"Den lille havfrue når ikke at kysse prinsen."

Translation:The little mermaid is not in time for kissing the prince.

April 1, 2015

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Can someone explain the structure of this sentence? What does når play as here?


In this sentence, "når" is a verb in the present tense and it means "make it" (in time). It's a convenient word that's missing in English. "I can't make it" (referring to a time issue) translates as "jeg kan ikke nå det". "Nå" can also mean "reach". When it's used in reference to a temporal deadline, you can see it as a metaphor, where space is substituted for time. A hypothetical event happening at a particular point or interval in time becomes a point or area in space which is either within your reach or out of it.


So the word by word translation is "The little mermaid reaches not to kiss the prince"


I think so, I first translated it to Spanish (at nå = alcanzar) as La sirenita no alcanza a besar al príncipe, then turned that to English, The little mermaid does not manage to kiss the prince and it was accepted.


It's a good suggestion for an English translation of the sentence. However, in the Danish sentence, it's specified that the reason why the little mermaid doesn't manage to kiss the prince is that she's too late for it. It is implied that she would have managed it if she had had more time. It's not because she doesn't know how to kiss or because the prince doesn't want to kiss her, for example. This is not clear from the English sentence. So this is one of the cases where Danish has the upper hand in comparison to English.


Not really - the original translation makes it clear that she is too late, although it is wrong in that it should be 'to kiss' not 'for kissing'


the English translation is unnatural


Dear Mods, what are the other accepted answers here? Because the suggested one is just ridiculous.


I don't understand why 1) "too late" is not correct when "not in time" is and 2) why "too kiss" is not correct but "for kissing" is


So, this is obviously an idiomatic use of "når" that should have been noted somewhere.


.....umm.... what???


The little mermaid doesn't kiss the prince in time - actually makes sense rather than what is there


"The little mermaid is not in time to kiss the prince" is accepted


Can someone please tell me why this is incorrect:

"The little mermaid was too late to kiss the Prince."


The original sentence is in present tense but your translation is in past tense.


når ikke should be translated as 'fails' otherwise the sentence is garbage in english


That would be a perfectly sound English sentence but it would erase the temporal aspect of the original sentence. The reader would no longer know that the reason she failed to kiss the prince was related to time: Either she was too busy, too late, or she was cut off and never made it to the point in time when she would have kissed him. It's a hard sentence to translate.


Both the English and Danish seem odd. "for kissing" should surely be replaced with "to kiss". But in the Danish is something missing like a reference to time ("tid")? I don't get the "when not to" structure. Or could it be reformulated as "...er for sent til at..."


The time reference here is "når" and it doesn't translate to "when". (https://ordnet.dk/ddo/ordbog?select=n%C3%A5,2&query=n%C3%A5)
If you look at the linked page you can see the number of definitions associated with it. This sentence uses "når" in the third definition.

have tilstrækkelig tid eller held til at gøre noget bestemt eller til at noget bestemt sker
(to have enough time or luck to do something certain or until something certain happens.

And here the little mermaid "når ikke" (is not in time) to kiss the prince.

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