All Nordic Languages: passive voice

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jonquiliser

Senior Member
Svediż tal-Finlandja
I'll go for English today as, much though I would like to, I wouldn't understand answers in Icelandic (or Faroese). What I'm wondering is how the passive voice is formed in the respective languages, and if there are more than one way to do it.

In Swedish there are three different ways; the so-called s-passive, constructions with man and constructions with the verb bli.

Especially I'm interested to know whether the other Nordic languages use man and s-passive.
 
  • Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Can you explain what you mean by "man and s-passive", I know I can't help you but I'm interested to know the structures you're referring to (no need for detailed Swedish, just a 'sort-of-how-it-works) kinda explanation.

    Thanks!
     
    I'll go for English today as, much though I would like to, I wouldn't understand answers in Icelandic (or Faroese). What I'm wondering is how the passive voice is formed in the respective languages, and if there are more than one way to do it.

    In Swedish there are three different ways; the so-called s-passive, constructions with man and constructions with the verb bli.

    Especially I'm interested to know whether the other Nordic languages use man and s-passive.
    I'm not huge on grammatics, but I think I know what you mean :) In Danish we have the same forms, eg:

    "Her serveres aftensmaden klokken 22:00"
    "Her serverer man aftensmad klokken 22:00"
    "Her bliver aftensmaden serveret klokken 22:00"

    (eng: Dinner is served at 22:00 here)

    Tell me if I've misunderstood you.

    Andreas
     

    jonquiliser

    Senior Member
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    Nope, Andreas, you didn't misunderstand me! Seems it's identical in Swedish and Danish then (although which are used in which cases may vary, of course).

    Alex, the s-passive is a construction where an s is added to the verb; man-passive is a sort of passive with an active verb as there is a subject ("impersonal subject"), man. This last one is roughly the one-construction in English. So, using Andreas' examples, you'd have:

    Haer (sorry!) serveras kvaellsmat.
    Man serverar kvaellsmat.

    (Haer blir kvaellsmat serverad - this last one isn't very common in this kind of phrases, at least not in Swedish.)
     

    kirsitn

    Senior Member
    Norway, Norwegian
    Same in Norwegian, but the construction with "man" is not so common.

    "Kveldsmat serveres kl 22."
    "Kveldsmat blir servert kl 22."
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    The "man"-way isn't really common in Danish either. The other two are more used, I think.

    Right! It exists, but many teachers recommend that one does not use this form to express passive tense. (Translate that sentence and you'll know what "man" is normally used for).
     

    Knut

    New Member
    Norway, Norwegian
    Right! It exists, but many teachers recommend that one does not use this form to express passive tense. (Translate that sentence and you'll know what "man" is normally used for).
    Why is "man" not recommended?

    "Her serveres man aften kl. 22.00" and "Her serveres aften kl. 22.00" may very well be equal good depending on the situation.

    "Her serveres man aften kl. 22.00," tenkte han surt.
    "Her serves aften kl. 22.00," informerte hun gjestene sine.

    In the first sentence "man" is used in a negative way and if that is the meaning no teacher should recommend that "man" is not used.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    The impersonal structure with man, still so common in German as also its equivalent in Dutch, seems to be somewhat in disfavour in the Nordic languages. I wonder if this is for the same reason that the impersonal pronoun one has to a large extent disappeared from English, namely because it has come to sound posh and condescending: "One just doesn't do that sort of thing, you know". It is invariably used when there is an attempt to imitate the manner of speaking of the British Queen.
     

    María Madrid

    Banned
    Spanish Spain
    I was taught man was an impersonal structure, not passive as you can use man with verbs in passive and active mood.

    Found this on the net:

    Kan man finna sig själv? Man ändras hela tiden så när man finner sig själv...
    Blekinge: Man blev sparkad i ansiktet och rånad

    Hälsningar, M:)
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    Why is "man" not recommended?

    "Her serveres man aften kl. 22.00" and "Her serveres aften kl. 22.00" may very well be equal good depending on the situation.

    "Her serveres man aften kl. 22.00," tenkte han surt.
    "Her serves aften kl. 22.00," informerte hun gjestene sine.

    In the first sentence "man" is used in a negative way and if that is the meaning no teacher should recommend that "man" is not used.
    Some claim it is too impersonal although I find that a better argument is that it puts more focus on the wrong element of the sentence.

    When you say "maden serveres" which is a genuine passive the receiver automatically has his focus on the food "mad" whereas the senctnce "man serverer maden" food has suddenly become the object - we don't have a passive any more, and the receiver automatically attempts to picture who "man" is. This is not what you want him to. That is a relatively unimportant information.

    "Man" is rather for a sentence like "I Kina spiser man hunde" (almost like the famous film title). Here you don't want the receiver to have much focus on the dogs; you want to point out that it is general usage in China to eat dogs. To gether with the adverbial "i Kina" the subject "man" gives a relatively clear picture. Personally I think that "man" without any such supplementary info builds up a very vague picture.

    But it is also a matter of taste. Not all people can or desire to express themselves with that degree of exactness. But it is an option.

    This sentence is pretty clever I think - and it would also work in Danish (exept for a few tidbits):

    "Her serveres man aften kl. 22.00," tenkte han surt.

    In Danish it would be: Her serveres man om aftenen kl. 22.00

    But it differs from the other variations - if I am not mistaken, it is the only one of all examples in this thread because it has neither a subject nor a direct object. The verb, as you see is a normal -s passive and "man" is the indirect object. The rest are adverbials. So this is not really the "man-passive" I am referring to. The dangerous thing in Danish, however, is that there is nothing that marks a word as a dative case.

    The same sentence i a different context could be:

    De to missionærer lå bagbundet i hytten.
    "Jeg har set kannibal-høvdingens spiseplan."
    "Hvad stod der på den?"
    “Her serveres man om aftenen kl. 22.00."
    "..."

    Here "man" has become the subject without changing the sentence the least bit.
     

    Lemminkäinen

    Senior Member
    Norwegian (bokmål)
    In addition to the -s passive and bli + past participle (both of which can be summed up as handlingspassiv), there's also another form, calles tilstandspassiv, produced with være + past participle:

    - Huset bygges
    - Huset blir/ble bygd
    - Huset er/var bygd
     

    Knut

    New Member
    Norway, Norwegian
    Some claim it is too impersonal although I find that a better argument is that it puts more focus on the wrong element of the sentence.

    When you say "maden serveres" which is a genuine passive the receiver automatically has his focus on the food "mad" whereas the senctnce "man serverer maden" food has suddenly become the object - we don't have a passive any more, and the receiver automatically attempts to picture who "man" is. This is not what you want him to. That is a relatively unimportant information.

    "Man" is rather for a sentence like "I Kina spiser man hunde" (almost like the famous film title). Here you don't want the receiver to have much focus on the dogs; you want to point out that it is general usage in China to eat dogs. To gether with the adverbial "i Kina" the subject "man" gives a relatively clear picture. Personally I think that "man" without any such supplementary info builds up a very vague picture.

    But it is also a matter of taste. Not all people can or desire to express themselves with that degree of exactness. But it is an option.

    This sentence is pretty clever I think - and it would also work in Danish (exept for a few tidbits):

    "Her serveres man aften kl. 22.00," tenkte han surt.

    In Danish it would be: Her serveres man om aftenen kl. 22.00

    But it differs from the other variations - if I am not mistaken, it is the only one of all examples in this thread because it has neither a subject nor a direct object. The verb, as you see is a normal -s passive and "man" is the indirect object. The rest are adverbials. So this is not really the "man-passive" I am referring to. The dangerous thing in Danish, however, is that there is nothing that marks a word as a dative case.

    The same sentence i a different context could be:

    De to missionærer lå bagbundet i hytten.
    "Jeg har set kannibal-høvdingens spiseplan."
    "Hvad stod der på den?"
    “Her serveres man om aftenen kl. 22.00."
    "..."

    Here "man" has become the subject without changing the sentence the least bit.
    Det som her skrives kan man også godt være enig i. :D
     

    Spectre scolaire

    Senior Member
    Maltese and Russian
    Talking about passive voice in Scandinavian languages – ! not Nordic ! – I find the Swedish construction in past tenses typologically interesting.

    Here are some examples of perfect passive in Swedish:

    Det har serverats mat, dricka och kaffe, “food, [soft]drinks and coffee have been served”.

    Kaffe och smörgåsar har serverats, “coffee and sandwiches have been served”.

    Even in 1st person singular:

    Jag har serverats snigelgröt en enda gång, “I have only once been served snigelgröt

    -whatever snigelgröt is, some sort of porridge, I imagine – obviously made of sniglar, “escargots” :D It sounds delicious...

    This kind of construction doesn’t work in Danish and Norwegian. On the other hand, in Modern Greek the same type of passive obtains.

    An example of perfect passive in Greek:

    το φαγητό έχει σερβιριστεί (IPA: [to fajitó éçi serviristí]), “food has been [= is] served”

    - in which t denotes passive voice – being here the (phonologically modified) allomorph {θ} of an ad hoc morpheme {θηκ} used to denote passive. Auxilliary verb is “have” – as in Swedish.

    Here is aorist passive in Greek (together with its Scandinavian morphologically corresponding forms):

    χρησιμοποιήθηκε [χrisimopçíθike], Swedish: brukades, Danish: blev brugt. The verb used is... “use”.

    Aorist corresponds grosso modo to Scandinavian perfect tense, but denotes basically aspect. It is somehow difficult – without a context – to make a clear-cut comparison between Greek and Scandinavian verbal tenses. There is also an imperfect passive in Greek, but this form does not use the morpheme in question.

    And – at last – here is perfect passive in Greek (together with the Scandinavian morphologically corresponding forms):

    έχει χρησιμοποιηθεί çi χrisimopçiθí], Swedish: har brukats, Danish: er bleven brugt

    I find it intriguing that Swedish has gone its own way in terms of passive constructions, but I imagine there is an historical explanation to it.
    ;) :)
     

    Icetrance

    Senior Member
    US English
    In addition to the -s passive and bli + past participle (both of which can be summed up as handlingspassiv), there's also another form, calles tilstandspassiv, produced with være + past participle:

    - Huset bygges
    - Huset blir/ble bygd
    - Huset er/var bygd
    Thank you!

    Is the"Huset er/var bygd" really correct, though?

    Is "bygges" present tense?

    I'm not sure.

    Tusen Takk.
     

    myšlenka

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    Thank you!

    Is the"Huset er/var bygd" really correct, though?

    Is "bygges" present tense?

    I'm not sure.

    Tusen Takk.
    I assume the question is more about the choice of auxiliary (bli versus være), and the answer is that both are perfectly fine, but it depends on what you want to express.

    Huset blir/ble bygd - this refers to an event of house building.
    Huset er/var bygd - this refers to the state that holds after the event of building a house.
    (This amounts to what Lemminkäinen was saying.)

    As for huset bygges, it is indeed present tense.
     

    Icetrance

    Senior Member
    US English
    I assume the question is more about the choice of auxiliary (bli versus være), and the answer is that both are perfectly fine, but it depends on what you want to express.

    Huset blir/ble bygd - this refers to an event of house building.
    Huset er/var bygd - this refers to the state that holds after the event of building a house.
    (This amounts to what Lemminkäinen was saying.)

    As for huset bygges, it is indeed present tense.
    Tusen Takk! :thumbsup:
     
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