"Det är tre bokstäver i ordet sju."

Translation:There are three letters in the word seven.

March 19, 2015

36 Comments
This discussion is locked.


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

This sentence makes no sense in English :-P


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ion1122

I think it's wrong to say that the English sentence here "makes no sense". We all know what it means, so it must make sense.

The problem, rather, is that the English sentence is false, while the Swedish translation is true.

In any case, please see my comment elsewhere on this page for a solution to this "paradox".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PavelSedlk1

Whenever I listen to the song called "Love Is Just a Four-letter Word" by Bob Dylan/Joan Baez I wonder, how to translate the title to my language. BTW what is the best translation to swedish? Kärlek är bara ett fyra-bokstav ord?


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

I'd probably go with fyrbokstavsord to get the beat right. You could also say fyrbokstavigt ord or rewrite it as e.g. ett ord med fyra bokstäver.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PavelSedlk1

Thank you for the swift answer and for everything you're doing. :-)


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

In case anyone is wondering, it does accept "There are three letters in the word "sju"" as correct.


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

When asked to put wordblocks in the right order, the only option is to translate to "There are three letters in the word seven." Semantics versus logic? I think all agree that the English sentence makes no sense. Solving the confusion and frustration could be so simple. Distract one. Change the sentence to "Det är tre bokstäver i ordet sex." Or be more subtle. There are four letters in the word four.


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

Great to know, thank you :D


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

That's very strange. I copy pasted my answer, right before it was rejected so that I can ask on this post. So it did not accept: "There are three letters in the word "sju"." Has this changed, since this comment has been written?


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

Duolingo has always had issues with quotation marks - I'm guessing that's the reason it wasn't accepted. It should have been, but there's no way to tell for sure.


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

Awesome, thanks! Good to know for next time!


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

This makes sense


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

So, can you use "det finns tre bokstäver..."? I've always associated "det är" with "it is" and "det finns" with "there is" or "there are", and generally I've not had trouble with those correlations... Am I missing something?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larry-Johnson

I have the same question. I thought that if it was not just a temporary situation that "det finns" would be preferred.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/reeshi96

yeah same here. I don't understand why 'Det finns..' is wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ion1122

It is fun to be given a statement that appears to be true in Swedish but false in English:
1. Det är tre bokstäver i ordet sju.
2. There are three letters in the word seven.

The solution to this "paradox" is to use more sophisticated translation and punctuation:
1. Det är tre bokstäver i ordet "sju".
2. There are three letters in the word "sju".
3. There are three letters in the Swedish word for "seven".
4. There are three letters in "sju", the Swedish word for "seven".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ens5
  • 1236

I didn't try it, but I was wondering whether the translation There are five letters in the word seven is accepted?


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

I doubt it, because although it is a true statement, it isn't an accurate translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mak0rz

I was just curious enough to try "There are three letters in the word 'sju'" to find it is actually acceptable.


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

Yeah, me too, since "sju" is a static word, it shouldn't be translated in this case. We would say "there are three letters in the word 'sju'", exactly like you said, but I didn't want to try it, since I was in a test to skip a level, but came here to check if I could find the answer to the same question, hahahahaha It seems we could find out that this exact sentence is accepted :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bobi32

It really should be though :p A book translator for instance would definitely change this number so that the sentence still makes sense, then it is an accurate translation ;)


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

Oh, definitely; if we were translating for any purpose besides our own education, I think it would be perfectly logical to tweak the sentence like that. It's just that, in the context of this exercise, it's important for Duo to know that you know your numbers.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bobi32

Translating tre with five here tends to prove that you know your numbers too, I think. It's not like accepting any random number.


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

I'm late to the party but I wanted to add that bobi32's suggested translation has been accepted all along as well. I think this is all in good fun, but as your conversation shows, we have to be careful not to add too many of these. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bobi32

At the very least, “There are three letters in the word sju.” should be accepted, as sju and seven are not the same word per say, thus we change the meaning of the sentence by translating “sju” here.


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

Well, yes. What I mean is, saying "five" shows that you know how to count in English. Saying "three" shows you know what tre means. It's not perfect either way, but since the goal here is to learn what Swedish words mean, it makes sense that the most literal translation would be preferred, even if it results in an untrue English sentence.


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

Three consonants anyway.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Garrett967525

I would like to ask about the rule: Det finns verses det är. I always thought det finns was used to say that there is something and it will stay that way for a while, while det är is more of a temporary thing. Clearly the word sju will not change forever, probably, so why is it det är instead of det finns?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Guy457759

I tried to get round it by saying "the word for seven". It marked it wrong, but that is what sju is!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rusty401767

Any difference in det finns or det är


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

Does stäver mean something?


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

Do you know what runes looked like? Take this, for instance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runes#/media/File:CodexRunicus.jpeg

Notice that every letter has a straight line as its base. That was called staf, cognate of English "staff", since it resembles one. The plural of that was stäfver. From there, we get bokstav / bokstäver, although the modern form of staf is stav, and the plural of that is the weaker stavar.


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

Ooh! That's great! I love the origin! Thanks for the explanation! :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ledu993463

Since I haven't found an answer to the question yet; Is it also possible to say: "Det finns tre bokstäver i ordet sju." instead of det är?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ion1122

My reaction is that your sentence is grammatical, but not quite what is meant.

I think the problem is that your sentence would be like saying in English "There exist three letters in the word 'sju'." But we don't want to focus on whether there are letters that "exist" in some philosophical or metaphysical sense. Rather, we are saying only that in a certain word there happen to be a certain number of letters, whose existence is taken for granted.

Compare the following:
1. There are soccer stadiums in Sweden.
2. There are 200 people in the stadium today.
I would use "det finns" to translate 1, but "det är" to translate 2.

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