"Hon står och gråter."
Translation:She is standing and crying.
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Does this construction have to be correct as to the person's actual physical position?
If I am sitting and reading, and someone on the phone asks me what I am doing, might I say "jag står och läser" to mean "I am in the middle of reading"?
If my husband is in the other room reading, and my friend asks me over the telephone what he is doing, but I am not sure if said husband is sitting or laying down, which one would I use? Is it personal preference? Are they both correct?
Yes, it's only correct to say this if she's actually standing up. You can't say Jag står och läser if you were in fact sitting down while reading (or you could, but you would be lying :D )
For 2, you'd make an educated guess. Does he usually sit or lie down? It doesn't matter if your guess isn't correct. Since most people rarely stand up and read, you would never guess står och läser unless your husband really happens to be doing that a lot.
Thanks, Lundgren8. The argument in your reference is quite right of course. Things just are not said the same way in different languages. And that needs to be accepted. But it is also nice to try and convey the whole image. In this instance a similar sentence could be translated as: she just stood there crying, which would be quite acceptable English. Using a past tense make the construct more appropriate I believe. However, he present tense also works. Perhaps it needs the addition of -just- and -there-. An interesting consequence of your reference is that when going from English to Swedish: -he was crying- can become: -han grätt, han satt och grätt, han stod och grätt, han låg och grätt. Take your pick! Quite different images. One would have to use: -han grätt- (I think). How did the designers of this course take this into account.?
I had to translate this sentence from English to Swedish, but I have no idea about the physical position of "she". Can I use any position I want? I mean, would it be correct "Hon står och gråter" and also correct "Hon ligger och gråter" and also correct "Hon sitter och gråter"? I admit I just used "Hon gråter" just to be sure, hahaha
Yes, exactly. The normal form is just hon gråter, but if you use [spatial verb] och, the meaning turns continuous instead. In other words:
- Hon gråter = She cries / She is crying
- Hon står/ligger/sitter och gråter = She is crying
Which spatial verb you use just depends on how she's physically situated.
That's actually a really good example of when it's appropriate. "Hey, where's Brian?" "Oh, he's just putting a shirt on, he'll be out in a minute." That kind of sense.
Do note that it's håller på att ta på sig rather than tar, since it's not the main verb and hence takes the infinitive.
Swedish doesn't have a continuous, so "she cries" and "she is crying" both translate to hon gråter. However, since there can be a need to express the continuous, Swedish has other ways of expressing this instead.
One such way is står/sitter/ligger och [verb]. It's simply a way of stating that she's currently crying. Just saying hon gråter may sound more like "she cries" when it should be "she is crying". The construction is very idiomatic and very common, and you absolutely need to know it for honestly any level of speaking the language.
The problem is that teaching this construction using Duolingo's system is very difficult. The default English translation is always used automatically for the reverse "translate into Swedish" exercise. Hence, if "She is crying" was used for the default translation, you'd never be asked to translate into the continuous forms, because Hon gråter is much better as a translation in isolation. But on the other hand, being asked to translate "She is standing and crying" is obviously ridiculous.
Those who built the course decided that ridiculous English is better than not teaching an important Swedish construction well, and I agree. It's just a shame that it showcases what's arguably Duolingo's largest shortcoming.
står och x is a construction used to express the continuous. Since English has continuous verb forms, this construction should typically be translated into the English continuous.
This gives us the problem that the Swedish construction is incredibly difficult to teach on Duolingo, since it's mostly based on trial and error, and since most users don't have access to lesson notes. So we use the literal translations when first teaching the construction, but not otherwise.
It's not a casual thing - it's common formally as well. The purpose is to express a continuous action, since Swedish lacks a proper continuous. English does have a continuous, though, so "she is crying" is a good translation of the phrase - and going from English, it depends on the situation and on what you want to express.