Scandinavian language challenge day 20

Today I worked through chapter 6 of Swedish in three months, covering:

  • conjunctions
  • word order in subordinate clauses
  • more about word order in main clauses
  • perfect and pluperfect tenses
  • irregular verbs
  • other words

Conjunctions

Co-ordinating conjunctions link main clauses together. Common examples:

eller
för
men

or
before
but

utan
och

after
and
so

Eller is used in a common form of tag question:
Han har två bilar, eller hur.
He has two cars, doesn’t he?


Subordinating conjunctions link subordinate clauses to main clauses. Common examples:

att

därför att
eftersom
fast, fastän
fär att
förrän
innan

that
when, as
because
as, since
although
in order to
before, until
before

medan
när
om
sedan
så att
tills
utan

while
when
if
after
so that
until
but

Att is often dropped, as that is in English:
Jag trot, (att) han kommer imrogon.
I think he is coming tomorrow.

Innan is used where the main clause is negative, but förran is used where it is negative
Jag kände henne, innan jag kom til Sverige.
Jag kände henne inte, förrän jag kom til Sverige.
I knew / didn’t know her before I came to Sweden.

Utan is used only if the first clause is negative and the second clause contradicts it (like German sondern):
Han är inte gammal utan ung.
He is not old but young

Word order in subordinate clauses

In subordinate clauses, the subject also goes before the verb. (So there is no subject-verb inversion). Subordinate clauses are usually introduced by:

  • a relative pronoun (such as som, vilken)
    Jag känner hans son, som jobbar på banken.
    I know his son, who works at the bank.
  • a question word (such as varför, hur)
    Han frågade, varför jag älskade hans dotter.
    He asked why I loved his daughter.
  • a subordinating conjunction (such as att, när)
    Vi vet, att svenska är ett lätt språk.
    We know that Swedish is an easy language

In main clauses, adverbs usually go after the verb or (if there is one) an auxiliary. But in subordinatedclauses, the verb (or auxiliary, if there is one) must go after the negative particle inte and some other very common adverbs, such as the following:

inte
aldrig
alltid
bara
gärna
hellre
helst

not
never
always
only
willingly
preferably
most of all

kanske
möjligen
ofta
redan
snart
sällan

perhaps
possibly
often
already
soon
seldom

Examples:

  • Deres barn tittar inte på TV
    Their children don’t watch TV.
    [inte follows verb in main clause]
  • De säger, att deres barn inte tittar på TV
    They say that their children don’t watch TV
    [inte precedes verb in subordinate clause]
  • Han ska inte läsa tidningen i dag.
    He should read the newspaper today.
    [inte follows auxiliary in main clause]
  • Han säger, att han inte ska läsa tidningen i dag
    He said he should read the newspaper today
    [inte precedes auxiliary in subordinate clause]

More about word order in main clauses

This chapter introduces two more cases when subject-object inversion occurs in a main clause:

  • If a subordinate clause precedes the main clause:
    Innan han läser tidingen, äter han frukost.
    Before he reads the paper, he eats breakfast.
  • After direct speech (introduced in Swedish by a dash, not by inverted commas):
    • – Jag skulle vilja ha soppa, sade hon.
      “I’d like to have soup”, she said.

Earlier chapters covered other cases where the subject and object are inverted because something other than the subject (for example, a question word or an adverb) occupies the first place.

Perfect and pluperfect tenses

The perfect tense is formed by combining the supine with the present tense of the auxiliary har (has). The pluperfect is formed by combining the supine with the past tense hade.

Examples:

  • Jan har alltid avskytt soppa.
    Jan has always detested soup.
  • Vi hade inte trott henne.
    We had not believed her.

The position of the simple adverbs such as inte and aldrig is immediately after the auxiliary har / hade.

Like in English, but unlike in Danish, Norwegian and German, the auxiliary used in forming these tense is always a form of the verb to have (ha) and never a form of to be (vara).

  • The past participle is used as an adjective and in constructing one form of the passive voice (with the auxiliary vara).
  • The supine is a verbal form used in forming the perfect tenses. In Swedish, the supine is a form similar to the neuter of the past participle, and in many cases identical to it. In most other West European languages (including Danish, Norwegian and German), the term past participle is used for this form as well, because these two forms are identical.

Supine of weak verbs:

Class
1
2
3

Ending
-at
-t
-tt

Infinitive
servera
beställa
avsky

Supine
serverat
beställt
avskytt

servera = serve; beställa = order; avsky = detest


I covered the supine of strong verbs on day 17.

Irregular verbs

Auxiliaries:

Infinitive
vara
ha
kunna

skola
vilja

Meaning
be
have
kan
must
will, shall
want

Present
är
har
kan
måste
ska
vill

Imperfect
var
hade
kunde
måste
skulle
ville

Supine
varit
haft
kunnat
måst
skolat
velat

Some others:

Infinitive
bli


förstå
göra
heta
veta
komma
lägge
säga
sätta
äta
se
ta

Meaning
become
get
go
und’rstand
do
be called
know
come
lay, put
say
set
eat
see
take

Present
blir
får

förstår
gör
heter
vet
kommer
lägger
säger
sätter
äter
ser
tar

Imperfect
blev
fick
gick
förstod
gjorde
hette
visste
kom
lade
sade (sa)
satte
å
såg
tog

Supine
blivit
fått
gått
förståttt
gjort
hetat
vetat
kummit
lagt
sagt
satt
ätit
sett
tagit

Some of the other words in this chapter

Nouns (like in English or German): en fru (-ar, wife); et glas (-, glas); en lunch (-er, lunch); et språk (-, language); en toalett (-er, toilet); en väg (-ar, road)

Other nouns: en frukost (-ar, breakfast); et hörn (-, corner); et lättöl (-, low alcohol beer); en matsedel, (-dlar, menu); pengar (plural, money); en servitris (-er, waitress)

Verbs: fråga (1, ask); hugga (4, chop, cut); rekomendera (1, recommend); träffa (1, meet)

Adjectives: farlig (dangerous, bad, serious); ledsen (sad); trevlig (pleasant, nice)

Other words: därborta (over there); lång (far, long); precis (precisely, just); säkert (certainly); väl (surely, I suppose); än (yet)

Other phrases: javisst (yes, of course); Det går sikker bra. (That will certainly be alright.); Går det bra att sitta här? (Is it all right to sit here?); Evas böcker ligger på bordet. (Eva’s books are on the table.); ha bråttom (be in a hurry)

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