Swedish: hur många lastbilar ... får plats ...

kfz2010

Senior Member
Chinese
Att Trafikverkets och vår analys skiljer sig åt beror på att Trafikverkets beräkningar inte tar hänsyn till hur många lastbilar och trailers av det slag som normalt används i långfärdstrafik som faktiskt får plats på de aktuella färjorna.

In the above sentence, shouldn't the second "som" be removed? Otherwise "hur många lastbilar..." is not a complete sentence.

Thanks.
 
  • MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    I wonder if the usage is with "som" as an "adverb". It doesn't strike me as immediately incorrect and the sentence isn't incomplete as you say.

    But others probably know better the specific answer to this.
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    This usage is quite normal in Norwegian, and, I suspect, in Swedish and Danish too. In Norwegian you would say e.g. "Jeg vet ikke hvor mange mennesker som bor der" and you will often find Norwegians saying and writing English sentences like "I do not know how many people that live there" instead of "...how many people live there", which is what we say in English.

    Could be an interesting topic - in Norwegian at least, the "som" isn't normally used with all question words. So I would say "Jeg vet ikke hvor mange mennesker som bor der" but "Jeg vet ikke hva han mener" and "Jeg vet ikke hvilken bok du snakker om".
     

    kfz2010

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thanks! I did a search, indeed there are usages like this, for example:

    Det vore intressant att veta hur ofta de körde rånartricket och hur många som gick på det.

    För några år sedan ställde jag som reporter i ett tv-inslag i SVT frågan varför det finns så få konstnärliga skildringar av livets början i förhållande till hur många som finns om dess slut.

    I also found a description in the book "Swedish: a comprenhensive grammar" section 8.4.2:

    "However, when an interrogative pronoun is the subject of a subordinate clause, som (3.10.6f.) is introduced as a subject marker:

    Jag undrar vem som kysser henne nu."

    Not sure if this is the case [subjektsmärke].

    And there is similar discussion here.
     
    Last edited:

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    In the OP's sentence, couldn't "som faktiskt får plats på de aktuella färjorna" refer back to "långfärdstrafik" rather than "hur många lastbilar"?

    It's not a loaded question, as I only have a vague idea of the meaning of the words, but I can parse the sentence and get its gist.
     

    myšlenka

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    [...]

    I also found a description in the book "Swedish: a comprenhensive grammar" section 8.4.2:

    "However, when an interrogative pronoun is the subject of a subordinate clause, som (3.10.6f.) is introduced as a subject marker:

    Jag undrar vem som kysser henne nu."

    Not sure if this is the case [subjektsmärke].

    And there is similar discussion here.
    Your doubts are justified. The som appears obligatorily when we are dealing with the subject of the subordinate clause, while it is optional for (in)direct objects. In other words, it cannot be used to uniquely identify the subject. Does the grammar book really refer to it as a subject marker?
    In the OP's sentence, couldn't "som faktiskt får plats på de aktuella färjorna" refer back to "långfärdstrafik" rather than "hur många lastbilar"?

    It's not a loaded question, as I only have a vague idea of the meaning of the words, but I can parse the sentence and get its gist.
    Yes, it could refer back to both.
     

    basslop

    Senior Member
    Norsk (Norwegian)
    "Som" is always trick and particularly when there is more than one in a sentence. As Wineous states, what does "som" refer back to? In Norwegian "som" normally refers back too the last subejct. I guess it is the same in Swedish. Anyhow to avoid misunderstanding, ambiguety and that the reader have to analyse and reread a sentence - follow a good advice: REPHRASE.
     

    kfz2010

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Your doubts are justified. The som appears obligatorily when we are dealing with the subject of the subordinate clause, while it is optional for (in)direct objects. In other words, it cannot be used to uniquely identify the subject. Does the grammar book really refer to it as a subject marker?
    No, it doesn't say it so clear in the book.
     

    MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    In the OP's sentence, couldn't "som faktiskt får plats på de aktuella färjorna" refer back to "långfärdstrafik" rather than "hur många lastbilar"?

    It's not a loaded question, as I only have a vague idea of the meaning of the words, but I can parse the sentence and get its gist.

    I think it's a bit of a stretch to have it refer to "långfärdstrafik". To me it looks like;

    "Att Trafikverkets och vår analys skiljer sig åt beror på att Trafikverkets beräkningar inte tar hänsyn till
    hur många lastbilar och trailers av det slag som normalt används i långfärdstrafik
    som faktiskt får plats på de aktuella färjorna.
    "


    If you read the sentence without any further context it really looks to me like it's trying to say that the department of transportation had a different analysis about how many trucks fit these ferries because it didn't take into account a particular type of truck, the one that does "långfärdstrafik". The way I imagine Swedish trucks is that there are longer ones used in long range traffic and shorter ones locally, and so if the question is about what fits on ferries it seems like a crucial detail would be not just "how many trucks" fit but what type - the longer ones or the shorter ones.

    In contrast, if "långfärdstrafik" is what is referred to the sentence gets a different meaning it seems. To me it then looks like:

    "Att Trafikverkets och vår analys skiljer sig åt beror på att Trafikverkets beräkningar inte tar hänsyn till
    hur många lastbilar och trailers av det slag som normalt används
    i långfärdstrafik
    som faktiskt får plats på de aktuella färjorna."


    In other words the discussion then isn't about how many trucks fit in ferries, the discussion is about how many trucks of a certain kind are used in långfärdstrafik defined as the ones that fit certain ferries. But rather than saying "long trucks" they're defining the trucks as "long range trucks that fit these ferries". So if the ferries in question allow for long trucks then they're talking about long trucks, but if they're talking about ferries that only fit shorter trucks it would be about short trucks that are used in long range traffic.

    It just seems odd to me. I just can't parse it in any other way than the first example.

    Am I drunk?
     

    raumar

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    I think it's a bit of a stretch to have it refer to "långfärdstrafik".
    I don't think you are drunk, Mattias. I agree. I don't really see how a concrete piece of information about the space onboard the ferries could refer back to the more abstract concept "långfärdstrafik".

    as I only have a vague idea of the meaning of the words
    Here is my attempt at a translation/interpretation. It is quite literal, and might not be grammatically correct: " ... Trafikverket's calculations do not take into account how many lorries and trailers of the type usually used in long-haul transport actually fit into the ferries in question."

    Parentheses, similar to Mattias' green and blue letters, may make the sentence easier to read:
    " ... Trafikverket's calculations do not take into account how many lorries and trailers (of the type usually used in long-haul transport) actually fit into the ferries in question."

    In Norwegian "som" normally refers back too the last subejct. I guess it is the same in Swedish. Anyhow to avoid misunderstanding, ambiguety and that the reader have to analyse and reread a sentence - follow a good advice: REPHRASE.
    Yes, that's a good point. It is a long sentence without any punctuation, not easy to read, and the structure is a bit confusing.

    In the above sentence, shouldn't the second "som" be removed?
    I hope the previous posts have made it clear that we need the second "som" -- and that this is a difference between English and the Scandinavian languages, as Serbianfan explained in post #3.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I don't think you are drunk, Mattias. I agree. I don't really see how a concrete piece of information about the space onboard the ferries could refer back to the more abstract concept "långfärdstrafik".
    With my now enhanced understanding of the words involved I would have to agree too. Orginally it was not clear to me that långfärdstrafik was abstract.

    I presume that when @myšlenka said the som could refer back to långfärdstrafik, he was thinking in terms of grammar rather than the meaning of that particular sentence....?
     

    myšlenka

    Senior Member
    Norwegian
    I presume that when @myšlenka said the som could refer back to långfärdstrafik, he was thinking in terms of grammar rather than the meaning of that particular sentence....?
    Indeed. There is in principle no problem having consecutive som-phrases, one after the other where one som is linked to the last noun in the preceding som-phrase. Whether that actually makes sense in each case is an orthogonal issue.
     

    serbianfan

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks, Raumar. I'd just like to point out that "trailer" is a bit of a false friend. In Norwegian (and maybe Swedish? - although the dictionary only gives "släpvagn till lastbil") it commonly means the whole (big, long) lorry, while in English it means the back part, so a lorry may consist of a cab and a trailer. The main meaning of trailer in British English is "tilhenger" - the Cambridge dictionary explains this clearly with pictures. So "hur många lastbilar och trailers" would literally be "how many cabs and trailers", but I think we'd probably just say "how many large/long-distance lorries" in English. Whereas Norwegian "hvor mange lastebiler og trailere" would be literally "how many small and large lorries".
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I think we'd probably just say "how many large/long-distance lorries" in English
    In British English, "articulated lorry" I think, or more commonly "artic", which would be a cab and with one or more trailers.

    "Large lorry" is of course correct too, but "long-distance lorry" sounds unlikely to me. We have "long-distance lorry drivers", but I think in that term the "long-distance" applies more to the drivers than the lorry.

    When artics first arrived in Britain they were often informally referred to as "juggernauts". I think they still are to an extent, particularly with an expletive if you want to complain about how one is being driven.

    (Sorry for the diversion - it finished up being longer than intended.)
     
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