It really wasn’t that fancy a Swedish sentence


I dreamed that I was on vacation with my family at a cabin in the woods. I went downstairs with my elder child, and in the playroom I saw another family who are good friends of ours. I guess they chose to vacation at the same place.

They had hired a Swedish-speaking nanny to help with the kids. The nanny asked me a simple question, and I gave a straightforward answer. "Hon är den äldre av mina två barn."

The nanny was all so impressed that I was using like super-fancy-pants Swedish grammar.

Spoiler alert: It isn't particularly fancy.

Comments (10)
  1. Jack says:

    It looks like a word for word translation of its English equivalent, which definitely is not fancy.

  2. 640k says:

    She's the older of my two children.

    [What's your point? -Raymond]
  3. j b says:

    Do Swedes really use the "äldre" (older) form when there are two of them, just like in English?

    In Norwegian, we use "eldste" (oldest), whether there are two, three or more to be compared, if there are no older one.

    Norwegian and Swedish are so closely related that we understand each other without any formal training, but I never noticed this difference between the languages (if it really is so), even though I speak with Swedes regularly. Maybe it is the lack of formal training, the laissez-faire attitude to learning the language, is why I have overlooked it.

    [I don't know if it's what Swedes say, but it's what I say! -Raymond]
  4. Thotaz says:

    640k just translated what you wrote in Swedish Raymond.

    [I know, but what was the point? It didn't contribute to the conversation as far as I could tell. And if it was to show off how good your Swedish is, wouldn't it be better to, say, write something in Swedish? Or was it just showing off "Look, I know how to use an online translator"? -Raymond]
  5. kme says:

    I don't think you need an online translator – any English speaker should have been able to figure out that sentence in context if they read it aloud (and perhaps also recalling the Scottish word "bairn").

  6. DeCaf says:

    Probably should be "Hon är DET äldsta av mina två barn" by the way ;)

    [Oops. I got faked out by the wrong antecedent (barn vs. hon). Thanks. -Raymond]
  7. None says:

    I agree with Vlad. I appreciate the translation as it helps me better understand the context of the story.

    [I double-checked that both Google Translate and Bing Translator had no trouble with the sentence. If you want to know what it means, it's very easy to find out. Sometimes you have to do a little bit of work, and that's intentional. -Raymond]
  8. Vlad says:

    Providing a translation for anyone who may have not understood it *is* contributing to the conversation.

  9. Mr Fancy says:

    Bing can't translate "fancy-pants" to Swedish. It isn't particularly fancy.

  10. Dave says:

    >I double-checked that both Google Translate and Bing Translator had no trouble with the sentence.

    >If you want to know what it means, it's very easy to find out. Sometimes you have to do a little

    >bit of work, and that's intentional.

    Kinnts es deppn ned a Weanarisch ren wid jeda nuamaale Mensch?

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