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Icelandic: Það er ekki flogið í dag vegna veðurs

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by AatM, May 24, 2013.

  1. AatM Senior Member

    England
    English
    Sæl,

    So basically I'm not really sure how you would best translate this sentence into English: Það er ekki flogið í dag vegna veðurs. So I have no issue with any of the vocab, but I don't really understand how to translate the definite article here - it seems hard to work it into English without drastically altering the sentence structure and potentially the meaning. My best effort is "There is no flight today because of the weather.", but I'm still not convinced by it.

    Help please?
    Takk fyrir,
    AatM
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
  2. Silver_Biscuit

    Silver_Biscuit Senior Member

    Reykjavík
    English - UK
    Yep, that's a great translation. Icelandic sentences are often very passive grammatically and you simply have to alter the sentence structure if you want to translate them into English. In this case at least, the meaning is not altered at all.
     
  3. AatM Senior Member

    England
    English
    Oh ok, wow! I'm surprised at myself! :p Thank you for the advice too!
     
  4. Silver_Biscuit

    Silver_Biscuit Senior Member

    Reykjavík
    English - UK
    The only thing would be, which you would hopefully be able to tell from context, that there could be more than one flight cancelled due to bad weather (which is not specifically indicated in the Icelandic, but I don't think you could avoid the issue in English). In which case you'd want to make flights plural in your English sentence. "All flights today are cancelled due to the weather", something like that.
     
  5. AatM Senior Member

    England
    English
    Ah I see, thank you. It was just a practice sentence so there was no more context to give, but if I see a similar sentence in future I will keep an open mind as to the possibilty of its being plural. So the fact that the definite article is being used does not necessarily indicate that it is a single specific flight being referred to?
     
  6. Silver_Biscuit

    Silver_Biscuit Senior Member

    Reykjavík
    English - UK
    No, it just means there won't be any flying taking place that day. The 'literal' translation would be "It is not flown today because of weather", which is clearly nonsense in English. "It" in this case is the same sort of it as we have in sentences like "It is sunny". This is a dummy subject and doesn't actually refer to anything specific - same with "það er ekki flogið í dag". It's just that in Icelandic you can use dummy subjects in a lot more circumstances than you can in English. Or sometimes you come across sentences with no subject at all. I once had to translate "Síðan var gengið um hlaðið", which was a complete pain because it's just impossible to capture that level of passiveness in English - you absolutely need a subject there in English (if you want to keep it grammatical, of course - since this was a literary sentence that wasn't entirely mandatory) and when you put one in (Then someone walked across the farmyard) you've changed the tone. Such is translation!
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
  7. AatM Senior Member

    England
    English
    Oh I see! That makes things a whole lot more clear now, thank you!

    It is definitely difficult, I can see from your example there - I guess in English although we do like to use the passive more than in some other languages, it does tend to be only for things that cause a change in state or when the person doing the action is introduced anyway, or at least those are the only examples I can think of at the minute!
     

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