v5: jagad

Continuing the verb theme, this week it’s past participles. In English, past participles of “regular” verbs are the same as the ordinary past tense, but irregular verbs have distinct past participles. The three main uses for the past participle in English are: (1) in forming the perfect, (2) in passive constructions, and (3) as adjectives modifying a noun:

(1) I have done the deal.
(2) The deal was done.
(3) It is a done deal.

In Swedish, the perfect is expressed using the supine form of the verb rather than the past participle, but the past participle is used as an adjective and also in passive constructions (however there are a number of passive constructions in Swedish, not all involving past participles, more on that in the future). Swedish past participles inflect like adjectives. Here, for comparison, are the (1) past tense, (2) supine, and (3) past participles [n=neuter, c=common, p=plural] of tvätta, to wash:

(1) Jag tvättade bilen. I washed the car.
(2) Jag har tvättat bilen. I have washed the car.
(3n) Huset ar tvättat. The house is washed.
(3c) Bilen är tvättad. The car is washed.
(3p) Bilarna är tvättade. The cars are washed.

It is a little confusing since some forms of the past participle are the same as the past tense or supine, but just remember the differences in usage between Swedish and English. Now on to the fun part…

One of my favourite movies is The Fugitive, starring Harrison Ford as Dr Richard Kimble. The 1993 movie is based on a 1960s TV series of the same name, but whereas in the TV series Dr Kimble travelled extensively throughout the US (the series lasted for four years), in the movie he essentially stayed in Chicago. So is it correct to call him a fugitive?

In Spanish, the movie is El fugitivo (and similar titles in many other languages), but in Swedish it is Jagad, which is the past participle of jaga, to chase (hunt). So, Chased. Similarly, Jaget in Norwegian, but in Danish, the movie is Flygtningen, The Fugitive. The Swedish for fugitive is flyende, the present participle of fly, to flee. At first I thought why not just use the direct Swedish translation of The Fugitive, but on reflection maybe Jagad does describe the movie better after all?

That was a simple exercise in translating titles; I don’t intend to get into examples such as of Steig Larsson’s book/movie Män som hatar kvinnor (Men who hate women) becoming The girl with the dragon tattoo!

To help extend your Swedish vocabulary, here are a few verbs in a fugitive theme:

jaga = to chase, hunt
greppa = to grab
sakna = to lack, be without, miss
söka = to seek
fly = to flee, run away

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Published in: on February 2, 2010 at 22:12  Leave a Comment  
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