's a longer post about word order here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/8970470 that may also be helpful.


Isn't "kanske" an exception here? You can actually say "De kanske är bröder", but that word order doesn't work with any other adverb. I think I once read that this special case is because "kanske" originally was "kan ske" (≈ may be).


Yes, I think kanske is the only real exception, but the rule it can break is V2, there isn't a rule that says the adverb absolutely has to go after the verb in main clauses. (Adverbs that describe the verb action usually go after the verb in main clauses, but that's a tendency, not a rule).


Would that still be a question, if you change the word order?


With a question mark in writing or a slight rise of tone at the end in speech, yes.


Why is it 'de är kanske bröder?' rather than 'är de kanske bröder?' I thought we should invert verb and subject to form a question?


It's the same in English really -- are they maybe brothers? and they are maybe brothers?


I would say "Är de kanske bröder?" is a possible translation (as Arnauti explained above, "kanske" is a possible exception to the V2 rule), but it's not the most common one. It also gives me a different feeling than Duolingo's sentence; Duolingo's sentence makes me think of someone speculating that they may be brothers, while your question makes me think of someone asking someone else if they happen to be brothers, by any chance.


shouldn't there be [ɧ] sound in "kanske"?


Kanske kan be said as either [kanɧɛ] or [kanʃɛ]. Both are common and used. Where I'm from, in Stockholm, the latter is more common.


Is de really pronounced 'dom' or is that an error?


De and dem are most of the time pronounced "dom". There are certain situations where they can be pronounced "de" and (presumably) "dem" respectively, but you'll never go wrong pronouncing them "dom" always.

De lagar mat -- pronounced "dom"

De blåa skorna -- can be pronounced either "dom" or "de"

I'm not a Swede, so don't completely take my word for it. But this is just information I'm passing down here.


Read all about the pronunciation of de here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/7746672
tl;dr: some dialects pronounce it as di; the pronunciation de is only ever used by people reading aloud.


Hej Marion. that is one of the problems you may almost have in hearing as a forign language student at the begining


Why 'could be' is not correct?


Am I right to believe that, since the verb comes 2nd, this would not be a question except for the puncuation at the end telling us it is being treated like one? Could I say it as a statement also, if I excluded the question mark?


Yes, just like in English, we can create questions using just intonation, and this is an example of that.


I somehow translated this as "maybe they are breads?". I'm starting to worry about my bread addiction.


Too me, "Maybe they are brothers?" and "Are they maybe brothers?" Have different meanings to me. The former is rhetorical while the later, albeit funny sounding (thought I do hear it sometimes), is a non-rhetorical question. Do both of these meanings apply to this sentence, or would they latter be better translated as "Är de kanske bröder?"


Is there some difference between maybe and probably. Because They are probably brothers wasn't accepted as an answer.


Maybe = it may be. There is a chance. Perhaps.
Probably = there is a high probability. Not just a chance but at least more likely than not.


I agree, and to build on this: As a native Swede I would translate "They are probably brothers" as "De är förmodligen bröder".


The question mark is evidently correct in Swedish, but in English this sentence is a statement. One can make it a question with inflection when speaking, but it has to be written with a period, not a question mark. And without the inflection, in speaking it is also a statement. "Maybe they are brothers" does not require an answer.


No, both Swedish and English use spoken inflection to make a statement into a question and in both languages the question mark can represent that inflection for the same purpose.


There shouldn't be a ? here because it's not a question.


Uhh, currently "They may be brothers" is accepted but it occured to me after the fact that I do not think this should be accepted given the presence of the question mark in the Swedish sentence.


I answered "Maybe they are bread?"


The word order seems funny to me. I would have put the "kanske" at the beginning. I guess as an English speaker I'm doing a direct translation (which I know doesn't always work) and seeing this example as saying "They are maybe brothers." Of course, that sentence would be very weird in English.

Learn Swedish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.