Icelandic: Uses of Þá

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by ShakeyX, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    Was wondering if anyone would want to quickly bullet point the uses of "þá"

    The one i'm having particular trouble with at the moment is in this sentence.

    (Simpsons again, bart just pimped out his bike...)

    Þá er að kveikja á hljóðgervlinum.

    What is the subject? What does Þá add to the sentence?
  2. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    The actual english translation in the episode is "Now to turn on the MOTO-Minute" I think, but either way I'm looking for a more literal translation. Just thought this might help.
  3. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Hi there,

    It's more like 'and then to.....' do something.
    When we say "and now to..." in English, it's not always right now, but, shortly after, maybe even a few seconds after.
    It's just like that in Icelandic but you say 'then' like in this example. "(And) then to turn on the synthesiser."

    There's not "really" a subject here as it's more of a sentence with an infinitive functioning as a subject, so it's not conjugated and therefore no real subject/objects.
    It's like that in "And then to <do something>" corresponding translation, difficult to identify a specific subject.
    Does that help?
  4. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    Back to the other uses of þá, when I've been talking I've always used þá as a sort of... Like in English when for example someone is deciding on where to eat... and they say, oo I want chicken... and you might say. Well why don't we go nandos then?

    Is this literally translated into þá, as I have been using it as such. If so I also realised I don't actually know what the definition of THEN / ÞÁ is in this case. What is the technical reason for it being used.. it doesn't sound as if it is THEN, as in a point in time. Is this the correction usage?

    Af hverju förum við bara á Nandos þá?
  5. ShakeyX Senior Member

    British English
    "Eric Holder, dómsmálaráðherra Bandaríkjanna, hefur sent rússneskum stjórnvöldum bréf þar sem fram kemur að bandarísk stjórnvöld muni ekki fara fram á dauðarefsingu yfir uppljóstraranum Edward Snowden.

    Þá kemur fram í bréfinu, sem stílað er á Alexander Vladimirovich Konovalov, dómsmálaráðherra Rússlands, að dauðarefsingar verði ekki krafist, jafnvel þó Snowden verði ákærður fyrir fleiri brot."

    Again here, I added the whole thing for context, but I have no idea what the þá means here, I don't think it is a case of a pronoun, but rather an adverb, but I am not sure what it adds.
  6. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Yep, it's an adverb.
    It's just a way to move the report on, get to the next point. Rather than listing fact after fact, put a bit of ordering into structure.
  7. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    In the 1st paragraph, if I understand it correctly, it's mentioned that the US Attorney General sent a letter where it is mentioned that E.S. would not receive the death penalty. The second paragraph seems to be a repetition of this fact, with a small addition of detail ("... Even if he is indicted for further crimes.")

    I mention this because I don't know if "Þá" should be seen as introducing the *next* point in this article: paragraph 2 isn't something that follows (logically, or in temporal succession) from paragraph 1, but instead seems to be (largely) a restatement of paragraph 1 for stylistic purposes.

    In English, we could introduce a following point by saying "Also", "therefore", etc., but I don't think there is any English word or words that would normally correspond to "Þá" in the context quoted by ShakeyX -- in the English translation, there would be no word at all where "Þá" is.
  8. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Well, I don't see why it doesn't work.
    The first line of a report is always to set the scene, be basic, an extension of a headline.
    The next line goes into more detail, repeats a part of the first line but qualifies it in more detail that there will be charges against him for other crimes.
    If I was to translate the news report, I wouldn't have a word in English to represent the Icelandic þá here.

    Maybe 'next' wasn't the most amazingly precise word to use for this exact context but I still stand by it and think it's true in the vast majority of cases, and in this case to a considerable extent.
  9. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    Right: as I said, it's journalistic style that leads to the repetition here.

    Regardless of how it would be described in the majority of cases (you would know more about this than I would), I think that this particular case of Þá is worth noting separately, at least for English-language learners of Icelandic, because there is no English word/phrase (at least as far as I can tell now) that would translate Þá in this context: we wouldn't use a word here at all.

    In contexts where there is a more transparent logical or temporal succession (A, then B, then C, ...), English can use words such as "then", "so", "therefore", etc. to translate Þá.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  10. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Yes. I think that's quite good advice actually.

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