v27: våga

I recently wrote about modal verbs. Both Swedish and English have another group of verbs generally called modal equivalents (or marginal modals).  You can get an idea of the technical details at this page at Universitetet i Oslo. Swedish has a great number of modal equivalents, here is a sample:

behöva = need
fortsätta
= continue
lova
= promise
låtsas
= pretend
tänka
= intend

Swedish modal equivalents take the bare infinitive (rather than the att-infinitive):

modal equivalent:
hon behöver köra
she needs to drive

ordinary verb:
hon älskar att köra
she loves to drive / she loves driving

One day, my eye was caught by an article in UNT titled våga vägra vagn, literally dare to refuse the pram.

Two issues here. One is that våga (to dare) and vägra (to refuse) are both modal equivalents. However, in this example vägra is an ordinary verb, taking a noun complement (vagn). Secondly, how to translate våga vägra? It appears to be a stock phrase, but dare to refuse sounds odd to me, and in some examples avoid seems appropriate, but you may have a better suggestion. Try your translating skills on the following examples of things you may wish to avoid (follow the links to see the context):

vägra as an ordinary verb:
våga vägra vintern
= winter
våga vägra varg = wolves

vägra as a modal equivalent:
våga vägra vaccinera
= vaccination
våga vägra vakna = waking up

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Published in: on July 27, 2010 at 16:07  Leave a Comment  
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