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Swedish: varför byter de skepnaden

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by Alxmrphi, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Hi all,

    I'm struggling with the meaning of the part in bold.
    "How many dimensions of space are there? Could 3D be an illusion? Why do certain particles play hide-and-seek and why do they change shape?"
    Is that what it means? It's from this book.

    Tack.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  2. SharpBlade

    SharpBlade Junior Member

    Stockholm
    Swedish
    First off I have to say that if the person who wrote this is referring to the particles changing shape, then he should've written: "Varför leker vissa partiklar kurragömma och varför byter de skepnad?" As you can see I've removed 'en' from the end of the word.

    A good translation for: "Varför byter de skepnad?" is indeed "Why do they change shape?"
     
  3. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Aha okay. So, my translation is right but the original form is not written well. Is it just a style issue or really just grammatically wrong?
     
  4. SharpBlade

    SharpBlade Junior Member

    Stockholm
    Swedish
    Well, I can't say I'm an expert on Swedish grammar so I'll avoid giving an answer that has anything to do with whether or not the sentence is gramatically correct. However, I can say that to my native ear it definitely sounds wrong to say "skepnaden". If the person who wrote this is a native Swede then the only explanation for this that I could see would be that it's "permissible" in another dialect or that he was writing quickly and meant to write something else so it came out wrong.

    Here's an example of the same sentence structure:

    De verkar aldrig kunna stanna på ett ställe under en längre tid. Varför byter de bostad hela tiden? (Här blir det bostad och inte bostaden)
     
  5. JohanIII

    JohanIII Senior Member

    Switzerland
    Swedish
    If the text was OCR:ed it could be that it said skepnader originally.
    Or if typed in by a non-native speaker, it would be easy to see an n instead of an r.

    I'd say (also not being an expert at grammar) that if you speak of separate types of particles having separate types of shapes, you would us this form.

    To clarify: In the example of bostad, if one family moves, even multiple times, you'd use bostad, but if you were talking about a multitude of families you would (or at least could) use bostäder.
     
  6. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    So, just to recap, the first problem was that it had the definite article -en on the end, right? You'd expect it without it, but then it was suggested it could be that someone wrote -er as -en and this would be correct (i.e. change their shapes)? This makes sense because you're talking about a multiple collection of items and referring to them plurally, just like in the place to live example, multiple families means plural of house/place to live etc? I think I get that now.
     

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