"I at least have my family."
Translation:Jeg har i det mindste min familie.
Would it have been correct if I wrote "Jeg har i mindst min familie"? I still don't see the difference between the two.
That wouldn't be correct. I think "i det mindste" is idiomatic. It's not a structure we'd use for any other purpose. Just think of it as a translation of "at least", when used in the context of a general situation being bad but one thing being good. When "at least" is used in English to specify a minimum of an interval, that would be "mindst" in Danish. "There are at least 3,000 lawyers in the volcano" = "Der er mindst 3000 advokater i vulkanen". (from news report about law firm field trip gone wrong) "At least there are 3,000 lawyers in the volcano" = "I det mindste er der 3000 advokater i vulkanen". (spoken by man unfortunately stranded in volcano with an urgent need for legal assistance).
Fair enough, but sometimes "i mindst" is used to mean "at least" too, so now I'm really confused. Someone in another discussion said you use "i det mindste" if the sentence had a "det" in it or something.. so I did not use "i det mindste" in this sentence. Yet I got it wrong. So I really don't know when to use which one.
"I mindst ..." would mean "IN at least ..." as in "it was true in at least three of the cases" ("det var sandt i mindst tre af tilfældene"). There is no case in which it could just mean "at least". That's either "mindst" (if you're counting something, as above) or "i det mindste" (if it's a consolation)
So is the Danish sentence focussing the first person like the English sentence? Does it imply "unlike you"? Could it also mean a more neutral "(despite all that's happened to me) at least I have my family"?
It could mean both. You can't tell which it is when there's no context given. However, you could easily hear it if someone says it because in the first case, "Jeg" would be stressed, and in the second case, "har".
In the English sentence here, the uncommon positioning of the words seems to imply that it's "unlike you". There's no such hint in the Danish sentence. "At least I have my family" would be a better translation in my opinion.
Why is the word order rejected to start the sentence with I det mindste har jeg min familie.
Hmm, I don't really understand what 'mindste' means...
If 'det' is 'it', then how does the 'i' (for 'in'?) and 'mindste' play into it?
Can someone help me get a literal translation? Like 'I have in it ... my family'?
"Det" is not always "it". In this case, it translates to "the". When there's just a noun, we use a suffix (-en or -et) instead of a definite article. But when there's also an adjective, we use "den" or "det" as the definite article. E.g. "bjørnen" / "den store bjørn" ("the bear" / "the big bear")
Thanks for expanding on that, you explained it well.
I also noticed that "at least" in English is a saying, and could be understood with any combination of "at/in the least".
This also explains some of the varieties of use cases for "på", "i", etc. In English we also use combinations of in/on/at for different things. Didn't it (English) originally evolve somewhat from Norse?
Old Norse and English are both originated from the Old Germanic language, as well as German of nowadays. :-)