Swedish: ...att hon ska tala svenska

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by garydpoole, Dec 20, 2017.

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  1. Hejsan !

    I've recently encountered some phrases where the subject is stating a want or desire that someone or something does something:

    Jag vill att hon ska tala svenska.

    I'm just curious as to why there is a need for ska before the verb that the subject wants doing. In other words, is it not possible just so say:

    Jag vill att hon talar svenska.

    Hälsningar

    Gary
     
  2. Swedish Anna

    Swedish Anna Member

    Sweden
    Swedish, Sweden
    Hejsan! There is a ska there because this refers to the future, but as you might have noticed, people often use the present tense to talk about the future. Jag ringer på fredag, så ses vi på lördag, jag kommer i bilen och vi tar oss en tur... as the song goes. (Sven Ingvars is not my cuppa, but it's a good illustration of this phenomenon:))
    Så both Jag vill att hon ska tala svenska och Jag vill att hon talar svenska are correct.
     
  3. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    In my understanding the construction with "vil at ... ska ..." is a substitute for the subjunctive mood, which doesn't exist in the Scandinavian languages any longer.
     
  4. jonquiliser

    jonquiliser Senior Member

    Headquarters
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    Using the same structure, I wonder if there's not an ever so slight difference in meaning. I would say:
    Jag vill att du ska gå till butiken (I want you to go to the shop – but I don't know whether you will, I'm just throwing it out there)
    Jag vill att du går till butiken (more firmly a request for you to go to the shop)

    In the example above:
    Jag vill att hon ska tala svenska (for example, I want my daughter to speak Swedish, so I speak Swedish with her – as a general remark)
    Jag vill att hon talar svenska (for example my langage student who switches to English all the time and I demand her to keep to Swedish)

    Or am I reading too much into it?
     
  5. Thanks for the replies !

    Is there a preference to which one is used the most ?

    Ah, that would make a lot of sense, as the statement itself is expressing a wish or preference.

    Having been studying French for the last three years, I'm more than aware of the subjunctive mood and must say that I'm glad to hear that it no longer exists in Swedish :)

    However and notwithstanding, I get the feeling that, similar to the way in which que in French forms part of a subjunctive trigger, att...ska could be considered the same if the subjunctive mood did exist in Swedish ?

    Gary
     
  6. Brannoc

    Brannoc Member

    S. West England
    English
    Interesting as I would have thought...."tar vi oss en tur...." or have I got it mixed up with something else ?
     
  7. myšlenka Senior Member

    Norwegian
    I won't exclude that some speakers might distinguish these two in this way, but I doubt that is the case given that the alleged meaning difference cannot be applied to the past tense. I don't speak Swedish (so Swedish speakers will have to correct me), but my guess is that the following sentence is ungrammatical:

    *Jag ville at han gick.

    So, in order to preserve paradigm uniformity, it is perhaps best to use the ska-construction also for the present tense.
    The subjunctive in mainland Scandinavian languages is expressed through the indicative or through auxiliaries (måste, skulle) so there is no uniform way to express it.
    You are trying to apply the V2 rule counting the word och as a constituent, whereas it should be invisible to the overall syntactic structure:
    [Jag kommer i bilen] och [vi tar oss en tur].
     
  8. Brannoc

    Brannoc Member

    S. West England
    English
    You are trying to apply the V2 rule counting the word och as a constituent, whereas it should be invisible to the overall syntactic structure:
    [Jag kommer i bilen] och [vi tar oss en tur].

    Thanks, are there any parallels to this in English ?
     
  9. myšlenka Senior Member

    Norwegian
    I am not sure what you are asking for but questions concerning the syntactic structure of Swedish are outside the scope of this thread. I am sure there are other threads about it already.
     
  10. jonquiliser

    jonquiliser Senior Member

    Headquarters
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    Why would you need to maintain paradigm uniformity? I don't think the rules are hard and fast, and of my examples above I can find others that vary – but I would surely say there are differences in meaning that cannot be ignored. And while we probably wouldn't say, as you correctly point out, *jag ville att han gick but rather jag ville att han skulle gå, you can use both versions in the present with slightly different meanings.

    In response to garydpool about whether there's a preference, I'd say jag vill att hon talar is ever so slightly more imperative whereas jag vill att hon ska is more of an expression of a wish. To my ear, at least.
     
  11. myšlenka Senior Member

    Norwegian
    The use of the simple present in this construction is probably due to the subjunctive auxiliary falling out of use. Speakers of Swedish will probably disagree about the grammaticality of the former. As for the paradigm uniformity, it is a lot easier to learn one simple template (att villa att X ska/skulle) than learning two separate ones for past and present. Besides, you'd have to explain why the alleged meaning difference cannot be expressed in the past tense. I won't exclude it, but unless you can find other examples of meanings that can only be expressed in one tense, I find it highly unlikely.
     

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