Swedish: De/dom

kalmarunion

Member
Danish
Jag är dansk och skriver/pratar svenska helt okej, men jag är lite osäker på de/dom. Är reglerna lik de (/dom?) danska? Danska har ju också de/dem.
 
  • Tjahzi

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    In written language, the distinction is, officially, upheld. However, since both forms, "de" and "dem" that is, are pronounced [dɔmː] (or "dom"), the ability to do so drops in a near proportional manner to the education level of the writer. Hence, you find a horribly (to me, that is) great amount of people using these three (written) forms ("de", "dem" and "dom") interchangeably simply because they lack the ability to tell them apart and hence throw them in randomly (since they are thorn between the choice between the two forms that they see in writing, but do not know the difference between, and the only logical way to spell both of them).
    Occasionally, you see people consistently use "dom" (as a way to reform the written language in accordance to the "write as you speak-principle"), but usually, people do not have a clue and just mix them all at random (without even being aware of it, so to speak).
    Personally, I always make this distinction in writing and occasionally while speaking (though it sounds quite awkward to me as well and I also have yet to meet anyone else doing this). Additionally, this is one of few linguistic topic at which my opinions contradict each other since I support both the "write as you speak-principle" and the perseverance of the distinction between the nominative and the oblique wherever it is made.


    In short, always use "dom"/[dɔmː] while speaking. Use "de"/"dem" in more or less formal writing, and in informal writing until the person you are chatting with/writing to reveals his/her inability to make the distinction him/herself.


    Ehm, what was the question again? I'm not sure of how exactly the Danish rules go, but hopefully I outlined the Swedish situation well enough for to deduct whatever answer you were looking. If not, please do ask again.
    And also please take no offense in the fact that I reply in English, I am simply much more accustomed to discussing grammar in English than in Swedish.
     
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    hanne

    Senior Member
    Her er et helt fantastisk eksempel, hvor danskere har lettere ved svensk grammatik end svenskere! Reglerne er nemlig, efter min bedste overbevisning, de samme, forskellen er bare at de falder naturligt for os at skelne (man kan tydeligt høre forskellen på dansk), mens svenskerne skal lære det først :).

    Så hvis du skal skrive noget: indsæt "de"/"dem" ("dom" er ikke et "rigtigt" ord) som du ville på dansk, og problemet er løst.
     

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    Hehe, hanne is right: I can understand why people fail to distinguish between de and dem, because they're pronounced the same, i.e. dom in both cases, in most Swedish dialects, as Tjahzi pointed out.

    In writing, de is used for the subject of a clause, and dem is used for the object. If you can distinguish between a subject and an object, you'll never get it wrong.

    I'd rather have Swedes write dom (marked as 'colloquial' in the Swedish Academy word list) all the time, because confusing de and dem in text is an abomination in my opinion. When I went to school, you got huge red ticks in your book if you either confused de with dem or wrote dom. Since then, teachers have stopped correcting their students' grammar and spelling in a fear of 'inhibiting their creativity', which may or may not be the cause of so many Swedes getting it wrong, and the Swedish Academy having to accept at least the existence of dom... :D

    And also please take no offense in the fact that I reply in English, I am simply much more accustomed to discussing grammar in English than in Swedish.
    Don't worry about it, I have the same 'problem'. Forer@s are free to post in any Nordic language of their choice or in English. Just use common sense and courtesy to the OP in particular.
     
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    Tjahzi

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Göteborg)
    In writing, de is used for the subject of a clause, and dem is used for the object. If you can distinguish between a subject and an object, you'll never get it wrong.

    Ops, seems I missed that. Thanks for pointing it out.



    I would also like to take this problem to the next level. As we are all aware of now, the 3rd person plural nominative pronoun is "de" (and it should, in writing, not be mixed up with the 3rd person plural oblique pronoun, "dem"). However, the plural definite article also has the form "de" (yes, that means they are homographs) which sometimes leads to confusion. Let's illustrate;

    De åkte till staden.
    De stora bilarna kör på vägen.
    De åkte till staden i de stora bilarna.
    (Do note that both "de" and "de" are pronounced [dɔmː].)

    So far so good. As long as the pronoun is in the nominative, there is no confusion. However, since the definite article is identical in the nominative and oblique (that is, neither nouns, their determiners or adjectives are conjugated for case), people who actually are aware of the distinction between "de" and "dem" (that has been discussed earlier in this thread) and are able to make it usually fail to tell "de" and "de" apart and as such end up conjugating the definite article, that shouldn't be conjugated! Hence, you occasionally see examples like these;

    De lyssnade på dem som spelade. :cross:
    De åkte med dem stora bilarna. :cross:

    However, these could be rewritten (with slight alterations) either with de;

    De lyssnade på de sjungande människorna. :tick: (Though it sounds unnatural.)
    De åkte med de stora bilarna. :tick:

    Or with dem;

    De lyssnade på dem när de sjöng. :tick:
    De såg de stora bilarna och åkte med dem. :tick:

    In the last sentence, the difference between pronouns and articles becomes apparent.


    I would also like to add that I have no idea where the Swedish Academy has to say on the issue. What I presented above is purely my own "parole" that I have deducted from grammatical rules that I have observed myself. So, please share your thoughts. Comparisons with Norwegian, Danish or any other languages would be much appreciate as well. Also, if you want me to provide English translation for the sentences above, just let me know.
     

    hanne

    Senior Member
    The point in my first post was that a Dane doesn't need to analyze the sentence or worry about subject or object, we just know instinctively whether it's "de" or "dem".

    De lyssnade på dem som spelade. :cross:
    I'd like to hear from others if this is just Tjahzi's opinion, or if this is actually *wrong*. I'd say that sentence is perfectly good in Danish (De lyttede til dem der spillede, and also De kørte med de store biler).
     

    jonquiliser

    Senior Member
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    I vissa dialekter, i Finland åtminstone, är "de" helt gångbart (uttalat kortstavigt antingen som de eller di). Själv säger jag alltid dom. Utan undantag.

    The point in my first post was that a Dane doesn't need to analyze the sentence or worry about subject or object, we just know instinctively whether it's "de" or "dem".

    I would have thought Swedish-speakers do, too, but apparantly not so ;).

    De lyssnade på dem som spelade. :cross:

    I'd like to hear from others if this is just Tjahzi's opinion, or if this is actually *wrong*. I'd say that sentence is perfectly good in Danish (De lyttede til dem der spillede, and also De kørte med de store biler).

    To me it sounds correct, and "De lyssnade på de som spelade" sounds awkward. As with "Vi gick med henne som satt brevid oss på middagen" vs "Vi gick med hon som satt brevid oss på middagen". (although here both sound somewhat unnatural. But these types of constructions are not always able to rephrase in writing and I wouldn't take them as poor Swedish in texts.)
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    The point in my first post was that a Dane doesn't need to analyze the sentence or worry about subject or object, we just know instinctively whether it's "de" or "dem".


    I'd like to hear from others if this is just Tjahzi's opinion, or if this is actually *wrong*. I'd say that sentence is perfectly good in Danish (De lyttede til dem der spillede, and also De kørte med de store biler).


    Well that ist the way they analyse it. Don't tell us they don't.

    And don't tell me that do not all know "instinctively" which is the subject and which is the object in at least one of the languages we speak, if not more of them.
     

    hanne

    Senior Member
    Sepia, sorry, but I don't understand a thing of what you just wrote.

    Well that ist the way they analyse it. Don't tell us they don't.
    Who "they"? The Swedes? I'm not telling you they don't analyze the sentences, I'm saying that a Dane who needs to figure out if a spoken "dom" should be "de" or "dem" in writing, doesn't need to analyse the sentence, but can use the word they'd use in Danish. Usually I don't need to analyze a sentence to get the Danish grammar right, that goes on auto-pilot.

    And don't tell me that do not all know "instinctively" which is the subject and which is the object in at least one of the languages we speak, if not more of them.
    I shouldn't tell you that there are people who don't know the difference between a subject and an object in minimum language? (or did you mean something else, I'm not sure)
    I'm sure there are people who can't tell you what a subject or an object is, and then they also can't point it out in a sentence. Of course they can apply them correctly when speaking, but that doesn't mean they can explain it, and also doesn't mean that they can apply it to other languages.

    As I said, I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say here. All I meant to say in my post above, is that any Dane will be able to tell you it's wrong if you swap a "de" for a "dem" - and they will tell you that by instinct, long before they've done any conscious analysis of the sentence.
     

    kalmarunion

    Member
    Danish
    As I said, I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say here. All I meant to say in my post above, is that any Dane will be able to tell you it's wrong if you swap a "de" for a "dem" - and they will tell you that by instinct, long before they've done any conscious analysis of the sentence.

    Agreed.
     

    ad31677

    Member
    English - England
    In writing, de is used for the subject of a clause, and dem is used for the object. If you can distinguish between a subject and an object, you'll never get it wrong.

    ...

    Since then, teachers have stopped correcting their students' grammar and spelling in a fear of 'inhibiting their creativity', which may or may not be the cause of so many Swedes getting it wrong, and the Swedish Academy having to accept at least the existence of dom... :D

    Interesting reading your opinion, Wilma; I honestly didn't fully get the they/them distinction correct in my head in English until I learned German (and its grammar) after I'd left school. Precise grammar was just not taught in my type of school and much for the same reason as you mention. In north east of England particularly (where I come from and live) one regularly hears people say "them" instead of "they" or "those".

    I would argue the distinction is not intuitive. As per Tzahji's post, one's ability to use the correct form would appear to correlate with one's education level. (That said, graduates these days are getting this kind of thing wrong so I suspect this might have more to do with actually practise at reading/writing.) I digress...

    -a.
     
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