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Relative Pronouns lesson

The lesson on relative pronouns in the Swedish course is titled "Pronouns relative", which feels slightly strange to me, especially since its explanatory text is headed "RELATIVE PRONOUNS".

And in the table of examples, the standard translation of "vilket" is given as "who", whereas I think "which" would be more typical, as in the whole-sentence examples following.

March 9, 2015



Might it be supposed to say "pronouns: relative"? Some skills in other languages are listed that way, IIRC.


If the title is supposed to be in Swedish, the title should be Relativa Pronomen, so you are right, that's really strange.

And vilket would indeed be which. Off the top of my head, I can't really think of a case where it would be anything different, and certainly not any case in which it would be who.


One example I can think of is barn. The child, who is sleeping - barnet, vilket sover.

Edit: Obviously my example was not fitting. Changed it.


Vilket barn som sover? Maybe I was unclear, but what I meant is that I can't think of a case in which vilket would be translated as who ^^'

Edit: I did find a form that follows this rule: Barnet, vilket hade älskats... - The child, who had been loved However, I feel that this is somewhat archaic, and I don't think I've ever heard this form. I would expect it to be written Barnet, som hade älskats. Just my impression though ^^


Maybe, Det nyfödda barnet, vilket vägde fyra kilo, var friskt och skrek högt. = "The newborn child, who weighed four kilos, was healthy and cried loudly."

Edit: Hmm, it would be which weighed four kilos wouldn't it? Damn, English is hard :)


Not necessarily. As I said though, it feels archaic to me XD


I prefer vilket in this sentence - the clause is non-restrictive i.e. it adds information that merely describes the noun. Som is primarily used for restrictive relative clauses, i.e. clauses that serve to identify the noun, but can be used for both. Essentially like 'which/who' and 'that' in English. However, when you use som in a non-restrictive sense (instead of vilken/vilket, you should always have commas in writing and pauses in speech before (and after) the clause. Compare the following:

  • Jag tyckte inte om huset, vilket var gult. (non-restrictive)
  • Jag tyckte inte om huset, som var gult. (non-restrictive)
  • Jag tyckte inte om huset som var gult. (restrictive)
  • Huset, vilket var gult, renoverades. (non-restrictive)
  • Huset, som var gult, renoverades. (non-restrictive)
  • Huset som var gult renoverades. (restrictive)


Vilken/vilket corresponds to both who or which in English, since it only introduces a nonessential (descriptive) clause. For vilket, which would be more typical since not many nouns referring to people have neuter gender in Swedish, but barn is one of them as I mentioned.


Thank you for pointing this out. I've changed the translation to which, which is better :D.
As someone here guessed, we did indeed pick 'Pronouns relative' from the course template, and we can't change that or the url now.

While I'm at it I'd like to add that vilken/vilket/vilka as a relative pronoun is pretty formal in Swedish. I hardly ever use it myself, even in writing. As JoelWibron says, it is possible to use it for living creatures in principle. But I'd really only recommend using it for referring to clauses, it can easily make a text sound stilted if you use it to refer to a noun.
(the interrogative pronoun that looks the same is of course totally normal and we use it all the time).


I agree than using it for nouns feels more formal than using it for clauses, and even though I wouldn't use it for nouns in speech I think it is a great resource in text if you want the relative clause to be strictly non-restrictive/descriptive. However, using it for clauses doesn't feel formal at all for me. Take for example Vi hade åkt iväg, vilket han inte visste om which feels as natural to me as *Vi hade åkt iväg och det visste inte han om". I can only speak from my own experience, but I think other people have a similar usage.


Totally agree, when you use it to refer to a clause like in your example, it sounds all OK.

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