"The man runs far away when he finds bread knives in the cabinet."
Translation:Manden løber langt væk, da han finder brødknive i skabet.
Why is "when" translated with "da" and not "når"? The action is not in the past.
It is definitely 'da' and not 'når'.
The logic might be something a long the lines of considering the running as the present, and therefore the finding of the knives is in the past. Though only just in the past, that still counts.
And other way of thinking about is is looking at the differences between the meaning with 'når' and 'da'¨. With 'når' it would become "The man runs far away whenever he finds bread knives in the cabinet." so more of a general statement about the man. Where as with 'da' it speaks only of a specific instance where this happened.
It is very intuitive to me as a Dane, but explaining it I see how difficult it actually is. But I hope this helps somewhat.
That makes sense if you think of it as someone describing the plot of a film. But since that's not the usual English interpretation of that sentence, is 'når' also grammatically acceptable?
It can be both depending on context. It could be two people whispering about what the outcome of their prank will be, and then you use "når". Which I did. Native speaker getting it wrong. Sometimes, it would be nice if Dualingo put in some context if they don't accept all possible meanings of a sentence.
I totally agree. The lack of context makes it difficult to make choices and to understand. It also makes it harder to learn the vocabulary.