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Icelandic: fólk ... þeir/þær/þau

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by Gavril, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Sæl,

    Is it possible to use a plural pronoun such as þeir/þær/þau to refer back to fólk (a singular noun), or can only the pronoun það be used to refer to fólk?

    For ex., if you wanted to say, "Some people cry when they don't get what they want", could this be translated

    Sumt fólk grætur þegar þau ekki það sem þau vilja.

    or, is it only grammatical to say, "... Þegar fær
    það ekki það sem það vill"?

    Takk
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  2. Silver_Biscuit

    Silver_Biscuit Senior Member

    Reykjavík
    English - UK
    I'll just quote from Oddur Ólafsson's Gott mál (Handbook for Icelandic menntaskóli students, easily found on google):

     
  3. Silver_Biscuit

    Silver_Biscuit Senior Member

    Reykjavík
    English - UK
    For the same reasons, you have to conjugate the verbs for a singular subject as well (Sumt fólk grætur þegar það fær... etc).

    On the other hand, you can very well say: Sumir gráta þegar þeir fá ekki það sem þeir vilja. As you can see, Oddur uses this construction in his explanation (Sumir segja) and it's very common to use the masculine plural to refer to a group of people when you mean to talk about people in general, rather than the word fólk at all (sumir instead of sumt fólk, margir instead of margt fólk, fáir instead of fátt fólk, etc).
     
  4. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Yeah, SB has given the correct answer. It is, however, the prescriptive answer. Descriptive answers are wildly variable among people (precisely because, not being official, people tend to disagree). I wouldn't suggest using it - but I don't think you should be shocked if you do come across examples where this is not the case. Especially younger speakers will probably want to make this tendency. Sometimes grammar-external reasoning is employed when choosing what pronouns is being referred to. It's for that reason why you have þau used to refer back to foreldrar - when it is masculine in the plural (but neuter in the singular) or also when you let real-world gender interfere with collective nouns and say "Krakkarnir voru þreytt" (which is not to be recommended, but established and expected - according to Icelandic linguists - such as specifically naming individuals in a known-group):

    So, there are two possibilities going on - social and grammatical reference. The grammatical reference is considered the correct one and the one to be advised, but you'll often see such other agreement patterns that are governed by what has been named as 'social gender', whether that is gender differences, or as in this case, number differences.
     
  5. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Another note:
    Þegar is both an adverb and a conjunction. When it is an adverb it means 'already' but when it is a conjunction it means 'when'.
    You're using it in the 'when' sense, which means it's a conjunction, therefore it introduces a new clause, in which the subject comes first and the verb has to be in second position in that clause. Just something to be aware of. :cool::thumbsup:

    So, it should be: þegar þau fá / Þegar það fær...
     
  6. KarenRei Senior Member

    Kópavogur
    American English
    Kannski var hann að hugsa um „Sumir gráta þegar fengið er ekki það sem þeir vilja.“
     
  7. Merkurius Senior Member

    Icelandic
    Mín skoðun er sú að það ætti alltaf að vera „það“ fyrir fólk (því fólk er et. hvk.)
    Athugið samt!
    1.
    2.
    Mér finnst samt nr. 2 smá furðuleg setning, mér þætti betra að segja
     
  8. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Auk þess sem þegur hefur verið sagt vil ég benda á eitthvað sem getur verið gagnlegt varðandi þessa umröðun. Þessi umröðun getur gerst þegar það er frumlagseyða og eru til neitun (ekki) / sagnfylling sem er lýsingarorð eða lýsingarháttur nútíðar/þátíðar.

    Ekki fær forgangsrétt -> þá sagnfylling sem er lýsingarorð -> þá lýsingarháttur nútíðar/þátíðar.

    Ég vona að þetta útskýri leiðréttingu Merkurius.
    :cool:
     
  9. KarenRei Senior Member

    Kópavogur
    American English
    Takk fyrir leiðréttinguna. :)
     
  10. NoMoreMrIceGuy Senior Member

    Kallinge, Sweden
    Icelandic
    This, I've never seen/heard. You'll encounter it rarely or never.
     
  11. KarenRei Senior Member

    Kópavogur
    American English
    Af því að það er rangt að segja eða af því að sjáldan verða krakkar þreyttir? ;)
     
  12. NoMoreMrIceGuy Senior Member

    Kallinge, Sweden
    Icelandic
    Vegna þess að orðið krakkarnir er karlkynsorð og þetta hjómar eins og ískur á krítartöflu. :D

    Ég myndi til dæmis alltaf segja bílstjórinn er feitur burtséð frá því hvort hann sé karl eða kona.
     
  13. Merkurius Senior Member

    Icelandic
    Verð að vera 100% sammála NMMIG hér. Þetta er eins og ískur á krítartöflu, algjörlega óháð því sem málfræðingar segja.
    Krakkarnir eru kk. orð og ÞEIR eru frumlagið, því er skiljanlegt að sagnorðið aðlagist frumlaginu.
     

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