Icelandic: margt athyglisvert

Alxmrphi

Senior Member
UK English
Christof: Hvað er helst að sjá í miðbænum?
Björn...: Það er margt athyglisvert að sjá í miðbænum.

Hi all, not sure if you'll be able to help me with this but...
Ok, if the dictionary form for margt is "margur" for "many / a lot", and "athyglisverður" for "interesting / notable / remarkable"...

So, my first question, the translation in English is:
"There are many interesting things"... (Það er margt athyglisvert...)

There doesn't seem to be a noun in here to mean "things", in fact the only obvious noun I can see is miðbær (city centre).

The second question is, as a lot of things revolve around nouns, in the second sentence the "margt athyglisvert" is put into the neuter form, but why I don't know? There is no (that I can see) neuter noun in there and I've checked the orðabók and can't find anything.

Can anyone tell me what I've missed, maybe these adjectives are nouns but the dictionary doesn't show it, but with my English translations the words match up and don't have one for the "things", maybe in Icelandic they just use adjectives for something like this I really don't know.

Any hjálp er athyglisverða:)

[Edit] I realised my questions are badly put together, so in summary:

1) margt + athyglisvert, why are they in a neuter form with no neuter noun, what is causing there change from the dictionary form?
2) Is there a word in there than translates "things" or is that just not used in Icelandic?



 
  • modus.irrealis

    Senior Member
    English, Canada
    I don't know if this is true of Icelandic, but in many heavily inflected languages you can use adjectives as nouns (or, from another perspective, with a noun implied) and usually the masculine means "man" or "person", the feminine means "woman", and the neuter means "thing." For example in Latin, from the adjective bonus 'good' you can have bonus 'good man', bona 'good woman', and bonum 'good thing.' (It's somewhat similar to constructions in English like "the wise" or "the meek" but in English it can only refer to people.) That's probably what's going on here.
     

    butra

    Senior Member
    Icelandic
    Björn...: Það er margt athyglisvert að sjá í miðbænum.

    Can you say in English: There isn´t much interesting to see there!?
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    No, it would have to be "things", and "many" as well, but judging by your answer you expected that you can, which I suppose confirms that in Icelandic it differs by just using adjectives so I guess I found my answer.

    But could you explain about the neuter declension? Um beyginduna á hvorugkyni? (not sure if that's correct lol)..

    Anyway... the sentence says "there are many interesting things.." right, not "There isn't..." with the negative, right?
     

    butra

    Senior Member
    Icelandic
    but judging by your answer you expected that you can,

    In fact I thought that was not correct English but you can hear people talk like that and you can google sentences like that by native English speakers.
    If the answer had been yes I would have argued as follows:
    Then you can say: There is much interesting to see there.
    And then: There is much interesting to see in the city centre.
    And that is the same structure but not correct English.
    Modus. Irrealis´s answer is what you are looking for I guess.
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    We do say "There is much of interest", but it's quite formal.
    So would this sentence be correct...

    í miðbænum minn það er ekki margt athyglisvert, það eru bara kaffihús og knæpur.
    In my city centre there aren't a lot of interesting things, there are only cafés and pubs.

    ?
     

    butra

    Senior Member
    Icelandic
    í miðbænum mínum (dative) þar er ekki margt athyglisvert, þar eru bara kaffihús og knæpur.
     

    Hilde

    Member
    Norwegian
    Its a noun phrase without a head. We call them "coreless contructions" in Norwegian. the head of the phrase is implied and left out.
     

    polyglot_wannabe

    Member
    Iceland, Icelandic
    I can confirm that the sentence "Það er margt athyglisvert að sjá í miðbænum." would be considered natural and not formal by native speakers. The things part of "There are many interesting things to see" is dropped in the translation (in a way). Saying "Það er marga athyglisverða hluti að sjá..." would probably be considered more unnatural or more formal.


    The thing is that the adjective margur is not the dictionary form of margt in this case, i.e. margt has it's own (sub)entry in my dictionary:

    margt HK
    - notað sérstætt um mörg atriði, ýmislegt

    (i.e. neuter noun used on it's own for many things, similar to what ýmislegt is to ýmislegur)

    Another example of the use of margt is the idiom "Margt er líkt með skyldum" where you can see that margt is clearly the subject of the phrase.
     
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