Norwegian: hvilke filmer som

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by janesaddiction, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. janesaddiction New Member

    Polish
    Hi,

    How would you translate this?

    "Her kan du se hvilke filmer og teaterstykker som går denne uken."

    Here you can see which films and plays which are this week.
    There seems to be one "which" too many here. Am I missing something?
     
  2. flukså Junior Member

    Norway
    Norwegian
    I would translate it into something like "Here you can see which films and shows that are shown/played this week".
     
  3. janesaddiction New Member

    Polish
    Thanks, but it still seems gramatically incorrect.
     
  4. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    If this is something that you read online it would be very helpful if you could provide a link. Tusen takk! :)
     
  5. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    US
    US English
    Well, you're right that a basically word-for-word translation into English would be grammatically incorrect, but every language has its own rules!
    (In other words, the Norwegian sentence bothers me too, but I'm more cautious about calling sentences in other people's languages ungrammatical. :))

    janesaddiction's "complaint" leads me to the following question.

    Original sentence (slightly simplified by omitting the second noun):
    1. "Her kan du se hvilke filmer som går denne uken."
    In order to make this sentence "correct" from the English perspective, it should be
    either
    2. "Her kan du se hvilke filmer går denne uken."
    or
    3. "Her kan du se hvilke er filmer som går denne uken."

    I'd be interested to hear how native speakers compare these three sentences. Thanks!
     
  6. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    Only the first one is correct. The confusion here is around "which". This word has two very different properties in English, but Norwegian uses two different terms. "Which" is either an interrogative or a relative pronoun. In "Her kan du se hvilke filmer som går denne uken" there are two which-es: hvilken as an interrogative and som as a relative pronoun.
     
  7. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    US
    US English
    Hi NNYC...
    I understand very well that "hvilke" and "som" are two different "which"es and serve two different purposes (and I'm sure that janesaddiction does too). Our problem is that in English you can't say
    Here you can see which (interrog pronoun/determiner) films which/that (rel pron) are playing this week.
    In German you can't say
    Hier sehen Sie welche (interrog) Filme, die (rel pron) diese Woche laufen
    In French you can't say
    Vous voyez ici quels (interrog) films, qui (rel pron) passent cette semaine
    In Spanish you can't say
    Aquí se puede ver cuáles (interrog) películas que (rel pron) ponen esta semana
    And I expect janesaddiction would tell us that the equivalent Polish sentence is also impossible.

    The problem is that in these languages, if something is not
    acceptable as a free-standing sentence (Here you see which films) then it doesn't become an acceptable sentence by hanging a relative clause off it (that are playing this week).
    In contrast,
    Here you see which films there are (acceptable as a free-standing sentence, so no problem adding a relative clause: which/that are playing this week)

    The other alternative in English and these other languages is to allow the first part to be a non-sentence...
    Here you see which films, but then use "which films" as subject of the clause, which means no rel pron:
    Here you see which films that are playing this week.

    That seems to be the logic in most non-Scandinavian European languages, and so this Norwegian construction (which I've seen before) seems "illogical" to me (and apparently to other people, like janesaddiction).

    EDIT: NNYC, you've confirmed that the OP sentence is correct. Could you now please help us by explaining in what way these sentences are wrong:
    2. "Her kan du se hvilke filmer går denne uken." (Or simply: 2a. "Her kan du se hva går denne uken.") (I know, these usually have "som", but what's wrong without "som"?)
    3a. "Her kan du se hvilke filmer er det som går denne uken."
    3b. "Her kan du se hvilke er filmene som går denne uken."
    (All these are sentences that conform to English "logic".)
    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013
  8. myšlenka Senior Member

    Norwegian
    Your analysis is wrong here. [Here you see which films] is a main clause and is generally unacceptable in Norwegian too while [Here you see [which films are playing this week]] is a main clause with an embedded question. The crucial point is that the syntactic element which films is in two very different syntactic positions in these two cases. In the former it's part of the main clause whereas in the latter it's part of the embedded clause so the parallel you are trying to draw between them is not valid.

    What makes Norwegian different is that embedded questions where the wh-phrase is the subject, requires som. If som is not there, the sentence is ungrammatical.
    2. Here som is required because we have an embedded question where the wh-phrase is the subject.
    3a. Embedded questions are not subject to V2 word order. That's why this sentence is wrong.
    3b. Embedded questions are not subject to V2 word order. If we fix this by switching the words to the right positions, we end up with "hvilke filmene er som..." and this is problematic for two reasons. First of all, hvilke is incompatible with definite forms. Second, if som follows a form of å være like that, it ceases to be a relative subjunction.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013
  9. willem81 Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    My observation here is that hvilke functions in this sentence exactly like an indicative pronoun 'those':

    Here you can see those films and plays that are shown this week.

    A corresponding Norwegian phrase will look like:
    Her kan du se de filmene og de teaterstykkene som går denne uken. Will it be equivalent to the original sentence?
     
  10. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    Yes, they are more or less interchangeable. However, "hvilke" adds a different element.
    1) Her kan du se de filmene som går denne uka. = Here you can find/see the movies that are running this week (i.e. all the movies that are running in a compiled list)
    2) Her kan du se hvilke filmer som går denne uka. = Here you can find/see the various movies that are running this week (i.e. a selection of movies to chose from)
     
  11. willem81 Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    This really clarifies the meaning of 'hvilke' here. It can be translated here as 'any' as it seems:

    Her kan du se hvilke filmer som går denne uka.
    Here you can see any films that are running this week.
     
  12. myšlenka Senior Member

    Norwegian
    Her kan du se de filmene og de teaterstykkene som går denne uken.

    This sentence is ambiguous in a way in which the other isn't. Her can refer to the building where all the screenings take place.
     
  13. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    US
    US English
    I was trying to explain why "You see which movies that are playing" (and its German, etc equivalents) is ungrammatical. The fact that the sentence is ungrammatical means that every analysis is wrong. I also suggested some ways that the English sentence could be modified to make it correct.
    I agree that this is a correct analysis, but it's a correct analysis of one of my English sentences modified to make it grammatically correct. Syntactically it doesn't correspond to the Norwegian sentence because it lacks "that" or "which" (Norw. "som").

    But your specifying this structure is helpful. In the grammatical English sentence
    1. Here you see [which films are playing]
    "which films" is the subject of the embedded sentence (as you said).
    In the other type of grammatical English sentence that I suggested
    2. Here you see [the films [that are playing]]
    the outer brackets enclose a noun phrase (object of "see") and the inner brackets a relative clause whose subject is the relative pronoun "that".

    But by the rules of English grammar, there's no way to generate
    3. You see which films that are playing.

    3a. You see [which films that are playing]
    is bad because the subject position in the bracketed clause is doubly filled.

    3b. You see [which films [that are playing]]
    is also not a possible analysis, because (as I was trying to say in the previous post), relative clauses are optional, so if 3b were possible, then
    3c. You see [which films]
    would have to be grammatical. But unlike "You see the films" (compare 2.), 3c is not grammatical.

    I hope it's clear that I fully accept that the Norwegian construction is grammatical in Norwegian. What I've been trying to do is to explain why it's not grammatical in English, German, etc. In addition, I'd like to see a syntactic analysis of the Norwegian construction so we can say in exactly what way the syntax of the languages differs.
    And this "som" is ...? The subject position of the embedded clause is already filled (with the wh-phrase), as you yourself say. So this is not the same "som" as in "mannen som går", where "som" is the one-and-only subject of the relative clause.
     
  14. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Page 448, "The Syntax of Icelandic" by Höskuldur Þráinsson:

    Thought maybe this might be relevant to your discussion (as already hinted at earlier by others).
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013
  15. myšlenka Senior Member

    Norwegian
    The only difference is that embedded questions where the wh-phrase is the subject, require* som. I have no idea why this is a requirement but you can draw a parallel to the behaviour of relative complementizers in Norwegian (and English) in real relative clauses where the complementizer is compulsory if the relativized noun is the subject of the relative clause.

    *This requirement is generalized in many dialects so that even matrix questions behave the same way, resulting in different word orders for matrix questions depending on the syntactic status of the wh-phrase
    Norwegian som is a subjunction (or if you prefer: complementizer). The older term was "relative pronoun", but som does not share the syntactic distribution of pronouns. Besides, som affects the word order which clearly suggests that it's different from pronouns. This also means that som cannot be the subject of any clause as subjecthood is reserved for (pro)nouns.

    So yes, the occurences of som in "Her kan du se hvilke filmer som går" and "Mannen som går" are the same.
     
  16. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    US
    US English
    So, myšlenka, to confirm, your analysis of "Du ser hvilke filmer som går" is
    Du ser [hvilke filmer som går]
    where within the brackets "hvilke filmer" is the subject and "som" is a complementizer or subjunction. Norwegian would differ from English, then, in allowing the sequence SUBJ COMP in clauses (in fact requiring COMP where the subject of the subordinate clause is a wh-phrase (hv-phrase!)).

    If I understand correctly, you would also say that altho "You see the man who walks" and "Du ser mannen som går" appear to have the same structure, in fact the first is
    You see [the man [who walks]], where the inner brackets contain subject-relative-pronoun + verb, while the second is
    Du ser [mannen som går], where the brackets contain subject + complementizer + verb. Is that right?

    Thanks for your patience!
     
  17. myšlenka Senior Member

    Norwegian
    Yes, that's right.
    I think I will have to modify my earlier claim a little. The two occurrences of som are the same in that they occupy the same position in the structure and that they both affect the word order in the same way. However, in Her ser du [hvilke filmer som går] involves something that appears to be a relative clause but it's not because the relativized nominal phrase is overt, i.e. the subject is still part of the embedded clause. In Du ser [mannen [som går]] we are dealing with a real relative clause because the subject of the relative clause appears outside it, i.e. in the matrix clause.

    Thus, the former is an embedded question requiring a COMP, making it look like a relative clause whereas the latter is a relative clause and should be analyzed the same way as in English.
     
  18. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    It is still not clear for me what meaning difference there is between:
    "Her kan du se hvilke filmer og teaterstykker som går denne uken".
    and
    "Her kan du se filmene og teaterstykkene som går denne uken".
    The information conveyed in each of these sentences seems quite equivalent for me.
     
  19. willem81 Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    The difference is that the sentence "Her kan du se filmene og teaterstykkene som går denne uken" allows two different interpretations:
    1. Here you can see which films are running this week.
    2. You can watch here (e.g. in this particular cinema) the films that are running this week.

    Whereas the first sentence is unequivocal. That's how I understood the difference between them.
     
  20. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Yes, it sounds right. But I am wondering whether this sentence structure also must be used in other contexts, where the ambiguity does not occur.
    I found some quotations in the Internet, for example:
    "Her kan du se hvilke tidsskrifter du har lagt i handlevognen."
    "Her kan du se hvilke personopplysninger din vertsorganisasjon har lagret om deg."
    Are these correct?
     
  21. willem81 Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Her kan du se hvilke tidsskrifter du har lagt i handlevognen.

    That's interesting. As far as I understand, according to this thread, this sentence lacks a 'som' after 'tidsskrifter'. Or perhaps here some other rule applies.
     
  22. myšlenka Senior Member

    Norwegian
    Why shouldn't these sentences be correct without som?
    Hvilke tidsskrifter and hvilke personopplysninger are the direct objects in the embedded clause while som is required if and only if the wh-phrase is the subject.
     
  23. willem81 Senior Member

    Russia
    Russian
    That is rather a tricky rule, as it seems. So, 'som' would be required if the sentence were like this:

    Her kan du se hvilke tidsskrifter som er i handlevognen. Here the hv-phrase is the subject, right?
     
  24. myšlenka Senior Member

    Norwegian
    They can be used interchangeably to a considerable extent, but as NorwegianNYC points out in #10, there is a meaning difference (if we abstract away from the locative reading of her that I mentioned in #12).
    Her kan du se (de) filmene som... - the set of movies is open.
    Her kan du se hvilke filmer som... - the set of movies is restricted.
     
  25. myšlenka Senior Member

    Norwegian
    Exactly :)
     

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