All Nordic languages : " he is helped a lot "

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by J.F. de TROYES, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    Just a basic question. I am unsure whether these passive sentences are correct and usual :

    Swedish : 1. Han hjälpes mycket
    2. Han blir hjälpet mycket

    Norwegian : 1. Han hjelpes mye
    2. Han blir hjulpet mye

    Danish : 1. Han hjælpes meget
    2. Han bliver hjælpet meget

    Thanks for your answers.
  2. bicontinental Senior Member

    English (US), Danish, bilingual
    Danish: "Han hjælpes af sine forældre" is a grammatically correct passive form; it sounds quite formal to my ear, (maybe even slightly dated). The more common and colloquial way to say this would be "han bliver hjulpet af sine forældre" (please note the irregular past participle)

  3. mosletha Senior Member

    Haugesund, Norway
    I think the Norwegian sentences are both correct and common. I can also add a Norwegian nynorsk variant: Han vert mykje hjelpt.
  4. JohanIII

    JohanIII Senior Member

    In Swedish you drop the e in both.
    But they are rather quirky.
    Depending on context you would rather use hjälpsam, få hjälp, hjälpa till.
  5. raumar Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    This question may be less simple than it seems. In the Norwegian case, I agree with Mosletha that both alternatives are correct, and that both are used. But I am not so sure if both alternatives are common. Bicontinental's objections to "hjælpes" in Danish may apply to Norway as well.

    This may depend on the context, as Johan says on the Swedish case. If we are talking about the amount of help he gets from somebody, I would prefer "Han blir hjulpet mye av foreldrene sine" to "Han hjelpes mye ...". But the simplest (and maybe the most used) way to express this in Norwegian would be to drop the passive form, and write "Han får mye hjelp av ..."

    If "He is helped a lot" means that he finds something useful, neither of the alternatives sound quite right. In that case, we might say, for example, "Han er godt hjulpet av...", "Han har stor nytte av...", or that something "er til stor hjelp for ham".
  6. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    Actually that's what I have in mind. I understand that the active voice is more common in such a sentence. But when a passive is used , can you say that the analytic form with the auxiliary bli is rather preferred to the passive marker -s ?
  7. myšlenka Senior Member

    I don't have any statistical figures to support this, but my guess is that the synthetic passive is preferred if a modal (skulle, måtte, kunne, ville, burde) is involved. The analytic passive is preferred elsewhere. Thus, "han blir hjulpet mye" is probably preferred to "han hjelpes mye".

    I also think that the synthetic passive is preferred (or even obligatory) when the idea of a specific agent is somewhat unnatural. These cases would be very similar to French passive constructions with se.

    1a) Det vises ikke. - Ça se voit pas.
    1b) Det blir ikke vist. - Ça n'est/sera pas montré.
    2a) Hvordan uttales det? - Comment ça se prononce?
    2b) Hvordan blir det uttalt? - Comment ça se prononce?

    In 1a) the synthetic passive is obligatory. In fact it's impossible to construct it with bli while retaining the same meaning (1b). 2a) and 2b) are more or less equivalent, but I strongly prefer 2a).
  8. raumar Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    I agree. Thanks Myšlenka, you expressed this more clearly than I would have done.
  9. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    I am aware of how it may be difficult for a native speaker to explain what is a matter of intuition . You've made it ; thanks all for your help.

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