Swedish English sentence structures

Moorland

Member
English - England
I've read on occasion that Swedish and English being originally Germanic based are fairly similar in structure but I've never seen any comparisons or examples. Meaning that every time I write anything in Swedish out of lifelong habit it remains in an English structure with nothing changed, yet nobody ever says anything so presumably nothing needs to be changed or have I got it wrong somewhere ?
 
  • justous

    Member
    English
    I can't speak for Swedish, but in Danish, the structure is generally pretty similar, but there are some slight differences.

    Usually, these differences wouldn't necessarily get in the way of comprehension, but just make it sound wrong.

    But there are certain differences that are completely essential, like instead of "*do* you have it" it is "have you it."

    Out of interest, do you live in Sweden?
     

    Moorland

    Member
    English - England
    No but I lived there in the Nineties for about 3 years but had forgotten my limited Swedish until I found time a few years ago to fortunately catch up with it all again on the Net.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I am not quite sure, but I believe that Swedish, like Danish and Norwegian uses inverted order of verbs in subordinate clauses. In addition there is the V2 system, which means that the verb comes always second after the subject or an introductory clause in affirmative mode. Both features don't exist in either English or in non Germanic languages.
     

    Ansku89

    Member
    Finnish
    Meaning that every time I write anything in Swedish out of lifelong habit it remains in an English structure with nothing changed, yet nobody ever says anything so presumably nothing needs to be changed or have I got it wrong somewhere ?
    In my opinion, after studying both Swedish and English as foreign languages, the word order is more strictly defined in Swedish. For example the inverted order that was mentioned above is a big thing. In Finland when we study Swedish at school, there are LOTS of exercises about word order. When actually communicating with Swedish speakers, I've noticed however that using the wrong word orded doesn't usually hurt understanding. People probably notice it but don't say anything about it if they are polite. I don't know about Sweden though, my experience is mostly with Swedish-speaking Finns who are used to how Finnish speakers torture their beautiful language :) Still I think the Finnish school system puts too much focus on things like word order and irregular verbs in Swedish teaching. Maybe that's one reason for the bad reputation of Swedish as a school subject...
     

    Ansku89

    Member
    Finnish
    I didn't know that Swedish was taught in Finnish schools... that's interesting
    Finland's official languages are Finnish and Swedish, about 5% of the population are native Swedish speakers. The status of the Swedish language in Finland is a highly debated topic but currently all school kids learn both official languages. (Considering how the Swedish speakers mainly live in certain areas, "learn" may be too strong a word to describe what happens in the rest of the country, though...)
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    (Considering how the Swedish speakers mainly live in certain areas, "learn" may be too strong a word to describe what happens in the rest of the country, though...)
    I certainly managed to find a taxi driver in Finland who did not (or refused to) understand Swedish from a Swede. English didn't work either, so we had to do a mime of a plane taking off.

    @Ben Jamin is quite right in pointing out the main differences between English and Scandinavian word order, but I still think that the two are very close - compared to other languages. And the closeness cannot I think be simply explained by a common Germanic origin - after all German is very different. More to do with the Viking settlements in Britain I would guess. I am not an expert on that sort of thing, but do know that they had a significant influence on English.
     

    Määränpää

    Senior Member
    Finnish
    I've read on occasion that Swedish and English being originally Germanic based are fairly similar in structure but I've never seen any comparisons or examples. Meaning that every time I write anything in Swedish out of lifelong habit it remains in an English structure with nothing changed, yet nobody ever says anything so presumably nothing needs to be changed or have I got it wrong somewhere ?
    Here's a similarity:

    The person I spoke with was nice
    Personen jag pratade med var trevlig

    In many non-Germanic languages, the relative pronoun can't be dropped and the preposition can't be moved to the end. The structure would always be something like "with whom I spoke" / "med vilken jag pratade".
     
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