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"Sweden comes in second place."

Translation:Sverige kommer på andra plats.

March 5, 2015

20 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gaby754722

Why not "Sverige kommer i sekund plats"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

In English, "second" can mean either a place in a list (first, second, third, etc.) or a unit of time. But in Swedish, sekund is only a unit of time - for counting places, you'd use andra (första, andra, tredje, etc.). We used to have the word sekunda to correlate with English list "second", but it's archaic now, and only used in certain fixed expressions.

Also, in Swedish, you always come ("on") a place - not i ("in"). That's just the way it is.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Allison23215

I'm finding I confuse i and på because I assume English and Swedish use them the same way. Interesting though, because often the Swedish version makes more sense.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

I can imagine. There are just SO many exceptions and non-1:1 translations when it comes to prepositions within just about any language pair. Tricky little buggers.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MikyNik1856

Maybe it's a little bit of a stretch but generally "på" means "on", and if you get a good placement IN a contest you end up ON the podium.

Your final position IN the competition corresponds to a specific spot ON the podium. Well, at least it's a good mnemonic :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Betty672340

Why isn't it "platsen"? Otherwise after the ordinal numbers there is always the determined form of the noun, which would make sense to me in this case, too, because there is only one second place. So why not?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rumour_man

Why 'på' and not 'i' in this context? what's the rule?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

The best I can say is that generally, most nouns denoting places take either or i. There are some nouns that can use either, sometimes with a difference in meaning, sometimes not. But most commonly, any location word is used with either i or . In many cases they correspond to in and on in English. The word plats is only ever used with , it's never used with i in any context.

The general ideas that 'in' and 'on' derive from are the ideas of being 'inside' or 'on top of' something. A clear example that works the same in English and Swedish is lying in or on a bed. The languages also agree about being in a house and standing on a bridge. But in some cases, the languages have chosen different constructions. For abstract words like plats, you can choose to view it as an 'area' that you are inside of (as English does) or as a 'surface' that you're on top of (the Swedish view of it).

So while there is some method to the madness, I'm afraid your best bet is still to try to learn the preposition along with the word. There aren't that many sentences with plats in the course, but flygplats 'airport' works the same, so it's på flygplatsen. Personally I find that saying combinations like that aloud to myself helps me remember them better.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

I'm afraid that like I wrote above, that's just the way it is. Prepositions are really annoying, always changing between languages, and often - like here - there's no rule you can apply. I'm sorry I can't give a better answer, I would have loved to.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rumour_man

Thanks for replying :)

But this is where something like Duolingo fails to help you learn a language - when it alerts you to when something is wrong and yet doesn't explain why it is wrong, and even though no rule exists to tell you why it is wrong you still don't get the question right, lol. Sorry, not sure that makes sense. But the only way I may ever get that sentence right is to then keep getting it wrong enough so that it sticks....

I'm just really hitting a wall with Duolingo as a means to effectively learn a language, when I keep encountering so many 'that's just the way it is' vagaries. The model needs enhancing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

I get what you're saying, but I'm not sure it's even possible to teach something like prepositions that well - especially not in a beginner's course, like this is.

I mean, sure, there's bound to be some explanation to why English uses "in" and Swedish here. But it's likely to be something along the lines of "centuries ago, Swedish took this preposition from Old Swedish and gradually started using it for these words while English took the other route" which isn't really a great explanation either - and that's if the explanation is even known to linguists, which explanations mostly aren't in the case of prepositions.

It really sucks, though, and I absolutely agree that Duolingo could improve how it teaches them on some level. But I don't really think this is Duolingo's fault, just a natural hurdle that comes with learning any language. Please do keep learning, and do keep asking questions - even if the answer will occasionally be "I'm afraid you'll just have to learn that by heart."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rumour_man

Sure I get what you're saying. But there is a way to try and teach it on some level, otherwise SFI or SAAS wouldn't exist. I just mean that all these handy explanations and tips could be collected and actually taught and then linked to such questions - when the algorithms that Duolingo uses to track what needs strengthening can sense that the same question just keeps getting answered incorrectly. Like a little 'info' popup' type feature... or a 'primer' lesson. Such intelligent quizzes - with 'revision modes' to help learners get through the questions, have been developed in other e-learning authoring tools, I know because I work in the industry. I know languages are tricky and change over time, but it doesn't mean that it couldn't be attempted. right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

Absolutely. Like I said, I agree there's room for improvement. I have quite a few ideas myself, and I have a master's in language technology, so I have some opinions about where to start. :)

If anything, I would be more than happy if they started to fix some of the most glaring bugs...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnauti

We have a collection of explanations that you can find in a sticky post under Swedish discussions, and we try to add links to explanations in the sentence discussions whenever one of them fits, or just answer the question if we can. I think the sentence forums in this course are pretty good so far, any user who actively consults them will learn a lot. For other stuff, what we can do is really very limited. Duo's founder has stated that he 'hates grammar' and wants Duo to be a way to learn languages closer to how children learn, by being exposed to it and making your own mistakes. But no one really knows what the engineers at Duo are currently working at, so what the future will look like is anyone's guess, as usual.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Auramyst

What is the difference between andra and sekund?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/devalanteriel

andra is the second of something, as in first, second, third, etc.

sekund mostly corresponds to the other senses of second, e.g. the unit of time (sixty seconds in a minute), the tonal interval, or the geometrical angular measure.

Edit: And I just realised I wrote a longer answer on that in this very thread two years ago. Please read the other comments before posting - thanks. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Auramyst

Oh sorry, I skimmed through and did not see it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MikyNik1856

It seems that "andra" is a definite form so my question is why do we need such a form? Of course it could be that "andra" is more like an adverb and that just settles the matter. Any help?

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